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About  |  Biographies

Second Deputy-President: Zingiswa Losi

An activist, a soldier, a worker and a leader

Growing up in a family of activists prompted, Zingiswa Losi, COSATUís Second Deputy President to be politically aware at a young age.

She cut her teeth in politics in COSAS while she was still at school. She also served in the ANC Youth League structures in the Eastern Cape. "I became politically aware at the age of 10 when my two brothers went in exile and little did I know that I will follow them when I grow up," said Losi.

Losi is a trained soldier and at some point she served in the South African Defence Force for three years. She becomes extremely emotional when she talks about the conditions under which members of the SANDF work, particularly those at lower levels. She described what happened at the union buildings as a gun powder keg that was long waiting to explode as the government has been dragging its feet to improve the working conditions in the army. She said the current COSATU leadership has its work cut out on the matter because it cannot allow a situation where members of the SANDF can be de-unionised. "The issues that are being raised by soldiers are legitimate and the management has not been willing to address them since the integration process took place after 1994," she said.

After resigning from the army, Losi was employed by Ford, a car manufacturer in Port Elizabeth in 2002 as an operator in the engine components and assemble division. She later became a quality inspector. In the same year, Losi became a NUMSA shop steward at the plant. At the same time, she served in various NUMSA committees such as finance and education in the Eastern Cape region. As a senior leader of the federation, Losi is acutely aware of the challenges facing the organization. "The critical challenge is that of building a strong federation. To accomplish this task we need to have shop stewards and leaders who are clear about COSATUís mandate. Our task is also to build strong branches and strengthen our affiliates," said Losi.

Another issue that Losi highlighted as critical for the current COSATU leadership is to ensure that women swell the ranks of the federationís leadership. "I would love to see women taking their rightful place in the federation not for the purposes of achieving gender equity, but for the transformation of the broader society. This will go a long way towards eradicating the patriarchal tendencies that still exist in our society," she said.

Losi has a passion for drawing, something that now is going to take a back seat as she will have to immerse herself on the federationís work. Apart from drawing, she enjoys spending quality time with her family.

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