The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), the largest trade union federation in South Africa, is likely to elect its first woman president, Zingiswa Losi, during its 13th Congress this week.
The Cosatu meeting is supposed to take place from Monday to Thursday in Midrand which will have more than 2,000 delegates discussing the state of the federation and new leadership. Coastu’s deputy president Zingiswa Losi is running for the presidency which is currently held by Sdumo Dlamini.
In April, Cosatu affiliates such as the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) and the Democratic Nursing Organization of SA (Denosa) gave the strongest indication that they prefer a woman to succeed Sdumo Dlamini. If the move does not succeed, it will be a blow to the federation's call for women to occupy key positions in the federation.
The congress will also see deliberation over the health of its affiliates and its own relevance in the labor sector, as well as its role in the alliance with the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the SA National Civic Organization (Sanco), while sharpening its position on issues such as land, the minimum wage and job insecurity.
South African and ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and the SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande were among those expected to speak on Monday. However, the congress was delayed as the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) were protesting outside of the venue.
Cosatu is a part of a tripartite alliance with ANC and SACP. There is deliberation going on whether Cosatu will back SACP in the next general elections as the latter is bidding for state power. But Cosatu claims that asking workers to choose between the two parties can lead to a split in the federation.