‘We don’t regret expelling Numsa’

Zingiswa Losi was elected unopposed and replaces Sdumo Dlamini‚ who decided not to stand for re-election.
Zingiswa Losi was elected unopposed and replaces Sdumo Dlamini‚ who decided not to stand for re-election.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi

Newly elected Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said the union did not regret expelling the National Union of Metalworkers of SA from its ranks.

Losi said the decision Cosatu took in 2014 was due to the circumstances at the time and she believed Cosatu made the right decision even though it cost it more than 300,000 members who eventually left to join another labour federation.

Speaking during a radio interview on Umhlobo Wenene FM, Losi said: “I can’t say we regret the decision because it was compelled by the events of the time where workers were burning each other’s homes and fighting in the workplace”.

The Cosatu president said Numsa had gone to a special congress and it had resolved to extend its scope and enter fields where other Cosatu affiliates already existed.

“We tried to manage the situation. We tried talking to the leadership of Numsa before they went to the department of labour to change the scope but their response was whatever resolution came out of their conference would only change at another Numsa conference.”

She said Numsa members had fought with other members of Cosatu.

“Numsa was given time to respond as to why it should not be expelled by the central executive committee of Cosatu but the committee arrived at the decision that the reasons given were not satisfactory,” she said.

Cosatu made history when it elected Losi as the union’s first woman president.

Losi, a member of the civilian secretariat for the police, a trained soldier and a former shop steward at the Ford Motor Company.

Losi put her name in the hat for the ANC’s position of deputy secretary-general at the party’s national elective conference in December 2017.

She lost the bid to Jessie Duarte, but the same conference elected the unionist as a member of the ANC’s national executive committee. ZINGISWA LOSI

Earlier this week Losi said other reasons for Cosatu losing out on members was because of the slow growth in the economy and the slump in the manufacturing industry as a lot of worker lost their jobs.

She said for the union to regain the workers’ confidence Cosatu’s first line of defence – shop stewards – needed to remember why workers chose them in the first place – which was to fight for their struggles.

“With the mandate they’ve been given, are they leading people without looking at what’s in it for them?

“Shop stewards must make servicing the workers their first priority and this is how we’ll regain the trust of workers,” she said.

Asked if she did not think working with the ANC had a negative effect on how workers felt about Cosatu and the trust relationship, Losi said she did not see a problem with working with the ANC.

She added that it was important Cosatu did not to lose the mandate given to it by the workers.

“By working with the ANC we were able to achieve certain things because of the alliance but where the ANC fails the workers, we need to be able to point these out and do our duty for the workers even if that means taking to the streets and protesting,” Losi said.

Speaking at the closing of the elective congress, where she was nominated unopposed, Losi said Cosatu leaders must take the task of building capacity and ideological training on gender and patriarchy seriously, not only for women but men too, in particular shop stewards and officials.

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