Dlamini calls on workers to defend the trade union federation

S’dumo Dlamini says Cosatu has stood the test of time and will defeat organisations trying to destroy it.

Cosatu President S'dumo Dlamini addressing the crowd at the May Day rally in Mamelodi. Picture: Emily Corke/EWN.

JOHANNEBSURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) President S'dumo Dlamini has called on members to defend the trade union federation from those who are trying to destroy it.

Dlamini was addressing workers at a Cosatu May Day rally in Mamelodi in Pretoria this afternoon.

He says Cosatu has stood the test of time and will defeat any rival organisation that tries to destroy it.

"This Cosatu stood the test of time, which was a very dangerous right wing formation that was formed to counter Cosatu. Cosatu defeated it."

He has also reminded workers of the importance of May Day and its significance to South Africa's labour regime.

"Twenty-nine years ago, this Cosatu forced the apartheid regime to declare May Day a public holiday. We are standing on the shoulders of our giants who came and led this federation before us."


President Jacob Zuma said the African National Congress (ANC) is the only party that addresses the plight of workers and there should be no debate on whether Cosatu supports the governing party in the upcoming local government elections.

Zuma said the only weapon that will combat exploitation of workers in South Africa is if they all unite and be part of a labour organisation like Cosatu.

He said workers in this country continue to be exploited.

"The organisation of workers in big numbers is an essential thing that workers should be conscious of, because if you are not conscious of it, you will be exploited from generation to generation."

The president says the organisation of workers is very important.

#MayDay Leadership of SACP COSATU, SANCO and ANC stand united at Cosatu rally in Pretoria.KG pic.twitter.com/9O0C89KvAN


The tripartite alliance has collectively called for workers to unite and rally behind the ANC in the local government elections with President Zuma warning that the country will be in big trouble if the party does not win.

Zuma says workers must unite to ensure that the party is victorious at the polls this year, working together to face up to challenges still facing workers.

He says the party needs to maintain its two thirds majority so that it has the power to change policies and laws to protect workers as it has done for the past 22 years.

"For the plight of workers to be addressed, the ANC needs to be in government."

He has warned voters not to listen to opportunists or counter revolutionaries, adding that only the alliance will advance the plight of the workers.

"Don't listen to people who dream whilst awake because there are so many who dream whilst awake."

Zuma says workers have power in their vote and refusal to cast it would interfere in the power of government.


Cosatu's Western Cape Secretary Tony Ehrenreich says inequality and corruption are some of the major issues facing the South African workforce today.

Ehrenreich joined Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom and Western Cape ANC Secretary Faiez Jacobs at the Cape Town stadium for Cosatu's May Day festivities.

Ehrenreich says several issues need to be addressed in order to create an equal society.

"Amongst the many problems are of course unemployment, corruption and the huge inequality that exists in South Africa that's vastly a legacy of apartheid. So those issues have to be addressed to rebuild a society that is more equal and fair."