Cosatu banning president Jacob Zuma from addressing future gatherings may be a victory for Cyril Ramaphosa and his camp.
This according to labour expert Professor Andries Bezuidenhout, who said the strong anti-Zuma sentiment expressed by the SACP and Cosatu especially, is a symbolic issue which will have long term ramifications for Zuma's ANC.
"Cosatu's voice in the tripartite alliance is still important because of the political muscle they still have as a functioning organisation," Bezuidenhout said.
"These are symbolic issues, and a major victory for the Ramaphosa camp," he said.
But Bezuidenhout questioned the federation's internal unity, saying this will determine their ability to maintain a slate and back up their preferred candidates at the ANC's National Conference in December.
"There are still issues within Cosatu in terms of their internal disputes. Take Sdumo Dlamini [Cosatu's president] who is now on the firing line. Their leaders would have to hold up a front of unity," Bezuidenhout said.
After Cosatu's special central executive committee meeting on Monday, the federation announced that they would support their workers in the call for Zuma to step down, and have therefore barred the president from addressing any Cosatu congregation.
They believed the booing and heckling of Zuma during their May Day rally in Bloemfontein reflected the level of frustration felt by workers about the "absence of leadership" in the country and the "deteriorating" state of the country's political situation.
The South African Communist Party supported Cosatu's decision. Their spokesperson, Alex Mashilo, said although the federation has not officially informed them on their decision, the SACP respected them for their independence.
Cosatu and the SACP have both made public statements that they back Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in the fight for the presidency.