Editorial: Comment

A celebration in style

In the front page of this edition, there are pictures from the Western Cape Region of Numsa taken at a recent 15th Anniversary celebration of Numsa. This depicts a celebration of its own, a celebration in style, a showcase of the diverse cultures and traditions of metalworkers and our nation.

What makes us unique and strong as a Union is a recognition and tolerance of our diverse backgrounds and traditions. We come from a painful background where our culture and traditions were viewed as a reflection of backwardness and not in keeping with modern civilisation. What was more painful was an attempt to use our ethnic and racial backgrounds as a weapon to divide us as a class.

I am heartened by the fact that our people are beginning to restore their dignity. I want to believe that these efforts are not about perpetrating ethnicity and racism in disguise, but consistent with values that define a nation and its people.

In a message of support from the NOBs to the leadership of the Western Cape for its 15th anniversary, we made reference to Amilcar Cabral, one of the distinguished African writers who regarded a struggle against our own weaknesses as a battle which reflects an expression of the internal contradictions in the economic, social, cultural (and therefore historical) reality of each our countries.

Like many Numsa regions, the Western Cape is a reflection of a diverse and rich culture that makes our Nation. We should all treasure and harness this important element of our being.

On the organisational front

As we all prepare for the end of 2002, it is important that you and I ask ourselves the following questions:

What have I done in 2002 as a worker, shop steward, official, office bearer to contribute to building a strong, united metalworkers union?
What have I done to give concrete expression to the 2002 theme, ‘Year of the Member’?
What have I done to contribute to the renewal of the organisation?
What is it that I plan to do differently in 2003, to make an extra effort to change the lives of metalworkers?

As we alluded to in the Numsa News this year, none of us can be happy when members complain about the quality of service that we provide, that they are at the mercy of employers because shop stewards and organisers are nowhere to be found to defend them, that they would rather resign from Numsa and join other trade unions because Numsa is failing them.

Let me indicate that this is not a situation that acts across the entire Union . There are shop stewards/ organisers/ administrators who put an extra effort to defend and advance the rights of metalworkers. To those gallant fighters, and activists in the Union – ‘Intsimbi ayigobi, igoba Ejalimani’.

On the socio-economic front

We have seen in 2002 the spiralling of food prices, hikes in interest rates and increase in poverty and unemployment. Whereas as the working class we have made significant gains in the last eight years of democratic rule, these gains are offset by what the federation defines as conservative economic policies. The working class in our country and globally is paying dearly for the global crisis through deepening unemployment, casualisation, grinding poverty, privatisation of basic services and other basic commodities.

Faced with this reality, the CEC of Cosatu held on November 5 to 7, resolved to focus on the spiralling food prices in this festive season, under the slogan, “No festive season when the majority is going hungry”. In this regard, demonstrations will take place against all food manufacturing companies and retailers from December 16 to January 2003. We urge Numsa activists in the regions to lend their support to this campaign.

On behalf of the NOBs and Head Office staff, I thank each and every one of you for making it possible to achieve the results we set ourselves in 2002. Things were tough, but we tried our level best.

To our Christian members, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, to our Muslim members, I wish them well over the month of Ramadaan and a joyous Eid Mubarak!

Aluta Continua

Silumko Nondwangu – General Secretary