02/05/2017 12:36 BST | Updated 02/05/2017 14:12 BST

Cosatu: Monday Was An Embarrassment For All Of Us

Cosatu says that it is divided over issues that have nothing to do with workers, and that this needs to be resolved. 

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president, Sdumo Dlamini, says the disruptions at its May Day rally on Monday was an embarrassment for all members of the tripartite alliance, and was a reflection of a "divided Cosatu".

Speaking to Talk Radio 702's Xolani Gwala on Tuesday, Dlamini said: "Yesterday was an embarrassment, not just for Cosatu, but for all of us as alliance partners and leadership." He was referring to unrelenting Cosatu members heckling and chanting anti-Zuma songs in his presence, which forced the federation to prematurely end its main Worker's Day celebrations in Bloemfontein.

When asked how was it that he attended Zuma's birthday party and at the same time maintained an anti-Zuma position, Dlamini said he attended Zuma's birthday celebration as the member of the African National Congress's (ANC) national executive committee (NEC).

"You must understand that Sdumo Dlamini, whilst he is president of Cosatu, he is a national executive committee member of the ANC, he is a central committee member of the SACP, and he goes to a function invited as the NEC member of the ANC", Dlamini said.

Dlamini said that Cosatu is divided over issues that have nothing to do with workers, and that this needed to be resolved.

"Cosatu has always been divided. In 1993, Cosatu was very divided. Before that one, Cosatu was formed and was very divided. In 2012, Cosatu was divided. [From] 2013 to 2015, Cosatu was divided in what you guys were calling it has never been divided like this before", he said.

Cosatu initially stuck with its decision to forge ahead with Zuma as the main speaker, saying that it had sent an invitation to the 105-year-old liberation party, and cannot dictate who it decides to deploy to the May Day rally.

Dlamini said: "We never instructed the ANC who they must send. They had sent us their deployees. We met with the ANC after those calls were made, and the ANC assured us that they were sending the president, were we then meant to say that the ANC must pull him out, and expect that they would do that?"