By Deogratias Mmana
Southern Africa Trade Union Coordinating Council (Satucc) has accused the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) of being influenced by the West to withdraw the bloc’s candidate for the position of director-general for the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Satucc President Zingiswa Losi faulted Sadc for allowing South Africa (SA) to withdraw its candidate, Mthunzi Perry Mason Mdwaba, without consulting the regional body’s partners.
Losi was speaking Wednesday in Lilongwe during the opening of a meeting for ministers of employment, labour and social partners. The meeting was officially opened by Sadc Council of Ministers Chairperson Nancy Tembo and later closed by Labour Minister Vera Kamtukule.
“The SA government should never have been allowed to withdraw [the candidate] as what we had was a Sadc tripartite candidate not a South African candidate.
“We are aware that our candidate was being decampaigned since the AU [African Union] endorsed him in October 2020 and while it was foreseen that there could be another candidate because of the early submission, it was scandalous that the AU was allowed to deactivate his campaign without the social partners being called at Sadc or being consulted,” Losi said.
The new ILO director-general is Gilbert Houngbo from Togo, who is expected to assume office in October this year. There were five candidates for the position, according to ILO.
In his maiden speech after the election, Houngbo said: “Although my origins are African, my perspective is global. In an age, unfortunately of dividedness, my commitment to be a unifying director general stands firm.”
In 2021, the South African government on its website www.gov.za announced the withdrawal of the candidature of Mdwaba.
Mdwaba’s name was submitted as that of a Sadc tripartite and AU-endorsed candidate.
Meanwhile, Kamtukule has asked Sadc member states to implement resolutions made during the meeting for the enhancement of decent work in the region.
The meeting adopted several frameworks and reports which included the revised Sadc Code of Conduct on Child Labour, the Sadc Labour Migration Action Plan’s Monitoring and Reporting Framework and the Model Framework on Social Dialogue Institutions in Sadc.
The meeting also provided guidance on the development of the new Sadc Protocol on Employment and Labour, which seeks to strengthen labour administration systems in member states.