ULEMASA is an independent organization formed in terms of section 4(1) of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 by the local employees working in foreign missions and international organizations in the Republic of South Africa.


On 9th June 2018, Workers in the Diplomatic Sector met at the Union Buildings for talks on forming a Trade Union for all of the local South African and Migrant Workers recruited by the foreign missions, such as, Embassies and International Organizations in South Africa, which followed talks between the representatives and the former Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Lindiwe Sisulu and the Department of Labour of the Republic in the capital Pretoria Tshwane.

Several resolutions were passed at the first meeting that defined the aim namely:

  • To focus on exploitations of workers in the Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates and international organizations in South Africa mostly women,
  • To demand fair recruitment process and fair labour law practice,
  • To force foreign missions in South Africa to abide by local Labour Laws and any other applicable laws,
  • To demand minimum wage and equal opportunities for all workers regardless of race or origin,
  • To force the Department of international relations & Cooperation (DIRCO) to remind and advise embassy employees including, Ambassadors, other representatives as well as their families in the missions accredited to South Africa who enjoy immunity and inviolability on their duty to respect the laws and regulations of the republic.
  • To extend the demand to all foreign missions to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations Act of 1961.

After successful talks on the 18th July 2018, the Department of Labour of the Republic of South Africa in terms of Section 96(7) of the Labour relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995) grated a formal registration as a Labour Union for the Local Employees in Missions Accredited to South Africa (ULEMASA) Mr Abram Namanyane Sello Pelo, was the first President, Mr Sipho Maphalala, Deputy President and Mr Muhirhi Richard Ngekama was the first Elected General Secretary of the Organization


ULEMASA came to a decision in September 2018 after the 13th National Congress of The Trade Unions Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to affiliate with World Federation of Trade Unions


On 25 September 2018 The Department of International Relations and Cooperation sent official notification to all the heads of foreign states in the Republic notifying them of the registration of (ULEMASA) first of its kind in South Africa, first in Africa and second in the World.

Third Democratic Elections

During its National Congress that was held in Pretoria (Tshwane) on 27th February 2021, Mr. Darlington Karumbiza was elected as the 3nd president of ULEMASA since its founding

Our mission
Uphold the dignity of locally recruited employees (“LRP”) who are members and
preserve, strengthen and protect human and trade union rights.
Negotiate, conclude and provide education on collective agreements.

Enhance members’ productivity, contribute to corporate competitiveness, and promote industrial peace.
Promote the physical, psychological, spiritual, moral, cultural, political and economic
well-being of members.

Build alliances, forge partnerships and work concertedly with civil society organizations and
social partners

Participate effectively in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of
members’ conditions of service and employment rights as well as employers’ policies


To protect, promote and advance the interests of members.
To mediate and build a fresh and cordial relationship between LRP employed by missions accredited to South Africa

To use every legitimate means to recruit new members.
To plan and organize its administration and lawful activities.
To affiliate with and participate in the affairs of any international workers organization.
To promote or oppose any proposed legislative or any other measures affecting the interest of members.
To take the necessary measures, legal or otherwise, to ensure the speedy resolution of any employment dispute between members and their employers.