Civil society: Labour

Jane Barrett
Policy Research Officer and Acting Spoornet Coordinator
South African Transport and Allied Workers Union
Tel: +27 11 333 6127

Jane Barrett has worked in the trade union movement for the past 24 years, both locally and internationally. In 1994 she moved to London, where she spent five years with the International Transport Workers’ Federation. On returning she took up her current position with Satawu. Her responsibilities have included negotiating with government and employers over the establishment of a rail safety regulator, taxi recapitalisation, restructuring of the bus industry, black economic empowerment in the transport sector, and restructuring of the ports, Spoornet and Transnet. She has published widely in journals and newspapers. Barrett has a master’s in philosophy from the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University.

Chris Bonner
Director: Organisation and Representation
Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising (Weigo)
Email: [email protected]

Chris Bonner works in a part-time capacity for the international action research and policy network Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising (Weigo) as the director of its organisation and representation programme. Bonner’s key role is to support the development of organisations of informal workers such as street vendors, home-based workers and waste collectors by information sharing and networking across the globe. During the apartheid era Bonner served as an organiser and branch secretary in the Chemical Workers’ Industrial Union and in 1990 was appointed as the union’s national education coordinator. In 1997 she was appointed as the founding director of the Development Institute for Training, Support and Education for Labour (Ditsela) — a joint project of Cosatu and the Federation of Unions of South Africa, and supported by the department of labour. Bonner also gave input to the September Commission, which looked at the future of South African trade unions after apartheid in 2000. She is on the boards of the South African Labour Bulletin and the National Labour and Economic Development Institute.

Nerine Kahn
Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration
Tel +27 11 377 6698

Nerine Kahn joined the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in 1996, among the first group of full-time commissioners, after five years practising as a labour lawyer. She quickly moved up the ranks and in 1999 was appointed senior commissioner. In 2005 she joined the department of labour as chief director of labour relations, responsible for collective bargaining, minimum wage and employment equity legislation. During this period she also served on the CCMA’s governing body as the government representative. She later became the acting compensation fund commissioner. Kahn returned to the CCMA in 2006, this time as director. She is an industrial psychology (honours) and law graduate from the University of the Witwatersrand. She also has a higher diploma in labour law from Rand Afrikaans University (now the University of Johannesburg).

Dot Keet
Research Associate
Alternative Information and Development Centre
Tel: +27 21 447 5770

Dot Keet has dedicated her career to political-economy analysis and strategic engagement with university research bodies, development NGOs, trade unions and African governments. She spent her formative years researching and lecturing on African politics, particularly national liberation struggles and post-liberation reconstruction efforts, in various countries, including Tanzania, Zambia, Angola and Mozambique. In 1991 she moved to South Africa and worked for the South African Labour Bulletin and later as part of the Macroeconomic Research Group. Before joining the Alternative Information and Development Centre, she lectured at the Centre for Southern African Studies in the school of government at the University of the Western Cape.

Neva Makgetla
Sector Strategies Coordinator
The Presidency
Tel: +27 12 300 5200

Dr Neva Makgetla, the sector strategies coordinator at the Presidency, serves as a special economic adviser to Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Before she joined the presidency in 2007, she worked as head of the fiscal, monetary and public sector policy unit at the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). She obtained a BA (Hons) specialising in economics from Harvard University and wrote an economics PhD in Berlin. Makgetla has dedicated most of her career to working for the South African trade union movement. She was chief director for fiscal policy in the Reconstruction and Development Programme and subsequently director of research in the department of labour. From 1997 to 2000 she worked in the department of public service and administration as deputy director general for remuneration and chief negotiator for the state as employer. Makgetla represented Cosatu at the Employment Equity Commission, the Security Regulatory Panel and the Financial Sector Charter Council and served as a member of the department of economic planning of the ANC.

Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya
Nehawu President
Tel: +27 11 833 2902

National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) President Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya is one of the most powerful and influential women in the trade union movement. A nurse by profession, she was elected Nehawu’s first woman president in the organisation’s 17-year history in 2004. Before that, she served as the union’s second deputy president for four years. Mayende-Sibiya joined Nehawu in 1988 while she was a trainee nurse at Prince Mashiyeni Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. She lived for a few years in Swaziland, where her activist parents were forced to exile, but became actively involved in the United Democratic Front from its inception in the mid-1980s. Apart from her duties as Nehawu president, Mayende-Sibiya also serves as a co-convener for the South African Progressive Women and as an executive member of both the South African Communist Party and the ANC.

Patricia Nyman-Appolis
National Gender Coordinator
South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union
Tel: +27 11 403 8333

Patricia Nyman-Appolis was an activist in civic and youth groups in the Western Cape before joining the labour movement. She cut her activist teeth in the Bokmakierie Bridgetown Silvertown Kewtown Civic and Youth Organisation and the Disorderly Action Committee. Saccawu’s national gender coordinator, she has been a board member of the International Labour Research Group since 2000; she was also Africa Women’s Representative on the Union-Network International World Women’s Committee. She holds a master’s degree in gender studies from the University of Leeds. She was central to the negotiation, facilitated by the National Economic Development and Labour Council, for the code of good practice on the handling of sexual harassment cases in workplaces. Nyman-Appolis also works extensively with international trade unions on gender issues.

Sahra Ryklief
Labour Research Service
Tel: +27 21 447 1677

Sahra Ryklief is the director of the Labour Research Service (LRS), a research institute for trade unions in South Africa. She holds a master’s in political science from the University of Liverpool. Ryklief has worked for the LRS since 1990, during which time she designed most of its programmes and edited and contributed to its reports and publications, and holds various positions beyond the organisation. She is the chairperson of Ditikeni Investment Trust, an ethical investment fund committed to the long-term sustainability of South African NGOs. This is a non-paid, voluntary position. She also chairs the board of the Women on Farms Project, an NGO in the Boland area. She is vice-president of the International Federation of Workers’ Educational Associations, an association with trade union and NGO affiliates from more than 60 countries. Ryklief has worked in South Africa’s political and labour arena for more than 25 years. She began her working career as a librarian, later became an adult educator and now concentrates on research. She is also a media commentator on trade union strategies.

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