I declined nomination - Cosatu woman leader

2015-11-24 14:21
Zingiswa Losi (Genevieve Quintal, News24)

Zingiswa Losi (Genevieve Quintal, News24)

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Johannesburg - At some point women will take their rightful place in the Cosatu leadership as president and general secretary, the federation's second deputy president Zingiswa Losi said on Tuesday.

"Indeed with time you will have a woman president in Cosatu, in time you will have a general secretary in Cosatu who is a woman, [but] for now, building Cosatu... must not be about which gender, it must be about leaders," she told News24, speaking on the sidelines of Cosatu's 12th national congress in Midrand, Johannesburg.

"Let's allow that process and not push things. [Let's] continually conscientise ourselves as women and men that women at some point need to take their rightful position in our organisation."

Ahead of the congress there were reports that some within the trade union federation wanted Losi to lead as general secretary.

Nomination declined

However, on Monday Losi was nominated unopposed to remain in her position as second deputy president. Bheki Ntshalintshali, who took over when Zwelinzima Vavi was expelled, was nominated unopposed for general secretary.

Losi told News24 she was not approached to stand for the position of general secretary but for deputy general secretary.

But she decided to decline nomination for the position.

"I declined because to me I had already been nominated for the current position and I did not want Cosatu to be about Losi. I did not want Cosatu to be about individuals," she said.

"To me I have said to comrades I am humbled by their recognition, but I will have to decline and put the federation first."

There has been some controversy about the legitimacy of Losi's position as second deputy president.

Heated debate

On Monday the congress spent two hours locked in a heated debate on credentials because the Food and Allied Workers' Union was not satisfied that Losi was still considered a leader.

She was appointed second deputy president in 2012 when she was still a member of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA.

Shortly before Numsa was expelled from Cosatu last year, Losi resigned and joined the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru).

Fawu came under attack on Monday when many of Cosatu's larger unions rejected its motion to disallow her credentials, saying the special national congress and the central executive committee had dealt with the Losi matter.

The congress eventually voted late on Monday and her credentials were adopted.
Throughout the debate Losi sat on the stage with the rest of the Cosatu leadership, smiling and laughing.

Nominations open for deputy general secretary

She told News24 that she did not take it personally and understood that it was democracy at play.

"The contestation was about the second deputy president so I always try to remove myself from the position so that I don't bring emotions to it and allow delegates to debate on issues...

"Indeed it was not an easy journey but here we are, I have been confirmed, the entire leadership has been confirmed and we are now going to hear on the deputy general secretary."

Cosatu North West regional chairperson Solly Phetoe and Oscar Phaka, the former Democratic Nursing Organisation's North West provincial secretary, are standing for the position of deputy general secretary.

Nominations for the position have remained open to allow delegates to lobby.

This is the only contested position at the congress.

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini retains his position as president.

First deputy president Tyotyo James and treasurer Frede Oosthuizen also remain in their positions.

Losi said the leadership was looking forward to working together towards the unity of Cosatu which has been plagued by infighting in the past five years.

"[The] leadership is guided by the mandate that is going to emerge from this congress.

"So from today... to the last day we are... [expecting] very robust debates that will... shape a way forward on how Cosatu should conduct its business [in future]," she said.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  bheki ntshalintshali  |  zingiswa losi  |  johannesburg ­

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