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‘A powerful unity between workers’ — Vavi praises disruption of Ramaphosa’s address

Zwelinzima Vavi says mine workers used President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Workers' Day speech as an opportunity 'to rudely awaken him from his slumber'. File photo.
Zwelinzima Vavi says mine workers used President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Workers' Day speech as an opportunity 'to rudely awaken him from his slumber'. File photo.
Image: Daniel Born

SA Federation of Trade Unions secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi says the disruption of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Workers’ Day speech was “a powerful unity between workers”.

Ramaphosa was forced to abandon his address in Rustenburg, North West, after mine workers booed him and stormed the stage.

He was scheduled to give a keynote address at the Cosatu rally but had to be whisked away when angry workers staged a protest and demanded he leave.

Among their chief concerns was the demand for a R1,000 monthly salary increase for Sibanye-Stillwater gold mine workers.

“It was a powerful message of unity between workers of different unions who do not belong to the same federations,” Vavi told Power 98.7. 

He said workers used Ramaphosa’s speech as an opportunity to rudely awaken him from his slumber. 

“They sent a powerful message to all of the elite that we are fighting our battles in your absence and with you looking on the other side,” said Vavi. 

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said the disruption demonstrated workers were tired of empty promises and Ramaphosa’s charm.

“Chickens have come home to roost. Our workers have been abused, lied to and betrayed by the ANC. You can lie to people for so long, but you can’t lie to people with their lived experiences,” said Mashaba

He said Ramaphosa was under the impression that charm and smiling at workers would see them buy into his promises.

“They demonstrated to him they are gatvol. We are in a country where youth unemployment is at 74%. This is unsustainable. We are a country with open borders where home affairs is failing to protect borders and the sovereignty of SA. This is, unfortunately, affecting poor South Africans. With people who have not worked in the past 20 years, you can’t lie to them,” he said.

Veteran media personality Redi Tlhabi also weighed in on the booing of ANC leaders, saying it was about time. 

“I am here for it. It’s about time. They think they can look the other way when comrades steal, protect the same thieves while vilifying dissent. When it suits them, they want to be seen as ‘different’. Cheers to ‘collective responsibility’. They didn’t stand up for citizens so booo,” said Tlhabi. 

TimesLIVE


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