CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s main May Day celebrations in Bloemfontein didn’t go as planned on Monday as members of Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) heckled and booed President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma was meant to speak, but Cosatu decided to cancel his speech and those of other alliance leaders due to the strong anti-Zuma sentiment.
Marshals had their hands full trying to break up physical altercations between the pro-Zuma and anti-Zuma sections of the crowd.
The President had earlier arrived smiling while shaking the hands of alliance leaders, with several of his supporters shouting “Zuma, Zuma, Zuma”.
Later on as chants of “Zuma must fall” reverberated through the Loch Logan Park, the President, seated between Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini and South African Communist Party secretary general Blade Nzimande, rubbed his forehead before appearing glum as he crossed his arms while viewing the rowdy crowd.
Police had to step in and prevent union members from pushing through a barricade erected between the crowd and the marquee where the President and other officials were seated.
Zuma was taken away by his bodyguards when it became clear the crowd would not let him speak.
– African News Agency (ANA)