Comrade Solly Phetoe grew up in the farming area of Broederstroom, an area located between Brits and Lanseria airport.
And later moved to Skeerport where he grew with her grandmother after the death of his father. He did primary school until grade 7 [then standard 5] and completed his standard six at Kleifontein around Brits before he went to a boarding school at Hans Kekana High school in Hammanskraal where he completed his Matric.
He furthered his studies at the Eden College of Braamfontein in Business Leadership and Management, completed a Certificate in Dispute Resolu-tion Procedures and Organizing Skills with DITSELA, and also completed Computer Studies through Ambassador Training and Development.
The school was under the draconian rule of the former Bophuthatswana regime under Mangope. The school became a focal point of student activ-ism and that’s where he learned about the struggle against oppression.
‘I started working at the Firestone company in 1982 as a machine operator and joined MAWU [before NUMSA was established in 1987]. We partici-pated in the process of merging of MAWU and MICWU’, said Phetoe
‘As workers we were united to fight against exploitation at the point of pro-duction. In NUMSA, I became a Shopsteward and later was appointed as a full-time Shopsteward in the tyre industry. And I served in various sub-committees such as the Public Relations Unit. And also became a national negotiator under NUMSA for the tyre and rubber sector’
During the burning of the Anc I was the branch secretary under the structure called action committee, I played a role for the unbarning of the Anc during apartheid time the 1980.s, work with Trac ( transvaal action committee) fighting against eviction of poor communities and farm workers, I mainly played a role in communities such as Braklagte Mmutse, Hartbeesfontein, also fighting against incorporation of those areas in to Bophutatswana,played role in down fall of Mangope
In short ,in 2000 I joined Sadtu as provincial organizer, 2003 elected as the provincial secretary of cosatu till 2015 and DGS in 2015 national Congress
I have represented the federation in the South African Qualification Author-ity [SAQA] Standards Governing Body during the formation of the SETA’s where we led the campaign on skills revolution at the workplace’,said Solly Phetoe
He has participated in the Tyre Training Board acting as Deputy Chairper-son and was responsible to oversee formulation of Recognition of Prior Learning Policies in the sector.
Solly Phetoe has been part of the teams which developed and imple-mented various training manuals for organisers and shop stewards on key union work such as Labour Relations Act [LRA], Skills Development Act [SDA] and the Basics Conditions of Employment Act [BCEA]
He has been instrumental to ensure that employers comply with Occupa-tional Health and Safety legislation and visited many workplaces in liaison with the Department of Labour, to enforce these pieces of legislation.
He has been leading the Brits COSATU Local as a chairperson for almost fifteen years and the Local became the most vibrant structure in that re-gion.
He has practised Back to Basics campaign at various levels of the federa-tion.
2018 in the 13th National Congress, he was elected for the second time to the position of Deputy General Secretary of Cosatu.