30th anniversary


Celebrating 30 Years

“A trade union is the prime mass organisation of the working class. To fulfill its purposes, it must be as broad as possible and fight to maintain its legal status. It must attempt, in the first place, to unite, on an industrial basis, all workers (at whatever level of political consciousness) who understand the elementary need to come together and defend and advance their economic conditions. It cannot demand more as a condition of membership. But because the state and its political and repressive apparatus is an instrument of the dominant economic classes, it is impossible for trade unions in any part of the world to keep out of the broader political conflict” – Joe Slovo

Brief Overview on the 30 Years of COSATU’s Existence. Amongst the initial engagements towards the formation of COSATU, were deliberations which took place at the Langa Summit in 8 August 1981, where 100 representatives from 29 unions met to discuss a united response to the newly introduced labour laws which were the attempts to divide unions and tame them into swwetheart unions.Even these early discussions were not without challenges where unions got divided around the question of being registered or not… Read More

Below are narratives touching on some of COSATUs critical moments since its formation:

Solidarity message: The ANC prides itself on its track record of aligning itself with workers and their trade unions since its inception Read more

COSATU was born at the time when the political tempo had reached its peak in the country. It was during a state of emergency, which signaled Read more

We remain the biggest federation in South Africa with more than 1.9 million members and also the biggest in Africa second to NLC Read more


Speech Delivered by COSATU President, comrade Sidumo Dlamini at the COSATU 30th Anniversary Rally

Speech by Blade Nzimande at the COSATU 30th Anniversary Rally

We remember: Aggett worked as a physician in Black hospitals (under apartheid hospitals were segregated) in Umtata, Tembisa and later at Baragwanath hospital in Soweto Read more

Enjoy moments of the celebration by viewing the footage of the anniversary:

View an old video looking at the formation of COSATU