Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Zingiswa Losi has challenged hundreds of National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) delegates attending a four-day National Policy Conference in Boskburg, Gauteng, to find alternatives that will help to curb job losses as the Fourth Industrial Revolution takes hold.

She says trade unions across the country have an obligation to make sure that jobs are secured.

Losi says more could be done to protect job security.  “On a daily basis, the global portraiture gets a friendly to re-skill or starve. Sometimes we talk of the fourth industrial revolution as if it’s still coming – but yet it’s here. It is with us. And at times, we are participants to it.”

The conference turned into a political discussion for moment on Wednesday. The tug of war between the Public Protector and Public Enterprise Minister came under the spotlight. The land issue also featured at this conference.

However, the actual work delegates are at the conference for was preceded by a reflection on the state of politics in the country.

The name of Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan came up as Nehawu president Mzwandile Makwayiba warned against ministers who mistreat workers.

“We will not tolerate ministers who criticise our workers, including Pravin Gordhan.”

Communists present at the event quickly came to Gordhan’s defence, even stating that the stand-off between the Minister and the Public Protector had sinister motives behind it.

“The public protector’s office must be respected; it must not be used as a hired gun of corporate capture agenda. The office of the public protector is used to launch an offensive against him,” says SACP First deputy Solly Mapaila.

The expropriation of land also entered through the backdoor in the form of Eskom. Union federation Cosatu says the Eskom can be saved if government starts expropriating land to increase the utility’s capacity.

“Government must begin to expropriate land so we can generate enough electricity for this country,” says Losi. Nehawu will celebrate its birthday on Thursday and its policy conference will conclude on Sunday , 29 June.

-Additional reporting by Natasha Phiri