ANC pays tribute to workers

2012-05-01 09:18

The ANC saluted workers for their role in developing and sustaining the economy and for their part in South Africa’s liberation, ahead of nation-wide Workers Day rallies.

“South African workers have distinguished themselves within the hundred years of the existence of the ANC as a significant partner in the struggle for liberation and development,” the ruling party said in a statement today.

“Their progressive and revolutionary outlook has been key in defining the parameters and content of our struggle.”

They named trade unionists Clements Kadalie, Vuyisile Mini, Elijah Barayi and Chris Dlamini as “the most advanced of our revolutionaries”.

They understood the interdependence of workers and communities, the ANC said.

President Jacob Zuma will address a Workers Day rally in Mangaung in the Free State and Gwede Mantashe, who is also SACP chairperson, will address a rally in East London.

Kadalie established the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union in 1919 which grew to the biggest trade union on the African continent at the time and eventually led a dockworkers strike in Cape Town.

Mini’s union activities included organising metal workers, co-founding the African Painting and Building Union with Stephen Tobia and being a founder member of the Port Elizabeth Stevedoring and Dockworkers’ Union, according to SA History Online.

He also fought against the use of convicts as cheap scab labour, and was later one of the first ANC members to be executed by the apartheid state.

Barayi was the first president of Cosatu at its launch in 1985 and Dlamini was the founding first deputy president of Cosatu.

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