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Koos Bezuidenhout newly elected president of FEDUSA

Koos names ten critical rules for survival of trade unions

Koos Bezuidenhout, Chief Executive Officer of the trade union UASA, was elected President of the Federation of Unions of SA (FEDUSA). 

The announcement was made at the conclusion of FEDUSA's 5th National Congress, held at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg from 8 to 10 November 2011.

State President Jacob Zuma and various dignitaries attended the event, including Ms Mildred Oliphant (Minister of Labour), Dr Pieter Mulder (Deputy Minister of Agriculture), General Bantu Holomisa (UDM) and several international guests. The Congress attracted numerous industry partners and observers who graced the event with their presence, showing their solidarity.

In his acceptance speech, Bezuidenhout thanked the FEDUSA affiliates for their faith entrusted in him.  He said that FEDUSA members had endured many trials and tribulations over the years, but none as testing as the years since the start of the worldwide economic crisis in 2008. 

He concluded by mentioning ten golden rules he deemed crucial for the survival of trade unions, namely:

  • Good leadership that cares for its members, but at the same time visionary, proactive and developmental, predicting the future instead of fitting into it. Also leadership that is brave enough to give direction, even if it is not always the popular way out.
  • Trade unions must remain relevant and sensitive to the needs of members. In an ever-changing world, unions must continuously scan the environment in respect of social, technological, political and economic change and adapt its strategies and agendas to adequately address the needs of the members.
  • Renewing our strategies. We no longer have the luxury of reviewing our strategies once a year or every two years. Reviewing our strategies should become second nature.
  • Openness, honesty and integrity. These are ingredients without which any organisation will fail.
  • Always act with a proper mandate from the membership. The undivided support of our members will provide the impetus to execute their wishes. Our main mission remains the articulating the needs of our members.
  • Professionalism end efficiency. Our members deserve to have peace of mind about our competence and diligence to always do things right the first time. We simply cannot shoot with a shotgun when the interests of our members are at stake.
  • Good corporate governance. Good administration, service excellence, proper financial management and sound investment policies are not negotiable.
  • Get rid of bureaucracy. Trade unions, like most other organisations, tend to become slow moving bureaucracies. We must guard against this so that when circumstances dictate, we can take effective, decisive and swift action.
  • We must build cooperation between our organisation and other like-minded organisations with a view to consolidating our collective effort in protecting and pursuing the rights and interests of our members.
  • Lastly, we must, as affiliates, avoid competition with each other in our organisation and respect one another. Being together makes us stronger!

Bezuidenhout pledged to abide by these golden rules during his term as FEDUSA president, thereby uniting members, leaders and administrators to become a labour movement to be reckoned with.