Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba received a baptism of fire yesterday when he was lambasted by trade union federation Cosatu, which gave him a strongly worded memorandum demanding that he make a public apology for a recent “sexist” remark.
Members from the labour federation embarked on a march to the mayor’s office in Braamfontein. Cosatu representative Modise Letsatsi lashed out at the new DA mayor for a statement he made in which he criticised women he claimed “slept their way to the top” during the ANC’s rule in the metro.
But Mashaba smiled as Letsatsi read the memorandum and, at times, murmured to the security personnel behind him. Cosatu had hired an open-back truck carrying a PA and music system. In a separate statement, the ANC Women’s League said it would lodge a formal sexism complaint against Mashaba.
Cosatu said Mashaba should stop undermining women as he would never have been in his position if women in South Africa had not fought in the liberation struggle.
“We will defeat you again on this one, like we defeated you and your Free Market Foundation (FMF) in court on the issue of centralised bargaining. You are also going to be defeated on Pikitup,” Letsatsi said.
He was referring to the North Gauteng High Court’s dismissal of an application by the FMF that challenged the principle of extending bargaining councils agreements in South Africa to nonparties. Mashaba recently alluded to outsourcing the city’s refuse removal – a move Cosatu opposes, saying it would result in job losses.