South Africa Labor News

(Number 8)
by Free South Africa Labor Committee
Oakland, California, United States
June 1991
8 pages
Type: Newsletter
Coverage in Africa: Namibia, South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Contents:  COSATU's Naidoo Calls for Increasing Ties to AFL-CIO • Mandela Urges Mineworkers: Isolate the Vigilantes! • Hands off COSATU! • California AFL-CIO Supports Retaining Apartheid Sanctions • Exclusive Labor News Interview: Namibian Trade Unions and the New SWAPO Government • Advisory Board; Free South Africa Labor Committee •WALKATHON • Lorraine Box Anti-Apartheid Fighter • Jay Naidoo, general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), outlined COSATU's fight against the government's destabilization campaign to the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting in Miami, Florida on February 21, 1991. Naidoo said the apartheid system has always controlled the cost, allocation and supply of black labour to kept millions of black people living in poverty and deprivation. The apartheid system is being maintained through detentions of tens of thousands of political activists, bannings of our organizations, and the use of death squads to eliminate leadership. People have responded with resistance and a campaign to isolate apartheid by our international allies, causing a structural crisis. Naidoo says the government has used “a counter-revolutionary strategy” to destabilize its opposition. In Mozambique they created the Renamo, the Koevoet in Namibia, UNITA in Angola, and third-party vigilantes inside South Africa. There was substantive evidence that security forces were involved in orchestrating this violence, refusing to disarm mobs attacking township residents, and failing to investigate and prosecute those leading this campaign. Naidoo said U.S. unions can help defend South African trade unionists, demand a halt to the violence, and support continued sanctions. The California Labor Federation’s Executive Council adopted a resolution submitted by Vice President Owen Marron calling for maintaining sanctions against South Africa until that country has a new constitution guaranteeing an end to racial oppression. It is patterned after a resolution passed by the Alameda County Central Labor Council. When Namibia became independent in March, 1990, South West Africa Peoples' Organization (SWAPO) and the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) played key roles. The Bay Area's labor movement raised $1200 to help COSATU and its affiliate, the South African Railway and Harbour Workers Union (SARHWU). On April 20, the Free South Africa Labor Committee and the Service Employees Local 790 Human and Civil Rights Committee sponsored their first walk-a-thon at Oakland's Lake Merritt; Warehouse Local 6 of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) raised $200 for SARHWU. The newsletter includes an interview of John Ya-Otto conducted by David Shelton. The newsletter mentions Nelson Mandela, the African National Congress (ANC), National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), political prisoners, the Pretoria Minute, Chris Hani, Umkhonto We Sizwe, South African Communist Party (SACP), Jeffrey Vilane, Solly Rasmeni, Beki Mlagani, George Bush, Floyd Tucker, National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAW), Walvis Bay, United Auto Workers (UAW), Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and United Mine Workers (UMW). Materials in the newsletter came from Edgar Romney and the New York Labor Committee Against Apartheid, Michael Fleshman and the Africa Fund, California AFL-CIO News, David Shelton, and David Bacon.
Used by permission of David Bacon, a former member of the Free South Africa Labor Committee.
Collection: Kathleen M. Devine papers