File photo: Rogan Ward/Reuters.

Durban - A week before the country’s working class celebrates its international labour day, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says while it was KZN’s turn to host the event, the province also present major opportunities for it to recruit more members, hence it is revelling in the opportunity to host its main celebration there.

The spokesperson of the country’s largest but troubled federation, Sizwe Pamla, said their main celebration will be held at Durban’s Sugar Ray Xulu stadium in Clermont on May 1. Their alliance partners, would as per the tripartite alliance’s long established tradition, send their leaders.

The African National Congress (ANC) will be represented by Cyril Ramaphosa while the South African Communist Party (SACP) will send its general secretary, Dr Blade Nzimande. Cosatu will send Zingiswa Losi, its president, to the main event.

Speaking about their decision to take the event to Durban, Pamla said the city last held their main celebration in 2015 when they were celebrating their 30th anniversary and said this was “not going to be a normal May day rally” as the ANC will get a chance to put its elections message to the thousands of workers expected there.

Despite allowing the ANC to do that, he said they will not allow that to overshadow workers issues even though they are intertwined.

“We will work with the ANC to send its elections message while at the same time ensuring that workers issues are dealt with as they go together,” Pamla said.

Pamla added that KZN, being an economic hub that is second to Gauteng, and with millions of workers, it presents them as Cosatu with an opportunity to recruit and mobilize them to join their unions.

“There are thousands of workers in KZN and that presents us with an opportunity to mobilise them as most of them are not unionised,” Pamla said.

Similar and simultaneous big celebrations will be held by Cosatu’s structures in the rest of the eight other provinces while major industrial provincial towns would also host theirs on the same day.  

SACP’s spokesperson, Alex Mashilo, said the most important theme of their message to workers on the day will be that the working class needs unity in order to triumph in their ongoing class struggle, addinG that they will also punt for the ANC during the rally.

“Everything the party will say is centered on the imperative of working class unity. The general election is a front of class struggle, and we are campaigning for a victory of our people, the majority of whom is the working class, under the organisational leadership of the ANC on the ballot. The working class needs to drive this campaign and remain mobilised after the election to ensure that the achievement of its interests is articulated in government policy,” Mashilo said.

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