Press Release : Immediate
The Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU) mourns the untimely passing away of its 1st Deputy President, Violet Seboni. She was also the Deputy President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). She was killed in car accident near Ventersdorp on Friday 3 April 2009, on her way to Mafikeng, where she was to participate in ANC election campaigning. Violet was first elected as a SACTWU shop steward in 1989. She was most recently employed at Supreme Hat 'n Cap, a Johannesburg-based clothing company. Her exceptional talent and dedication as a worker leader resulted in her quickly rising through the ranks in SACTWU and in COSATU .
In 1999 she was elected as the first female chairperson of the SACTWU East Rand Branch. In early 2001, she ws elected as the Regional Treasurer in SACTWU's Gauteng Region and later the same year, she was elected as the SACTWU 2nd deputy President, at the union's 8th National Congress held in Durban. She was elected as COSATU's Second Deputy President in 2003. At SACTWU'S 2004 National Congress, she was elected as 1st Deputy President of this clothing, textile and leather trade union. In 2005, she was also elected as a Vice-President for the Africa Region of the International Textile Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF), a global union federation of textile, garment and leather trade unions. She was also a member of the Brussels-based ITGLWF's international Executive Committee, representing her union SACTWU.
During her lifetime, Violet has served in all structures of SACTWU, from factory level (where she started as a shop steward in 1989) right up to the national structures of the union. She has served in the union's East Rand branch structures, on the union's Gauteng Regional Executive Committee, on the union's National Co-ordinating Committee as well as on the SACTWU National Executive Committee. Besides her work in COSATU, she was also an endless campaigner for a better and more sustained future for clothing, textile and leather workers.
She was also a member of the SACTWU clothing industry wage negotiating team for more than a decade.
She has played a broader role to advance the interestsof the labour movement in general, in many other areas.
At the most recent National Co-ordinating Committee meeting of SACTWU, held in mid-February this year, she spoke passionately about the importance for a decisive ANC victory in the April 2009 general elections.
Violet was born on 18 September 1965. She was a single mother and leaves behind two daughters: Lesogo (24 years) and Lesedi (12 years).
The union movement has lost a great worker leader, a person who was passionate about a better life for clothing, textile and leather workers in particular and all workers nationally and globally in general.
SACTWU and COSATU are consulting the Seboni family about funeral arrangements and details there-of will be announced in due course. A fuller tribute will be paid to Violet at her funeral.
In a separate development earlier on the morning of Friday 3rd April 2009, Phillip Nyai, an ex-Deputy President of SACTWU, was killed by three unknown gunmen outside his factory in Gauteng. Phillip and Violet were great friends and her last discussion with the SACTWU President (Themba Khumalo), just hours before she was killed in the car accident on Friday evening, related to funeral arrangements for Phillip.
Issued by :
SACTWU Deputy General Secretary
Ph: (021) 447 4570
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