ANC parliamentarians defended president Jacob Zuma in full force during a National Council of Provinces debate on Tuesday afternoon, stating that it was “healthy” that the president was heckled, shunned and booed while on stage during the national Worker’s day celebrations.
“It should be applauded that we have a democracy where the president can be booed when people are unhappy with the president,” said Patekile Holomisa, deputy minister of labour, according to a report by News24.
While he acknowledged that unemployment was too high in the country, he added that it was not the ANC’s fault.
“We should be applauding the fact that we are such a democracy that when workers who are not happy with leaders … can express themselves,” said Holomisa.
“In another era, when we were led by the ancestors of some parties, the might of the state would be unleashed on those preventing the president to make his address.”
In the same debate, the ANC’s Lundile Catherine Dlamini said that the party had expected Zuma may not receive the happiest of receptions according to a report in the 3 May edition of The Citizen.
“We were expecting that, as the ANC. There will be tensions and those tensions are healthy tensions,” Dlamini said of the ANC/ Cosatu alliance partnership. “We want to ensure that even though we are in government these workers’ rights are still observed; so you must understand those tensions are healthy.”
While some ANC party members appear to have taken President Jacob Zuma’s public humiliation on the chin, president Zuma’s internal ANC faction has vowed to fight fire with fire according to a report by Business Day.
According to the report, members aligned with President Zuma plan to begin destabilising Cyril Ramaphosa’s unofficial succession campaign which will include booing him off stage at future public events – similar to what President Zuma faced on Worker’s day.
This is because President Zuma’s public booing was done in Ramaphosa’s name, said the ANCYL’s Colin Maine.
“We are going to boo Ramaphosa back and it won’t be nice. We are going to make life difficult for him. We are going to boo him in an ANC meeting before we boo him at a rally,”
“People were mobilised by the anti-Zuma faction to embarrass Zuma,” he said. Zuma, Baleka Mbete and Jessie Duarte were booed, but Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe and Zweli Mkhize were allowed to speak.