The most democratic union in South Africa

DETAWU Brief Background

DETAWU, Democratised Transport Logistics and Allied Workers Union was formed at its inaugural Congress held on the 24th of September 2015 in Pretoria.

DETAWU formation was conceived after some length conversations amongst a sizable portion of workers, Shop stewards, Leaders and officials in our scope.

This was after some of our leaders continuously and persistently raised critical issues of National importance within SATAWU such as mismanagement of Union finances (corruption), non-accountability by the National leadership, perpetual non-sitting of Constitutional structures in Provinces and Nationally, lack of transparency, none adherence to Union constitution, rise of bondage which led to the en masse purging of shop stewards and illegal dismissal of officials in high scale, emergent of undemocratic tendencies and intolerance of divergences.

On countless occasions, we sought Political intervention from COSATU as the Federation in which the Union belonged but to no meaningful assistance.

Our attempts to save the Union from a systematic self-devouring agenda and internal driven implosion unfortunately could not yield positive results.

The entire process become so unpleasant, hostile and treacherous such that it become life treating to some of our key comrades who were central at advocating for what we called “the save SATAWU campaign” to a point that the formation of a new alternative (DETAWU) become unavoidable and continuing fighting for what was clearly becoming a failed project become unbearable and unsustainable.

Upon realizing that we were fighting a losing battle, we eventually surrendered the battlefield and eventually agreed to abandon the save SATAWU campaign.

We remain proud and humbled that at the founding Congress five (5) Provinces were represented, which reinforced our belief that we were taking the right path. This was a good endorsement of the project and a splendid take off.

The Union was ultimately registered with the Department of Labour on the 15th of December 2015 despite all the attempts evil forces and invisible hands to sabotage and frustrate the registration process.

At the founding Congress, the below guiding principles were accepted as our cardinal pillars.

  • We are a democratic Trade Union and that leaders at all levels must try all their best to preserve and nourish internal democracy.
  • We are a transparent, constitutional Trade Union and that leaders at all levels must promote accountability, taking of mandate and reporting back to workers.
  • We are a none racial, none sexist, democratic and socialist-oriented Trade Union biased towards and guided by Leninism and Marxism.
  • We are a worker-controlled Trade Union
  • To remain vigilant and fight out corruption inside and outside the Trade Union.

At our founding Congress, all the National leaders were elected on consensus and the below collective emerged,

  • President – June Dube
  • Deputy President – Frans Rakololo
  • National Treasure – Nomaxabiso Madubela
  • General Secretary – Vusi Ntshangase
  • Deputy General Secretary – Nontembeko Luzipho

We successfully dealt with the National question right at the beginning in that the Congress elected two female comrades into powerful positions in the leadership collective.

From our inception, DETAWU has characterized itself as the most democratic, progressive, revolutionary, militant and transformative Trade Union.

We have inherently understood ourselves as an organization with purpose and set ourselves the strategic key role of pushing back the frontiers of poverty and inequalities in the workplaces and in our communities at large.

We have always understood that all these characteristics shall not be earned through declaration and pronouncements but rather earned through our direct involvement in the struggle by advocating and driving clear transformative revolutionary campaigns and by fighting for an equitable redistribution of the country's wealth and a drive for workplace radical economic transformation.

Our journey is about to make a substantial contribution to change both the working and living conditions of our members.

Our ambition and commitment is to organize the unorganized workers including those who are organized by Trade Unions who do not share the same ideological outlook to ours.

DETAWU shall forever fight side by side with all the forces we may regard as progressive and transformative, and we firmly believe in international solidarity and the need to pursue universal struggle to free workers and the working class as a whole.

We dare don’t linger and dare don’t falter.

about detawu