Nehawu defends Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi amid backlash over Ace Magashule comments
Pretoria - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has strongly defended the election of Zingiswa Losi as president of Cosatu following social media accusations her appointment was solely because she is a woman.
The union’s reaction came after a video was circulated on social media in which Losi made comments about fraud and corruption charges against the ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
In the video, she answered a question from a journalist and said no one was above the law and anyone found to have transgressed laws of the country had to be held accountable regardless of the positions they occupied.
According to Nehawu, the video footage and comments were made on November 28 last year, a few days after Magashule’s initial appearance in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.
When is COSATU going to be vocal about the conditions of its members on the shopfloor who are being retrenched on a daily basis?— Engineer Matšhela Koko (@koko_matshela) February 20, 2021
Cosatu has made the factional politics in the @MYANC its priority instead of worker interests on the shop floor.
What a mess pic.twitter.com/rRJL0jRCDc
Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha has questioned the reasons for the resurfacing of the old video.
“Those who are spearheading these attacks are using the old video as if it is a recent video that took place last week when in actual fact it is from three months ago.
“In this regard, we condemn the isolation of the president from the rest of her collective and also condemn the use of an old video to launch unwarranted and dastardly attacks on the president.
“We refute the unfounded claims that the president was elected because she is a woman. Comrade Losi has been championing workers’ struggles for years and has dedicated her entire life to end all forms of exploitation and unsafe working conditions.
“Her leadership qualities and selflessness catapulted her into the position of leading the federation. She was elected with an overwhelming majority because of the trust Cosatu affiliates have in her as a leader.”
He said Losi’s statement in November last year focused mainly on the attack on collective bargaining led by the government.
Saphetha said the federation’s office bearers condemned the reneging by government on the full implementation of Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) resolution 1 of 2018, especially clause 3.3 which speaks to the salary increases of public servants.
“It is for these reasons that we find it unacceptable that those attacking Losi would accuse her of allowing the government not to pay the increases which were due on the 1st April 2020.
“Furthermore, Cosatu does not negotiate at the PSCBC, it is the public sector unions that do the negotiations. Comrade Losi addressed workers at our National Day of Action at the Union Buildings on the 3rd September 2020 and her message was very clear that the government must stop punishing workers for problems in the fiscus and that the increases must be paid with immediate effect.
“We find it abhorrent that those leading these attacks on the president would also stoop so low and attack her for being a traditional healer. This is a personal attack that has nothing to do with the current struggles currently faced by workers. Currently, workers are under siege as our government. This is not a time to be sidetracked by petty issues,” Saphetha said.
He said the unity of workers was sacrosanct more than ever and it had to be defended at all costs especially against those who wanted to distract the union from leading a frontal attack on its number one enemy, which is the government and especially the National Treasury.
“Nehawu will continue to wage a relentless war against the government including defending collective bargaining which did not come on a silver platter. The national union will not tire until the last leg of the 2018 agreement is fully implemented,” Saphetha said.