Trade unions have no workers interest

2015-07-03 10:35

Unions have lost interest in the workers and instead union leaders are on a mission to achieve personal interest and selfish ambitions at the expense of the working class.

We can recall the recent public sector wage negotiations where Sadtu and Nehawu, NAPTOSA and Denosa were advocating for a 15% wage increase. Initially they knew that their demand was unreasonable and unattainable and ended up accepting 7% for three years. Therefore, the workers were mislead.

South Africans they still remember that COSATU promised to fight E-tolls but failed dismally because of factionalism and obsession about the ANC leadership battle. It is public knowledge that the biggest federation have an investment company which was part of the construction of the E-toll road. Meanwhile, COSATU president sleeps in the same bed than the ANC and is having an extra marital affair with the SACP.

Cosatu is known to be a political university of the ANC or the step ladder to union building. This is judged by the number of politicians that have graduated from COSATU into senior ANC and government positions.

Gwede Mantashe

Position - is the former general secretary of National union of mineworkers (NUM),

Position - ANC general secretary

Cyril Ramaphosa

Position - Deputy president of RSA

Union - National union of mineworkers and COSATU

Union position - founding member of NUM and COSATU

Mbazima Shilowa

Position - premier of Gauteng

Union - COSATU

Union Position - Former general secretary

Current status - established his political party and later resigned.

Senzeni zokwana

Position - minister of agriculture

union - national union mineworkers workers

Union position - Former preside of the union of mineworkers

J Naidoo

Position - Former minister of post and telecommunications

Union - COSATU

Union - inaugural secretary of COSATU

Mildred Oliphant

Position - Minister of labour


Union position - Local treasury SACCAWU and COSATU women chairperson

Therefore the impartiality and objectivity of COSATU when negotiating with government is questionable. Workers have been complaining that when they attend site meetings of COSATU affiliated unions, the ANC agenda receive precedence at the expense of items that affects workers directly. In fact COSATU is another version of the ANC. The workers' vote is only important for the ANC to stay in power. It is remained to be seen how the next ANC president is going to thank COSATU president S'dumo Dlamini for helping the ANC to remain in power.

The security industry strike where scab labour's were killed also did not achieve anything. Security workers are still working under poor working conditions and unfair labour practices. Former president Thabo Mbeki promised to investigate the working conditions in the security industry, unfortunately for the security workers his term expired before he made his findings public.

All major unions have investment companies or trustees where they invest members subscription and union leaders appoint themselves as shareholders and directors. Workers are not getting anything in return, not even a housing subsidy or a medical aid subsidy from their respective unions. If you read the Business profile of COSATU and NAPTOSA it says members are beneficiaries. Workers are entitled to returns on their investment in terms of dividends.

The tragedy of Lonmin mineworkers were brutally shot and killed by the police at Marikana, striking for a better salary is still fresh in our minds. Joseph Mathunjwa as an experienced unionist knew very well that it was impossible to raise miners salary from R4000 to R12500 a month. It does not make economical or political sense. Instead he settled for something which was far below than what workers were promised by his union. Unfortunately for the families of the deceased mineworkers the Farlam commission did not find neither him guilty of any wrongdoing nor his union association of mineworkers and construction union (AMCU). Miners are hoping that the ongoing salary negotiations in the mining sector will yield positive results.

Union investment companies or trustees


Company name - Kopano Kematla investntment (PTY) LTD

Subsidiary - Kopano Kematla employee benefits (PTY) LTD

Beneficiaries - Members


Company Name - Numsa investment company

Beneficiaries - members


Company name - Nehawu investment Holding (NIH)

Subsidiary. - Bantu investment Holdings. (BIH)

Beneficiaries - members

National Union of mineworkers (NUM)

Company - mineworkers investment company (MIC)

Subsidiaries - JB Marks bursary Fund - Offer bursaries to mineworkers and

Their family members

Mineworkers Development Fund - which train retrenched

Worker in food security and community gardens.

Beneficiaries - workers


Company name -The Sasbo Benevolent Fund -" which draws its resources from union funds and member donations, renders financial assistance to members who are suffering no fault extreme hardship".

Subsidiary - SASBOsure insurance


Company - sadtu investment trusts (SIT)

Subsidiary - sadtu investment Holdings(SIHOLD)

Beneficiaries - Members (Teachers)


Company name - SACCAWU investment Holding (PTY) LTD

Beneficiary - members


Company name - Sactwu investment Group (PTY) LTD

Subsidiary - Hosken consolidated investment Limited

Interest - media ,textile, gaming ,leisure, transport and propery

Communication workers

Company name - CW investment Holdings. (CWIH)

Subsidiary - Communication workers financial service - invest in IT and financial sector

Beneficiaries - members and community

South African municipal workers union. (SAMWU)

Company name - South African municipal workers Provident fund (SNPF)

Beneficiaries. - members and their beneficiaries during resignation retirement, risk or death


Company name - DENOSA investment Holding (DIHOLD)


Company name - Ceppawu development Trust

It is evident that unions has lost interest in the workers.

This can be attributed by the highly contested leaderships race. Leaders are only interested on union investment wings to cash in on workers hard earned money, while workers are still dwelling in shacks and experiencing unfair labour practices each and everyday.

However there is still a great need for trade unions in South Africa. What is required are men and women who are not selfish. Furthermore unions must cease to be ambivalence during negotiations but must be in unison. As for the workers, they must refrain from illegal and criminal activities during strikes as this diverts the attention from the real issues. "Together we stand, divided we fall".

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