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cosatuTheto Mahlakoana writes that trade union federation Cosatu should hang its head in shame at its neglect of the late renowned veteran unionist Cedric Gina.  

She says that it is unfathomable how the organisation, which characterises itself as a champion of workers, expects to be trusted by current and prospective members when it failed its most prominent leader when he was at his most vulnerable.  Gina was a former president of SA’s biggest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), and later the founding general secretary of the Liberated Metalworkers Union of SA (Limusa).  At the time of his death Gina had been admitted to Addington Hospital in Durban, but apparently there was no attempt by Cosatu or any of its affiliates to provide resources to assist Gina.  A few weeks before he was admitted to hospital in December, he was kicked out of Limusa during what was described by his allies as a hostile takeover by a faction opposed to his leadership style.  It was immediately after the central committee meeting that voted him out that he collapsed, with his health deteriorating thereafter.  Yet, only the deputy general secretary of Limusa, Mawonga Madolo, bothered to pay him a visit in hospital.  As Limusa general secretary, Gina had been an employee of the union.  But after he was kicked out, he found himself jobless at the age of 47, with his comrades nowhere to be seen nor his years of work towards the labour movement acknowledged.  It was only at the news of his death that Cosatu’s memory of his contribution was refreshed.  “Gina deserved better, and so do the workers who continue to fight for worker rights”, says Mahlakoana.

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