Cosatu’s affiliates will have to perform a fine balancing act when they elect the union federation’s new leadership at its September congress. Insiders who spoke on condition of anonymity said Cosatu needed to balance politics with the needs of workers. Some leaders of the federation’s affiliates said they were pursuing a mix of dynamic, experienced and resilient individuals to take up the top posts. The new leadership will have the task of growing Cosatu’s membership, which has dwindled by 300,000 to 1.6-million since its last congress in 2015. This will be Cosatu’s second congress since it expelled its biggest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, which had 300,000 members, and the first since it lost 100,000 members belonging to the disaffiliated Food and Allied Workers’ Union. Cosatu is seeking to redefine itself politically. It threw its weight behind President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC’s national elective congress in December, but its posture is increasingly shifti...

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