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Johannesburg -The founding president of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) Petrus Mashishi has died, the union said on Wednesday.

General secretary Simon Mathe said 72-year-old Mashishi died at his home in Soweto, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday morning.

"Comrade Mashishi was elected Samwu president at its inaugural congress in 1987 following a merger of a number of unions including the Transport and General Workers Union which he was a shop steward of," said Mathe.

"Following his election as Samwu president, Comrade Mashishi proceeded to serve the union with diligence and dedication for more than 20 years as its number one shop steward and president."  

He said Mashishi was loved and respected by municipal workers across the country which earned him the title of “the union’s man”. 

"We are therefore saddened and devastated by his passing, the passing of a man who steered Samwu towards its militancy in the workplace," he said.

"We lower our banners in remembrance and honour of Comrade Mashishi. We further send our heartfelt condolences to the Mashishi family during this painful time." 

African News Agency (ANA)