The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted with sadness the passing of the founding SAMWU President and also the former COSATU Central Executive Committee [CEC] Member, Comrade Petrus Mashishi.
We send our condolences to his family, friends and our affiliated union SAMWU. We will remember Comrade Petrus Mashishi as one of the principled and disciplined trade unionists, who was tireless in his fight for social justice in the country. He was a well renowned internationalist and led the union with integrity.
He belonged to that generation of Trade Unionists who were present during the foundation of COSATU. He was a member of the Transport and General Workers Union [TGWU] which was established in 1973 to organise workers in the passenger transport, goods transport, and motor ferry, municipal, cement products, hospitals, cleaning and security sectors.
He led many strikes of workers before Transport and General Workers Union [TGWU] merged with Garment Workers’ Union [GWU] in 1987.
Comrade Mashishi was elected SAMWU President at its inaugural congress in 1987 following a merger of a number of unions including the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWN) which he was a Shopsteward of.
Comrade Mashishi was never afraid to confront issues head on and believed in the unity of municipal workers and the federation of workers in South Africa.
Addressing SAMWU’s National Congress in Bela Bela he said “So many things have changed in the Union since our last Conference, and so many new challenges have emerged that we must address if we are to survive and move forward”.
He argued that ‘Rural development is not possible without building an infrastructure so that services and economic development measures can be implemented. Rural communities need roads, schools, clinics and depots and offices to deliver services.’
COSATU calls on all municipal workers to honour the memory of Cde Mashishi by working for unity and cooperating in fighting for a living wage.
COSATU will remember him as a principled leader, teacher and a unifier.
May his soul rest in eternal peace!
Hamba Kahle Baba Mashishi!
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)