"This is the last May Day to be stolen. It has been used for electioneering and workers are being fed lies and given promises which will never be realised. We must never allow this to happen again." These are the words of Irvin Jim, the general secretary of metalworkers union Numsa, who says the next year will be spent consolidating the working class into a powerful new political formation.
But who gets the workers' vote in the meantime on Wednesday? For the first time since 1994, the ANC cannot take for granted that it will. In years to come, the workers might turn out to be the ANC's lost constituency which turns back to bite it.
It is quite telling that Cosatu was unable to fill the 40,000-seater stadium in Polokwane on Thursday for the main Workers' Day rally - meant to be its big show of support for the ANC less than a week before the elections.
Limpopo is one of the ANC's biggest strongholds - it has consistently received above 80% of the vote in that province. Cosatu members were being bussed in from across the province. But this was also the main May Day ...