The Congress of South African Trade Unions is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one more of its former leaders Former Cosatu Second Deputy President Cde Joyce Pekane. We send our heartfelt condolences to her family, colleagues, and her friends.
Cde Joyce was part of the 1976 student uprising, where she first embraced political activism. In 1986 she worked at Robertson Spice where she founded a liaison Committee to fight the exploitation of workers and sexual harassment of women in the workplace. She was elected as a chairperson and 1st Vice President of the Chemical Workers Industrial Union (CWIU) in 1997.
After the merger of the Chemical Workers Industrial Union (CWIU) and Paper Printing and Allied Workers Union (PPAWU) to form CEPPWAWU in 1999, she was elected as the Second Vice President of CEPPWAWU and also the Second Deputy President of COSATU.
In her years as a national leader in the Federation, she was a remarkable trade unionist who campaigned tirelessly against the then governments policies in combating HIV and Aids. As a representative of COSATU, she worked very closely with organisations like TAC to combat HIV and Aids and remove the stigma that was associated with the virus.
She was also a great proponent and champion of women holding leadership positions in the trade union movement. She supported the introduction of quotas in leadership positions to ensure that women did not just participate but also were recognised and given opportunities to lead in the trade union movement.
She went on to be a member of the Gauteng Legislature where she also served as Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts, Culture, and Recreation. We will forever remember her as a champion of women empowerment, solid advocate for social justice and a formidable leader of our movement.
May her soul rest in peace!
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (COSATU National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 679