A first ever workers summit planned for month end

EWN reporter Govan Whittles reports from Numsa House where announcements are being made about the future of a new worker federation.

South Africa will have its first ever workers' summit at the end of the month, and this will see the representation of 50 unions from across the country take part in a one day rally with a view to launch a set of principles on May Day.

Govan Whittles, EWN Reporter

Former Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is the summit convener. Though he says Cosatu has been invited, but they will not be attending.

The organisers say the launch of a new federation is not an attempt to compete with Cosatu.

They said there is nothing to compete with, as the number of workers unionised is decreasing every year.

Govan Whittles, EWN Reporter

Whittles says the unions which had left Cosatu seem to be returning to the fold.

The new federation has expressed interest rather in appealing to the loyalty of remaining splinter unions.

They believe Cosatu is too loyal to the ANC and want to form a formation with no political affiliation...independent and apolitical...they still think there will be mass walkouts from Cosatu, though this has proven not to be the case in the past.

Govan Whittles, EWN Reporter

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga spoke to Stephen Grootes about whether this summit and new federation will develop into the workers party that has been discussed for the past few years.

The momentum is dying...the hesitation they have shown seems to indicate little thinking about what has to be done.

Ralph Mathekga, political analyst

Mathekga says he thinks they are being careful and in the face of criticism after breaking away from Cosatu, they are struggling to decide what entity they should form.

They had far more gravitas when they were within Cosatu.

Ralph Mathekga, political analyst

Political alignment will also be a thorny issue says Mathekga whether it be EFF or DA.

Vavi cannot squander his political capital on a party like the DA. ...but if they remain independent they will face a backlash from other political parties, saying they are dividing opposition in SA

Ralph Mathekga, politcal analyst

But, he says, there is space in South Africa for a workers party if it takes on the concerns of working class families, and is spearheaded by people with credibility.


This article first appeared on 702 : A first ever workers summit planned for month end


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