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Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has announced that the Labour Department has given it the official nod to establish its own trade union, to be known as the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC).

South African Labour News reported that an EFF spokesperson stipulated that party members could not belong to any unions affiliated with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

Major challenge to COSATU

It is believed that NTUC could prove a major challenge to COSATU, which has been riven by internal divisions, such as its recent split with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), which has just embarked on a national strike.

“We already have a huge number of registered members, but we could not approach employers for recognition without registration,” said the spokesperson.

Capitalist vehicles

NTUC interim general secretary Eddie Mathiba said: “Gone are the days of capitalist vehicles driven by employers and Cosatu affiliates.”

Eight months after it was established, the EFF surprised pundits by raking in 6.35% of the vote in the national election in May.

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