Gomomo, ex-Cosatu head, dies

Cosatu is deeply saddened by the death of its former president, John Gomomo, the federation said yesterday.

Cosatu is deeply saddened by the death of its former president, John Gomomo, the federation said yesterday.

"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 spokesman 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 Gomomo's life read like a history of the South African trade union movement.

He led the National Automobile and Allied Workers Union (Naawu) when he worked 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 the 1970s and the historic 1972-73 Durban strikes. This was also one of the unions that formed Fosatu in 1979, and took part in the four year-long unity talks that led to the creation of Numsa, and then Cosatu in December 1985.

Gomomo, who was Cosatu president from 1991 until 1999, represented the federation and the workers of South Africa with great distinction, Craven said.

After leaving Cosatu, he served as an ANC member of parliament and chairman of the portfolio committee on public service and administration. - Sapa

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