Cosatu to have its own ‘youth league’

2011-10-01 16:51

Labour federation Cosatu will launch its own youth wing, Cosatu Young Workers, at its national ­congress next year.

The Cosatu Young Workers’ Forum – its ad hoc name – already has structures in four provinces: Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and Western Cape.

Cosatu’s young lions also have an interim national steering committee, which is headed by Azania Matiwane (32), a National Student ­Financial Aid Scheme ­employee.

Matiwane is a Cape Town branch executive committee member of the ANC Youth League.

Matiwane claims a membership of 250 000, drawn from Cosatu’s 21 affiliates.

Cosatu’s move to start a young wing marks an about-turn from its 2015 plan to “ensure young workers join the Young Communist League (YCL)”.

It also follows a resolution adopted by the ANC Youth League at its national congress to “campaign for a living wage for young domestic workers, farm workers, petrol attendants and become their voice”.

At 250 000 members, this makes the Cosatu Young Workers bigger than the YCL and its parent party, the SA Communist Party.

In November last year, the SA Communist Party claimed 114 600 members, while the YCL has 56 000. Cosatu says it has more than two million members, at least 1.8 million of whom are paid up.

City Press reported last week that the ANC Youth League officially has 366 435 members.

Matiwane said structures would be launched in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal this month.

“Then we’ll launch in the Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga,” he said.

Matiwane said it was still too ­early to talk about resigning from his job to focus solely on the Cosatu Young Workers’ Forum.

“I’m just an interim general secretary. I may not be elected next year,” he said.

Insiders said there was a strong lobby for the new organisation to be a “league” like the ANC Youth League and the YCL. But Matiwane brushed this aside, saying: “There are already too many leagues.”

He said the new organisation would target unemployed youth who participate in Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) learnerships to become members.

He described Setas as “exploitation” because of their low stipends.

The youth wing will have a cut-off age of 40.

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