Precisely two years ago, in the dramatic era in politics known as the pre-Nasrec era, former president Jacob Zuma was booed at a May Day Rally in Bloemfontein. The humiliation of the president by members from the working class at the ANC’s birthplace represented the low point of the fractured alliance between the ANC and the labour movement. An alliance with a longstanding history of solidarity based on the commitment to workplace equality and society at large, faced its greatest crisis emanating from the hangover of persistent unemployment, the perils of state capture and the broken politics of the ANC. The country’s unemployment conundrum — pervasive across social classes but amplified among black youth,  alongside income and wealth inequality — remain the most tangible exhibits of the lost economic decade. The trade union movement, with its storied history in SA dating back to the Industrial Conciliation Act of 1924, has achieved significant gains for workers in labour relations ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.