Theo Steele has been a member of South Africa’s trade union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) since it was founded in 1985 and is the current national organising secretary. She has previously served as the second vice president of the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU). Steele has been involved in the HIV/AIDS battle since 1999 when she coordinated COSATU’s response to the epidemic. She has represented labour on the Treatment Action Campaign’s national
council.