President Cyril Ramaphosa says he’s heard loud and clear the message that workers who booed him off the stage at a Worker’s Day Rally were trying to convey.

Ramaphosa was meant to address ANC alliance partner Cosatu’s main Worker’s Day rally in the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng, North West on Sunday.

After failing to get striking workers from Sibanye Stillwater’s gold operations to calm down on at least two occasions, Ramaphosa had to make his way to a police Nyala swiftly and left the stadium, his speech undelivered.

In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa says, these workers wanted to be heard and they wanted their union leaders and government to understand the challenges they face.

“As political and union leaders, we have all heard the workers and understand their frustration.” “More than that, we are firmly committed to take the necessary action to improve their lives and their working conditions. This is not something that government can do on its own. It needs both labour and business, and indeed the whole of society, to work with government to implement an agreed set of measures to grow and transform the economy.”

The President says: “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.”

“They made the firm point that we must 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,” he added.

In a statement following the incident, COSATU said that Ramaphosa being chased away from Cosatu’s Worker’s Day rally was “regrettable” and “unacceptable.” But the trade union added that this should also serve as a warning to the ANC.”