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South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has abandoned a May Day rally after he was booed by workers demanding his resignation.

Scuffles broke out between President Zuma’s supporters and opponents, resulting in all speeches being canceled.

The main labor federation, Cosatu, called on Jacob Zuma to step down last month after he sacked his widely respected finance minister.

President Zuma’s allies say he will remain in office until his term ends in 2019.

He was seen on live TV hastily leaving the podium and being whisked away in a motorcade from the rally in Bloemfontein city, Reuters reports.

Jacob Zuma attended the rally despite the fact that powerful affiliates of Cosatu, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, had opposed his presence.

Cosatu is part of a formal alliance with the governing African National Congress (ANC).

Earlier, sections of the crowd sang a song which, loosely translated, means: “Have you good news? Zuma is going”, heard the South Africa’s privately owned News24 site reports.

Cosatu leader Sdumo Dlamini said the rally had been marred by “chaos”, forcing its cancelation.

Photo Getty Images

The protest required “thorough reflection” on the part of the country’s leaders, he said.

Senior ANC officials were also booed at a May Day rally in Durban city, the political heartland of Jacob Zuma.

Pressure on Jacob Zuma to resign has been mounting since he sacked Pravin Gordhan as finance minister in March.

It led to global rating agencies downgrading South Africa to junk status.

The reshuffle was condemned by trade unions, big business, the opposition and and senior members of the government, including Deputy President Cyril Rampahosa.

The opposition has repeatedly accused President Zuma of being corrupt, and says the reshuffle was aimed at giving him and his allies greater access to government money.

Jacob Zuma said the reshuffle was aimed at promoting “radical economic transformation” to benefit the poor black majority.

He has been dogged by allegations of corruption for more than a decade.

In 2016, a court ruled that he should face corruption charges over a 1999 arms deal.

Jacob Zuma is appealing against the ruling.

In a separate case in 2016, South Africa’s highest court ruled that he had breached his oath of office by failing to repay government money used to upgrade his private residence.

He repaid the money, but rejected calls to sep down.

Jacob Zuma is due to step down as leader of the ANC in December, and as South Africa’s president in 2019.

His ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Rampahosa are vying to succeed him in both positions.


According to a South African parliamentary committee, work on President Jacob Zuma’s private home was not worth the $23 million it cost taxpayers.

A visit to the residence in Nkandla also revealed that the upgrades suffered from poor workmanship according to the lawmakers.

The South African government said the refurbishment was for security reasons.

However, a 2014 corruption investigation said President Jacob Zuma “benefited unduly” from state money.

In a more than 400-page report, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela accused Jacob Zuma of unethical conduct.Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home upgrades

Thuli Madonsela’s report found that a pool, chicken run, cow enclosure and amphitheatre had also been including in the controversial upgrades, and she recommended that the president repay some of the money.

Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko who released a separate report on May 28 cleared Jacob Zuma of any wrong doing saying all work done on the property was necessary for his protection.

According to Nkosinathi Nhleko’s calculations, the barracks and clinic outside the president’s property cost $10.8 million to build.

Lawmakers from both the governing ANC and opposition parties, who are looking at what steps should be taken following their visit, now agree that the prices were grossly inflated.

“We were also shocked with the workmanship of the clinic… At the moment, I would say that facility requires a lot of work because it is clearly visible that money has been wasted,” said chairperson of the committee Cedric Frolick.

They do not however agree on who should held accountable for the wasteful expenditure – Jacob Zuma supporters insist it should not be him.

Opposition parties, including the Economic Freedom Fighter’s led by Jacob Zuma’s former ally, Julius Malema, have been calling for the president to pay back some of the money spent on non-security features.

The lawmakers have been talking about their initial findings but are expected to report back to parliament.

President Jacob Zuma has refused to do this as he argues that he did not ask for the upgrades.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma will be sworn into office for a second term, following the African National Congress’ victory at the polls.

The ANC won a commanding victory in the country’s general election on May 7.

More than 4,000 guests are expected at the ceremony in Pretoria, including Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Neither the US or UK are sending a representative but officials from Russia, China and India are attending.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma will be sworn into office for a second term

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma will be sworn into office for a second term

President Jacob Zuma was officially elected for a second five-year term on Wednesday by the ANC-dominated parliament.

The expected formality of the re-election was disturbed only by lawmakers from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who turned up at parliament in red overalls and hardhats.

The EFF, led by former ANC member Julius Malema, said they dressed as maids and miners to show they intend to represent the interest of workers.

South African media say Saturday’s inauguration ceremony will be as much about celebrating Nelson Mandela and 20 years of democracy as about officially sealing Jacob Zuma’s re-election.

Jacob Zuma will take the oath of office shortly after prayers open the ceremony at 11:00 local time.

Several heads of state will be in attendance, including Robert Mugabe, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

The US is not sending a representative but a White House statement said President Barack Obama spoke to Jacob Zuma on Friday to congratulate him on his re-election.

The centrepiece of the event is a 90-minute cultural show, with performances from local musicians, dancers and a youth choir.

Proceedings will be broadcast at 45 public viewing sites across the country as well as being shown live on television and radio.

Around 20,000 people are also expected to descend on the Union Building in Pretoria, the site of the ceremony, to watch on large TV screens.

Jacob Zuma will get back to work immediately after the national celebrations and is expected to announce his cabinet on Sunday.

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