May Day rally: Workers boo South Africa’s president

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Workers at the May Day rally in South Africa booed President Cyril Ramaphosa off stage while addressing the workers in a stadium near the north-western city of Rustenburg.

The workers were chanting “Cyril must go,” as they held up signs demanding a wage increase during a ceremony in a stadium near the north-western city of Rustenburg.

The protesters, who worked at a local mine, have been striking for weeks.

President Ramaphosa tried to address the miners’ concerns but was greeted by booing.

The workers want an annual salary pay rise of 1,000 rand and the president assured them that he would look into their demand.

He also pledged to speak to the relevant authorities to meet their demands, IOL reports.

In a two-minute video of the disruption, the president can be seen making repeated attempts to calm the workers down, only to be greeted with further jeering and booing.

At Sunday’s event, which had been organised by South Africa’s trade union federation Cosatu, police had to step in while a bodyguard led the president away from the venue, according to IOL.

The workers were from Sibanye-Stillwater, which is a metal mining company and the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, according to its own website.

South Africa’s economy has been hit hard by the Covid crisis, and unemployment is now around 35%.

Mining is one of South Africa’s most important sectors – accounting for 8-10% of national income and employing almost 450,000 people – but it has been in decline in recent years.

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