THORN is a trade union which is affiliated to SAFTU- South African Federation of Trade Unions. THORN was formed in 1997 with no other motive but to fight for betterment of the vulnerable workers in the most exploited industries. The aim was to protect, promote and further interests and rights of workers. We saw a need of forming this organization because we felt there was less force exerted in these vulnerable sectors we represent to promote social change and justice, harmonious industrial relations and encourage human resource development. To date THORN remains the most militant union in vigorously fighting for protection of workers’ rights and serving their interests.

We are a democratic trade union, a worker controlled union this means our members are the one in charge, they choose leadership that will best serve them, we take mandate from them, we serve their interests, and most importantly we are a constitutional driven trade union.

THORN militantly fought against exploitation under the leadership of the Black Consciousness Movement stalwart, comrade Patrick Bayo Mkhize. At the age of 16, comrade Mkhize was involved in the 1976 uprising during which black learners clashed with apartheid security machinery to protest against Afrikaans being enforced as the compulsory language of instruction. This young firebrand soon became a target for the apartheid security police.

It was during this period that Mkhize’s political activism drew him to the BCM ideology – to which he remained true to throughout his life – even at great personal cost. While Mkhize was a Bachelor of Law (LLB) student at the former University of Durban-Westville, he was forced to abruptly terminate his academic pursuits due to the retraction of his student bursary. This was directly linked to his political activism, aimed squarely at dismantling the apartheid state.

Mkhize was an intellectual who joined forces with Steve Biko, Strini Moodley, Khotso Seatlholo and other like-minded revolutionaries. At the age of 25, Mkhize was a seasoned political leader – he was detained without trial at Westville Prison alongside the late Keith Joseph. While imprisoned, Mkhize and Joseph worked to politically conscientise fellow inmates and spearhead prison reform.

Mkhize was recognised for his bold activism directed at healing community divisions, fighting racism, and eliminating race and class inequities. May his soul rest in peace, his spirit shall live and we will continue with the struggle of worker as he would have!!!!!!


To fight for equality, democracy and economic freedom in a socialist state where workers would be benefiting as they are supposed to be as drivers of the economy.

To stick to the convictions behind formation of this democratic, militant and revolutionary trade union which is to fight for job security, better working conditions, better wages, fight against outsourcing and poverty against the working class at large not only the employed but those all those who their survival is reliant on selling their labour. This we will bring trough building unity of the workers in workplaces and working class in communities.

Click here to view the Constutitution of the Trade Union Thorn


Thokozani Mkhwanazi- Deputy President

Zeinab Sayed- Treasurer

Xolani Sisilane – General Secretary

Nonyameko Sikade- Additional member

Fikile Zwane- Additional member