Vavi reports to SAFTU in Cape Town

We want to professionalise the union”, said Vavi. According to him, 52% of the cases that are taken to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) are won by the employers. “You get chairpersons who were never trained on their duties and because of this, they surround themselves with corrupt organisers. When they go to meetings they don’t even have a pen or notebook so that they report back to the workers.”

Salt River, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

The South African Trade Union Federation’s general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, says that SAFTU will not prioritise the chasing of members for the sake of numbers but will be making sure that they service workers. Vavi was speaking at SAFTU’s reportback meeting in Cape Town at the weekend.

“We need to make SAFTU different in deeds,” said Vavi to a crowd of about 150 workers from different affiliates. The former general secretary of COSATU told the workers that he along with Karl Cloete, NUMSA’s deputy general secretary, and Ephraim Mphahlele, the National Transport Movement’s general secretary, are developing an enforceable service charter so that the unions can serve the workers better.

“We want to make sure that there is a clear plan from when workers sign the membership form they become conscious trade union activists in a conscious movement,” said Vavi. SAFTU is embarking on a recruitment drive with a target of one million members by December this year.

According to Vavi, some of the federation affiliates have made inroads in organising workers. “The South African Police Union is the majority union in every police station in Limpopo, while the South African Liberated Public Service Workers Union (SALIPSWU) is the majority union at the University of Cape Town,” he said.

“We want to formalise the training of shop-stewards and office bearers. We want to professionalise the union”, said Vavi. According to him, 52% of the cases that are taken to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) are won by the employers. “You get chairpersons who were never trained on their duties and because of this, they surround themselves with corrupt organisers. When they go to meetings they don’t even have a pen or notebook so that they report back to the workers. The issue of worker-control has to be linked to workers’ education.” One of the pillars of the newly launched trade union federation is that the union will be controlled by the workers.

Also read:  NUM congress elects a leader that is sympathetic to NUMSA and Vavi

The federation’s deputy president, Nomvume Rhalarhala, told the jubilant crowd that as SAFTU they are going to fight together as a unit. “No affiliate is going to fight or stand alone,” said Rhalarhala.

#FreeEducation

Vavi also reported that SAFTU is going to intensify the fight for free quality education. “We have submitted a Section 77 at NEDLAC [National Economic Development and Labour Council] in December already to say that the fight for free education that was fought by the students, we are taking it up ourselves,” he said.

The general strike is planned for October. Vavi said South Africa can expect the “mother of all strikes where they will fight as if there is nothing to live for the next day”.

Copyright policy

Creative Commons LicenceThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Should you wish to republish this Elitsha article, please attribute the author and cite Elitsha as its source.

All of Elitsha's originally produced articles are licensed under a Creative Commons license. For more information about our Copyright Policy, please read this.

For regular and timely updates of new Elitsha articles, you can follow us on Twitter, @elitsha2014, and/or become a Elitsha fan on Facebook.