Numsa mourns the death of its long time stalwart

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is saddened with profound sense of loss at the passing away of one of its founder leader and former Cosatu President John Phumzile Gomomo.

He died yesterday at a Uitenhage clinic on January 22, 2008 after long illness.

Gomomo, the struggle champion and defender of workers’ rights is Numsa’s long- term stalwart and the former vice- president of the National Automobile and Allied Workers Union (Naawu) which was one of Numsa’s forerunners.

He successfully led major campaign to enlist African and coloured workers in the trade union in the 1970’s at the time when it was illegal for blacks to join unions.

He became the first chairperson of the Eastern Cape region of the Federation of South African Trade Unions (Fosatu) which was a forbearer of Cosatu.

A full-time senior shop steward in Volkswagen plant, Uitenhage for several decades, Gomomo distinguished himself in working for the unity workers.

He played a major role in the discussions that led to several metalworkers’ unions’ merger to form Numsa in 1987, after working towards the launch of Cosatu.

Gomomo was detained under the state of emergency with several other Cosatu activists in 1985 at the height of black political resistance in the Eastern Cape.

He remained a key Numsa leader in auto sector after he was elected Cosatu vice President in 1989 and later Cosatu President.

He was later elected to parliament after the advent of the national democratic dispensation in 1994.

In paying tribute to Gomomo, Numsa general secretary Silumko Nondwangu said though he always had tight schedule as the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Public Service and Administration, he was always committed to the cause of the labour movement as he availed himself when called to assist in building unity in labour.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family for allowing Gomomo to serve his people unselfishly,” Nondwangu said.

For further information contact:

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson

Cell phone: 082 9407116

E-mail :


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