The office of the country’s labour registrar should be taken to task over the appalling state of trade unions in the country. Corruption, fraud and other financial crimes are the order of the day in a number of unions. While law enforcement agencies are equally to blame for not taking on these cases with vigour, the labour registrar is empowered to act against organisations in the interest of its members. The Labour Relations Act confers powers on the registrar to put under administration or deregister organisations that are not compliant with the law, including those unable to account for the use of workers’ monies. South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) members are still reeling from the looting of the union’s coffers by its former leaders. Former Satawu president Ezrom Mabyana was jailed for 10 years for buying a house for R3.6m and pocketing R1.8m from the workers’ trust fund.The union’s former general secretary, Zenzo Mahlangu, is said to have emptied its ban...

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