Mantashe’s booing at Cosatu congress serves as a wake-up call: Dr Ebrahim Harvey

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A former member of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Dr Ebrahim Harvey, has described what happened to African National Congress (ANC) National Chairperson, Gwede Mantashe, on Monday as the biggest wakeup call in the history of the tripartite alliance.

Angry delegates at Cosatu’s 14th national congress in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, heckled and booed Mantashe when he got to the podium to attempt to deliver a message of support.

The workers say they are frustrated about the high cost of living, low salary increases, poor service delivery, rolling blackouts, high unemployment and alleged corruption among some ANC members.

Dr Harvey says yesterday’s incident comes as South Africans experience the worst socio-economic crisis in the history of the country.

“Cosatu’s members I think have finally had it. The cost of living, electricity, water, everything is falling apart, just look at the townships, you know. It’s the worst situation ever without a shred of a doubt, under ANC rule. I mean, it has never happened in the history of COSATU that on the first day of its congress, you have such reactions. And Gwede Mantashe, I know, unfortunately, it’s the most embarrassing moment for him I think ever yesterday but also indicating the consciousness of the delegates.”

Cosatu will decide this morning if the ANC will be allowed to address its 14th national congress.

Dr Harvey elaborates in the video below: 

Strong message to ANC 

Meanwhile, Director at the Chris Hani Institute, Dr Sithembiso Bhengu, says Cosatu members are seeking to send a strong message to the ruling ANC and not in particular against Mantashe.

Bhengu says this is how workers express their frustrations and anger towards the leadership of the ANC.

“The message was clear these are the frustrations that delegates who are shop stewards of workers on the floor are expressing and I think it’s a clear message around the ANC that they elect but after electing (they) seem not to carry out the kind of mandates that represent the voters. It is indeed about the ANC. It’s not about the individual and obviously, we have seen in May how workers also teach the leaders about how they feel.”