Zingiswa Losi was elected unopposed at COSATU’s 13th National Congress as the Labour Federation’s first female President since its formation in 1986. COSATU is now leading regarding women in National Office Bearers positions in contrast to its other Alliance partners, the African National Congress (ANC), The South African Communist Party (SACP) and the South African National Civics Organisation (SANCO).
Losi has been serving as the 2nd Deputy President since 2015. COSATU now boasts 3 female office bearers out of the six that constitute the National Office Bearers. The other women who were elected unopposed are the National Treasurer, Freda Oosthuysen and 2nd Deputy President, Louise Thipe. The other leaders elected at the congress are General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali, Deputy General Secretary Solly Phetoe and 1st Deputy President Mike Shingange.
According to Losi’s profile on the COSATU website she is a trained soldier and served in the South African Defence Force for three years. She was employed by Ford as an operator at its manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth in 2002 after resigning from the army. Losi moved to the rank of quality inspector and was elected a shop steward for the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA). She rose through the ranks of NUMSA and COSATU and ended up being elected the 2nd Deputy President of COSATU in 2015.
The COSATU congress was held under the theme “Deepen the back to basics campaign, consolidate the struggle for the National Democratic Revolution and advance the struggle for socialism.” The Labour Federation has once again thrown its weight behind the ANC for next year’s general election. According to COSATU’s General Secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali the affiliates have decided to keep supporting the ANC. “For 2019, the congress was clear that we are going to vote for the ANC and we want an overwhelming majority in the ANC, but COSATU must be treated as an equal partner by the ANC” he cautioned.