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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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About  |  Biographies

COSATU President - Sdumo Dlamini

Following the decision to remove Willy Madisha as President of COSATU in terms of Clause of the COSATU constitution, the CEC unanimously elected Sidumo Dlamini, the current 1st Deputy President, to serve as President of COSATU until the 10th National Congress that will be held in September 2009. The CEC decided not to fill the resultant vacancy of the 1st Deputy President, which will remain vacant until the Congress.

Sdumo Dlamini was born in a very rural village of Ntshingila Hlatsikhulu in Swaziland on the 2nd March 1966.

"My father died at his early age of TB or Idliso as I was always made to believe until my Aunt clarified it was TB. Both my parents were very young and never got married eccept in the customary way where my father just took her to stay with and no lobola was paid nor damages.

I am not sure how old I was when my father passed away maybe three or four years, that caused me to migrate to SA a year or two later. I was separated from my mother and my country of origin at that age. This partly due to disagreements about my custody between the families. My aunt took me as a form of a solution.

I started schooling in 1973 at Magugu HP Ingwavuma at the age of seven years and proceeded to Ingwavuma High School in 1980 and finished my matric in 1984. Like any child growing in a rural area with no development at that time I experienced all the hardships all linked to the fact that I had to be separated with my parents at an early age. My life was a struggle, I learned at an early age to work for schooling and a plate of food. I had to look after cattle and ploughed mealies on the ox hough and the hand hough.

My first taste of the bitter end of the apartheid system was when I was forced to abandon my SiSwati language as I would not be accepted at school so I had to learn to speak Zulu before school.

In 1984 I was one of the ring leaders of the first strike at high school challenging corporal punishment and the system of education and the abuse of the school fund and fees. Only to discover months later that the strike had been spearheaded by the ANC underground operatives when many of my fellow comrades were arrested and detained for almost a year. I was only 17 years. In 1986 to 1988 I did my training as a pupil nurse. The first in the area where only woman were known to be nurses. Failing to find a job I moved to Durban and got a job at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in the KwaZulu government where the IFP reigned. I later studied for diplomas in General Nursing and Midwifery. This instution was the backbone and the source of the notorious black on black violence led by the IFP.

We the workers fought tough battles against the system and many were killed I had joined NEHAWU after we had embarked on an illegal strike in September 1990. Actually I was elected a shopsteward on the 3rd and have led 6 major strikes in that institution.

I have led Nehawu at branch or regional level as chairperson and provincial level. In 2000 I was elected COSATU provincial chairperson, served two terms and elected to a third term in July 2006 to be later elected 1st Deputy President at the ninth national congress of COSATU. I also serve in the PEC, PWC as a member of the SACP since 2000 and 2003. I am a loyal member of the ANC which I formally joined in 1990 and participates in its community programmes."

Sdumo has a paralegal background is a strong negotiator with developed conflict management skills, combined with dispute resolution. He is married with three children.