Ramaphosa reacts to booing by workers


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa said the booing he encountered at the just-ended May Day celebrations reflects the workers’ dissatisfaction with political leaders and the labour movement.

He was jeered off the stage at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Monday.

“While the main grievance appeared to be about wage negotiations at nearby mines, the workers’ actions demonstrated a broader level of discontent,” Ramaphosa said.

He added, “It reflects a weakening of trust in their union and Federation as well as political leadership, including public institutions.”

The president reiterated the workers must be heard.

“They wanted their union leaders and government to appreciate their concerns and understand the challenges they face. In raising their voices, these workers were upholding a tradition of militance that has been part of the labour movement in this country for decades,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the wage grievances of the workers in Rustenburg deserve the attention of all stakeholders, employers and labour so that a fair and sustainable settlement can be reached.

“As government, we are committed to play our part,” he said.

“But the workers at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium also made plain what nearly every South African knows: the working class and the poor of our country are suffering,” Ramaphosa.

The president assured that his government would do more and act with greater urgency, to address issues of unemployment, poverty, deprivation and hunger.

“At the same time, we must establish more efficient mechanisms to enable workers to participate more fully in the formulation and implementation of policy and programmes.”

South Africa is bearing the brunt of COVID-19 and corruption.

In addition to the loss of more than 100 000 lives, the pandemic caused massive damage to people’s lives and livelihoods.

The economy shrunk and more than 2 million jobs were lost in a period of 12 months.

– CAJ News

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