Mantashe’s booing by Cosatu members a message to the ANC: Analyst

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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 the party’s National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe.

Mantashe was due to deliver a message of support from the governing party at Cosatu’s 14th national congress underway in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.

Delegates began chanting for him to leave the stage, just as he took to the podium.

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 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.”

It is still not clear if the ANC will be able to present its message of support at the 14th National Congress underway in Midrand.

The four-day gathering got off to a slow start earlier on Monday when Mantashe’s message on behalf of the party, was disrupted.

He was booed and forced off the stage by some delegates.

They accused him and the ANC-led government of failing the workers.

Workers decried the introduction of austerity measures, and demanded that government respect the resolution of the 2018 wage agreement.

Cosatu Deputy President, Mike Shingange was involved in a heated debate with delegates who disagreed over the ANC’s participation in the congress.

VIDEO: Cosatu members refuse to be addressed by ANC Chairperson Gwede Mantashe 

Cosatu has decried the state of the ANC-led alliance saying it’s often mechanical and ineffectual. This is according to the federation’s General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali at the 14th National Congress underway in Midrand east of Johannesburg.

Ntshalintshali says despite having convened a number of Alliance Summits, Alliance Political Councils, and their subsequent call for a reconfigured alliance, the governing party still continues to treat them as junior partners. He says some factions in the ANC have coalesced against Cosatu and the SACP.