The South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) was formed during an Inaugural Conference held on 4 and 5 March 1955 in the Trades Hall, Johannesburg. SACTU was the leading non-racial trade union co-coordinating body, and ally of the African National Congress (ANC) led Congress Alliance. The federation suffered major reversals after the banning of political organisations in 1960. Many SACTU members were also members of organisations like the South African Communist Party (SACP), the ANC, South African Indian Congress (SAIC) and the South African Coloured People's Organisation (SACPO).
Following the Sharpeville Massacre, most SACTU office bearers were exiled, banned, banished or imprisoned for ANC and MK activities. Those office bearers in exile re-established the organisation and used it to mobilise international solidarity against the apartheid regime.
With the unbanning of political organisations in 1990, SACTU decided to disband and some of its leadership was absorbed into the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
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