Briefing from ROAPE Volume 14 Number 40
COSATU: Towards Disciplined Alliances
The second congress of COSATU, the country's largest and most powerful trade union federation, took place at Wits University from 15 to 18 July. The congress was attended by 1, 438 delegates representing 712, 231 workers. ‘That it took place at all is remarkable’ , said COSATU general secretary, Jay Naidoo. ‘We are in the midst of a state of emergency. COSATU has suffered a severe onslaught from the state, employers and shadowy right-wing elements. Scores of our members have been detained. Our offices throughout the country, including our headquarters, have been bombed. Our daily administration has been severely disrupted. Yet the congress took place without a hitch. It was a major feat of organisation’ . ‘What is particularly significant’ , he added, ‘was that the congress participants were major industrial unions: we are nearly complete with the process of creating one union per industry through mergers among the 33 affiliates we had at our December 1985 launch. COSATU is now going to be much more democratic, efficient and effective’ .