Johannesburg – Cosatu was looking forward to Sifiso Maphumulo, the president of the Liberated Metalworkers Union of SA (Limusa), taking forward the working class struggle before he was killed in a car crash. The federation was mourning his loss on Sunday.
“The Congress of South African Trade Unions [Cosatu] has received the saddest news about the fatal car accident which killed the president of Limusa, Comrade Sifiso Maphumulo last [Saturday] night,” deputy general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said in a statement.
“Comrade Maphumulo was working at Toyota South Africa and has served as the Cosatu local chairperson at Isipingo for a long duration.”
He was the founding president of Limusa, with Cosatu last week holding a meeting with Limusa leadership after the special central executive committee took a decision to admit them into the federation, he said.
“The meeting tackled various issues pertaining to their induction programme within Cosatu,”
Cosatu expressed its heartfelt condolences to Maphumulo’s family, the Limusa leadership and workers in general across all sectors of the economy.
“Cosatu will this week, at its Shopsteward Councils, mobilise all workers to attend the coming May Day rallies, to remember him,” he said.
“Hamba Kahle Comrade Maphumulo.”
Earlier on Sunday, Limusa general secretary Cedric Gina said he was in the same car as Maphumulo at the time of the accident.
“I was a passenger in the car that Sifiso was driving, as was the national spokesperson Mawuononga Madolo, and Mmusi Ferobatswe, an official of Limusa,” Gina said.
“The road was a little bit wet but it wasn’t raining but comrade Sifiso lost control of the vehicle, but when he tried to regain control of the vehicle, it overturned a number of times. Afterwards, we tried to touch him, and move and tried to free ourselves from the car and we used the windows to get out the car.
“When the ambulance came they confirmed that he had passed away.”
Gina said he and the two other passengers were fine, after receiving only minor bruises in the accident. They went to hospital, with one of them needing X-rays and medication.
He said the accident happened on Saturday night.
“It was around 20:00 on Saturday. It was on the N3 just after the Escourt Ultra City, around 20km from the Ultra City on the N3,” Gina said.
A Limusa press conference scheduled for Sunday has been cancelled, with Gina and other Limusa officials to meet with Maphumulo’s family later on Sunday.
“We are going to meet the family today. We will talk to them, and comfort them and assure them that we are with them in this situation,” Gina said.
“Then we are going to decide how we are going to proceed with the press conference in consultation with the family, as we do not want to be seen as disrespectful. We will communicate going forward.”
The union was accepted as a new Cosatu affiliate on March 31, following the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) in November last year.