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Cosatu is rising, says Zingiswa Losi

Zingiswa Losi has taken over as the president of Cosatu at a time when the trade union faces a number of problems.

Newly elected Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)'s newly elected president Zingiswa Losi has given her first address as the federation’s leader, saying the organisation is rising again and is on its way to recovery.

Losi delivered her maiden address at the end of Cosatu’s 13th National Congress in Midrand on Thursday afternoon.

Losi has taken over as president of Cosatu at a time when the trade union faces a number of problems, including dwindling membership and struggle to maintain relevance.

But the Cosatu president says now is the time to rise.

“This militant trade union movement of Elijah Barayi is once again rising. This Cosatu is on a stead, but surely, recovering trajectory.”

Losi says she wants to see Cosatu members who are not divided over their leaders but united on the issues facing them.

She’s promised to lead the fight against factionalism in the federation.

WATCH: Unity is our call of action - Losi

‘ONE FEDERATION IN ONE COUNTRY’

Losi has told Eyewitness News the newly elected leadership plans to talk to National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in a bid to have it return to the federation, but she says the trade union must be willing to fix its mistakes.

The African National Congress (ANC) has consistently called on Cosatu to engage unions that have left the organisation, such as Numsa, saying workers must be united under one federation in one country.

Losi says this is one of the things she will work towards.

“At Eskom, Numsa worked very well with the National Union of Mineworkers. In the industry where Numsa is organising with the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, they’ve worked quite very well. Why can’t we build on that?”

But she concedes there will be obstacles to bringing the biggest union in the country back into the fold.

“We must also consider the reasons that led to the expulsion of Numsa. And you can’t ignore that.”

It’s unlikely that Numsa will agree to reverse its decisions that led to its expulsion. Among those decisions was its withdrawal of support for the ANC.

LISTEN: Are trade unions still relevant in South Africa?

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)