File photo: Matthews Baloyi/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - One of the senior members of Cosatu’s biggest trade union, Nehawu, has vowed that the next president the their trade union federation will be a woman.

Nehawu’s national treasurer, Kgomotso Makhupola, on Thursday endorsed Cosatu’s second deputy president Zingisa Losi as next in line to take over from incumbent president Sdumo Dlamini.

Makhupola was addressing a Women’s Month commemoration event in honour of the 100-years of ANC stalwart Albertina Sisulu’s life in Pretoria.

Her endorsement of Losi’s leadership came as Cosatu was preparing for its national elective conference next month, where is it widely expected that Dlamini would step down.

Dlamini has been involved in bruising battles with some of his federation leaders including affiliates who were complaining about his close association with former ANC president Jacob Zuma ahead of the party’s national elective conference in December last year.

On Thursday, Nehawu members in Tshwane who organised the event including some of their national leaders were adamant about leadership change in Cosatu.

“We are not going to be apologetic in September. She is going to be the first woman president of the federation. There will be no discussions about it,” Makhupola said.

Losi, during her address, also strongly hinted that she might be prepared to take up the helm at Cosatu.

The indication came when she urged women in Cosatu and in their different unions to emulate the leadership character of Sisulu saying: “Like Mama Sisulu, when women are called upon to lead, we should not hesitate. Sisulu took up different leadership positions during the dark days of the struggle".

“It was not about driving big cars and or being in possession of a credit card. It was to serve the people,” Losi said.

According to her, women joined the struggle because their material conditions dictated to them to rise against their hardships and suffering.

Losi also berated some of the unnamed trade union male leaders who allegedly claim that women “are not ready to lead”.

“When a woman lead, they claim that she was parachuted to the position of leadership. Show me a school where men are capacitated?

Losi also warned women against taking up leadership positions in unions and only for their roles to be reduced to ensuring that their male counterparts have “drinking water” during meetings.

“They will take decision on your behalf while you are away to fetch water for them,” she said.  

When contacted to confirm her availability, Losi said her future role in Cosatu would be determined by the different affiliates.

“I was not making a reference about myself. I was speaking about women in general. Let us allow all Cosatu processes to be completed and then I will talk,” she said.

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