Johannesburg - Despite her role in the ruling party, the newly nominated president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said her mandate lay with workers and she would not be conflicted.
Outgoing Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini came in for criticism for his strong allegiance to former president Jacob Zuma, with many saying he put his political interests ahead of the plight of workers.
On Tuesday‚ Zingiswa Losi became the first woman president of the federation after she was nominated for the post unopposed. All the top five positions were uncontested.
She previously served as second deputy president of Cosatu and is a member of the African National Congress National Executive Committee (NEC).
"What comes first is the workers of this country, nothing is going to be in conflict. Every time I attend the NEC of the ANC, what guides me is the mandate that comes from workers.
"I have always maintained inside the NEC the voice of the workers and I shall continue because I represent the interests of the working class," Losi said.
Losi was speaking on Wednesday at the Cosatu's 13th National Congress held in Midrand.
The congress comes at a time when the country's biggest labour federation is facing enormous challenges.
Cosatu has lost over 300 000 members since its last congress three years ago.
In order to win back lost members, Losi said the plan was to engage with workers frequently and listen to their grievances.
"We are going to the workplaces and do a listening campaign, ear to the ground, go back to basics, be in touch with workers, listen to what workers are raising and ensure that organisers are doing their work.
"With the best service that you can give to workers, you don't need to recruit, workers will come voluntarily and leave other unions because they appreciate the type of service you are giving to your members," Losi said.
African News Agency/ANA
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