The Western Cape COSATU Western Cape elective conference will be remembered for the farewell of Tony Ehrenreich. Malvern de Bruyn was elected as the new provincial secretary.
The Western Cape provincial congress of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) held at the weekend elected Malvern de Bruyn as the provincial secretary to replace outgoing Tony Ehrenreich. De Bruyn, the former provincial organizer for the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU) officially started his duties on Monday.
Speaking to Elitsha, he highlighted service delivery issues and revival of Cosatu locals as areas where he will be focusing his energy on: “Illegal water meters, anti-VAT increase campaign, building and reviving the Cosatu locals, service delivery failures, farmworkers campaign and the ANC election campaign or an ANC victory in 2019.”
His sentiments were echoed by the provincial chairperson, Motlatse Tsubane who was re-elected unopposed. Tsubane said that they will be campaigning to make sure that the African National Congress wins the general elections next year. In his message of support, Western Cape South African Communist Party secretary Benson Ngqentsu cautioned that their relationship within their alliance cannot be left to the president of the ANC. “The last five years have been characterised by corruption and looting and all alliance partners need to resolve the reconfiguration of the alliance,” said Ngqentsu. “We need to examine the class content of the new dawn, we need to look at what has it achieved in the 100 days in the office,” he said.
The speakers at the two-day conference in Pinelands stressed the importance of unity in the alliance. In his last speech as provincial secretary, Tony Ehrenreich said that he was privileged to have served the workers. “It has been an incredible honour and special privilege to have served the workers. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to live my life,” said the emotional worker leader who has served in the provincial secretary position since 1996.
His replacement De Bruyn feels strongly that recent racial tensions around land occupations and housing in the Western Cape is being driven by “opportunists that want to divide the people” who have to be exposed. He started working for SACTWU as an organizer in 2001.
Motlatse Tsubane from the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union was re-elected as the chairperson, with Andile Ngqaneka from the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union and Ingrid Bukes from SACTWU being re-elected unopposed as deputy chairperson and treasurer respectively.