Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini paid his respects to struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela by visiting her home in Orlando, Soweto, today.
Dlamini said he was shocked by the news of Madikizela-Mandela’s passing, as it came at a peaceful time while the Passover was being observed.
Dlamini said the Mother of the Nation’s life had been one that was well-lived and that she had been a beacon of hope during the struggle for liberation in South Africa.
“She stood firm, and we looked up to her as workers in this country to understand how we needed to interpret every situation and relate to it properly,” he said during an interview on the SABC.
The trade union leader said Madikizela-Mandela had provided guidance to the federation and attended every Cosatu congress.
“You may remember that just about two years ago she made a public call for the unity of Cosatu, which we received quite heartedly because it was coming from somebody that we knew she loved Cosatu. She worked to build Cosatu,” Dlamini said.
He added that in remembering the struggle heroine, workers should unite and rally behind the call to not increase the VAT and the fuel levy.
“The labour brokers are a modern state slavery to workers in this country. The issue of the e-tolls is not right, it has got to be dealt with and many, many other issues like the national minimum wage, the rights of the mineworkers everywhere, Mama Winnie represented that,” he added.
Dlamini said though Madikizela-Mandela could have played a pivotal role in correcting the troubled relations between Cosatu and the ruling party, he remained positive that the tripartite alliance would reunite and work in unison.
“We are anchored around her life this time around, remembering what she has been standing for, and that is as alliance partners we must know that unity in the alliance is sacrosanct, it is nothing to play with. The unity of our organisations is very, very important, and the unity of South Africa as a country is critical, she stood for that, she fought for the liberation of all of us,” he said.