South Africa Labor News

(Number 1)
by Free South Africa Labor Committee
with David Bacon, David Shelton
San Francisco, California, United States
September 1988
5 pages
Type: Newsletter
Coverage in Africa: Namibia, South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Contents: Growing Repression of Trade Unions • Free Moses Mayekiso • Solidarity Actions • What is COSATU? • Namibia General Strike • Independence for Namibia • The cover letter says the Free South Africa Labor Committee began in November 1984 when members of ILWU Local 10 refused to unload South African cargo from the Nedlloyd Kimberley in San Francisco. It has been part of the movement, with the Bay Area Free South Africa Movement, the San Francisco Anti-Apartheid Committee, and others, to pass divestment ordinances, support sanctions legislation and boycotts, and stop South African trade. The newsletter discusses the history of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). During 1987, more than 15 union offices were bombed and destroyed, and many COSATU members were killed during strikes and attacks by rightwing vigilante groups. On February 24, the government banned 18 anti-apartheid organizations, including the United Democratic Front (UDF), closely allied to COSATU. Many COSATU officials were given banning orders, preventing them from meeting with other individuals or groups. The trial of Moses Mayekiso, a union leader in South Africa accused of high treason, has entered a crucial stage. Moses Mayekiso, his brother Mzwanele, Obed Bapela, Paul Tshabalala and Richard Mdakane have been imprisoned since June, 1986 for challenging white minority government-appointed officials in Alexandra Township. On March 21 (the 28th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre), COSATU organized a nationwide strike, closing Volkswagen, Goodyear and other lenterprises in industrial centers of the Transvaal, the Cape, and Natal provinces. Outside South Africa, death squads organized by the National Intelligence Service ("Z-squads") went into action. On March 29, Dulcie September, a representative of the African National Congress (ANC) in Paris, was shot and killed as she went into her office; the British intelligence service, MI-6, pinpointed Dirk K. Stoffberg as the South African assassin responsible. On April 7, Albie Sachs, son of South African trade union leader Sollie Sachs, was almost killed by a car bomb in Mozambique. ANC offices and refugee centers in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Belgium were also bombed or assaulted. Support is growing, from unions and others, for sanctions legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and now in the Senate. HR-1580, sponsored by Congressman Ron Dellums, and S-556, sponsored by Senators Alan Cranston and Edward Kennedy, impose comprehensive bans on trade and investment in apartheid. The cover letter and newsletter also mention Del Monte Fruit, the Alameda County Central Labor Council, the Living Wage Campaign, the Labor Relations Amendment Bill, the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU), the United Steelworkers of America (USWA), Nelson Mandela, the International Longshoremen and Warehousemen’s Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Brother Rozahanaino, the World Federation of Trade Unions, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the Alexandra Action Committee (AAC), the FBI, Nomunde Ngubo, the Federation of South African Trade Unions, the Council of Unions of South Africa (CUSA), the South African Allied Workers Union, the National Union of Mineworkers, the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU), the Freedom Charter, Elijah Barayi,  the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, the World Federation of Trade Unions,  the Organization of African Trade Union Unity, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), the UAW International Affairs Department, Pieter G.J. Koornhof at the Embassy of South Africa, and Senator Pete Wilson. The Labor News committee of the Free South Africa Labor Committee includes Daryl Alexander, David Bacon, Katherine Black, Franck Pottier and David Shelton.
Used by permission of David Bacon, a former member of the Bay Area Free South Africa Labor Committee.
Collection: Seattle Labor Committee Against Apartheid, Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections