Mr Ntshalintshali first became a unionist in 1981 serving as a shop steward for Chemical Workers’ Industrial Union (CWIU) at Sasol. Ten years later, in 1994, Ntshalintshali was elected deputy general secretary of the CWIU, but stood down the following year, to study in England. He returned to South Africa in 1996, and took part in the talks which merged the CWIU into the new Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers' Union. Later in the year, he became the organising secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), rising to become deputy general secretary and in 2015 Mr Ntshalintshali was elected as general secretary of COSATU.
The session will serve to introduce the theme to be taken up in more detail in the subsequent conference deliberations.