South Africa: “Build and Revive Working Class Power” – Congress of CEPPWAWU


After several years of leadership challenges within the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers' Union (CEPPWAWU), with no Constitutional Congress being held, the union was finally able to convene its 5th national congress in East London, South Africa, on 27-31 August. The Congress focused on reviving the union through participatory democracy and building trust amongst members under the theme “Build and Revive Working Class Power towards workers Control and Socialism”.

The Congress was attended by 224 delegates, local and International Guests from BWI, Industriall, UNI & WAFTU. The BWI was represented by the Africa and Middle East Regional Vice President Oloka Mesilamu and Regional Representative Crecentia Mofokeng:

“The union is moving towards in the right direction to take their place in not only in South Africa but as member of our global union. The BWI is looks forward to working with CEPPWAWU to build innovative ways to organise workers in the wood, forestry, and allied sectors in South Africa,” said President Oloka in his congratulatory speech.

The congress affirmed their commitment to increase global solidarity. In his closing remarks President Mhlongo emphasized the importance of collective leadership that always represents the interests of the members and exercise accountability. He also stressed the need for continuous training of shop stewards. In the fight for workers’ rights he also encouraged the further promotion of women leadership in all CEPPWAWU structures.

The congress elected the following leaders for the next three years: Thamsanqa Mhlongo (President), Lucas Mashego (1st Vice President), Johannes Dube (2nd Vice President), Lemmy Mokoena (Treasurer), Welile Nolingo (General Secretary), and Musa Bhengu (Deputy General Secretary).