Cosatu president calls on women to be at the 'front ranks' of workers' struggles

20 September 2018 - 21:06 By Aphiwe Deklerk
Zingiswa Losi is expected to emerge as the first woman Cosatu president.
Zingiswa Losi is expected to emerge as the first woman Cosatu president.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi

New Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi dubbed her election as a message to the world that women in her federation were ready to take responsibility.

In her closing address at Cosatu’s elective congress‚ held in Midrand on Thursday‚ Losi said women were gearing themselves to be at the “front ranks” as an organised and class conscious detachment of the working class women.

“We must strengthen and advance women’s struggle in the workplace‚ in our communities and in the broader political terrain‚” said Losi.

She was this week elected unopposed as the first ever female president of trade union congress Cosatu.

She was officially declared on Thursday as Cosatu president at a lively Gallager Estate conference hall. Female Cosatu delegates carried her to the stage singing‚ “You strike a woman‚ you strike a rock.”

Losi replaced Sdumo Dlamini‚ who decided not to stand for another term following more than 10 years in the hot seat.

She was elected with three other women who join her among the top six leaders in Cosatu.

Their election means Cosatu has a 50/50 gender representation in its influential top six leadership structure.

“We have at this congress built and advanced on the long and proud history of women leadership in the workers’ struggles‚” said Losi.

She said the election of women in the leadership structure should not be an isolated achievement but should be part of the union’s sustained efforts to broaden participation of women in unions across Cosatu.

“We must seriously take on the task of building capacity and ideological training on gender and patriarchy‚ not only for women‚ but also for our male members‚ shop stewards‚ officials and leaders‚” said Losi.

She said the new leadership was going to steer Cosatu to new heights and would ensure to grow the union by its next conference in four years time.

She said organised workers faced a catastrophe of increasing job losses if they remained divided.

“The working class must unite if it is to defend itself in the face of intensifying exploitation and if it is to make advances for socialism‚” added Losi.