Cosatu pays tribute after death of its former president

The Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (Cosatu) has been deeply saddened by the death of its former president, John Gomomo, it said on Wednesday.

”Gomomo died on Tuesday after a long and brave struggle against illness. We send our condolences to his family and share their grief at this sad time of loss,” said spokesperson Patrick Craven.

”We dip our flags in honour of one of the greatest leaders of South African workers, who devoted his entire life to their service and will be forever remembered as a hero of the struggle for freedom, democracy and workers’ rights. The mighty workers’ movement we see today would never have been built without the dedication, commitment and hard work of people like John Gomomo.”

Craven said his life read like a history of the South African trade union movement.

He led the National Automobile and Allied Workers’ Union when he was working at Volkswagen in Uitenhage in the 1970s. This was one of the unions, organising mainly blue-collar black workers, that led the revival of the democratic movement in 1970s and the historic 1972/3 Durban strikes.

Gomomo was elected to Cosatu’s highest office — national president — in 1991 and represented the federation and the workers of South Africa with great distinction, Craven said.

He spearheaded the campaign in 1995 for the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Equity Act in 1997. He graphically summed up the workers’ opposition to the government’s Growth, Employment and Redistribution (Gear) strategy when he described it as ”the reverse gear of our society”.

After leaving Cosatu, he continued to serve the people as an African National Congress MP and chairperson of the portfolio committee on public service and administration.

”John Gomomo was a great leader and servant of the trade-union movement. He worked tirelessly to improve the lives of his fellow workers and all the people of South Africa. He will be very sorely missed,” said Craven

Gomomo was president of Cosatu from 1991 to 1999. — Sapa

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

‘Justice for Marikana will only be served if we see...

The mineworker union’s Joseph Mathunjwa spoke at the ten-year anniversary of the massacre

US conduct regarding Taiwan evinces a dangerous and ignorant strain...

It underestimates the role of face-saving, which is central to Chinese culture, and the country’s priorities, such as attaining the Chinese Dream

Eskom: Stage two load-shedding tonight

Continued blackouts highly likely on Wednesday and Thursday, the energy entity added

MPs dismiss Mkhwebane’s call to subpoena Ramaphosa

The president’s evidence is not necessary to determine whether she is guilty of misconduct, the section 194 committee concludes

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…