Unions and floor crossing
With the country's eyes on councillors that were to cross from their parties to new political homes, workers in one of Numsa's regions were shocked to hear that one of their organisers had joined a rival union, Netu. "Hey com, we thought that the floor crossing legislation was designed for elected representatives".
Office bearers watch out! A lot can happen in a 15-day window period.
Youth League – 2002's real pioneers
By their actions and talk, the "old leaders" of the ANC Youth League are strong contenders for 2002 loyal pioneers' prize. Having been recalled from national parliament's cushy back benches, Mlungisi Gigaba the president of the "sleeping lions" wasted no time and jumped with both feet into the loyalists' campaign. His first shot was to dedicate his organisation to finding a "black Miss South Africa". They were tired of abelungukazi posing as the country's beauty queens. Then there were threats to disrupt the cricket World Cup in 2003. As a way of ensuring those young people who at the Youth League congress refused to have a leader sitting in parliament, Gigaba scraped some "dikidiki" awards and presented them to kwaito-stars for their positive message to the youth. Hola mpintshi yam!
But more daring was the League's call for a "regime change" in Cosatu; a la George Bush. This is after the calls by the spokesperson of the organisation for the ANC to discipline Jeremy Cronin. With a few months to go before the ANC national conference scheduled for December takes place, the "young lions" will clearly roar more loudly. Remember they were the first lot to say how the top positions in the ANC were not up for contest. Unfortunately for the Youth League, after threatening to bomb Cosatu " Baghdad " House if Vavi et al do not vacate, the fact that the "young lions" have no teeth was exposed. A youth march organised by the Youth League in Tembisa on 05 October had less than 50 marchers. After the long march to the police station, the TV-president threatened to "strip all those parents who abused their kids of their parental rights". Rha! Sis makwedini.
R55 000 on your account. Will you notice it?
Since the news broke out about the suspension of Andile Nkuhlu, talking amongst our members at Denel and Eskom has not stopped. Nkuhlu, as the Chief Director was the one with a hammer to "restructure" the two Numsa-organised state enterprises. Making tongues wag is the point that Nkuhlu made in his defence. He argued that he did not notice the money deposited into his account by a person from the consortium chosen to take over the privatised forestry company. For many workers what this tells them is that there was a huge amount of money in the account of the honourable chief director.
Where is he now?
Interest on what has happened to Andile Nkuhlu has not waned. His resignation from the Department of Public Enterprises has made many workers at Denel and Eskom more curious. Where is he now? What is he doing now that he has no job? What happened to his hammer?
We don't know. We saw him recently at the ANC's National Policy Conference. Remember, he is on the National Executive Committee of the ANC Youth League. What we cannot confirm is his role in the conference resolution that says that the ANC should continue with restructuring of state assets "as long as the process does not lead to job losses".
08-14 September: the week that was!
When calls where made left, right and centre to South Africans to save during this year's National Savings Week, two petrol attendants sat in their kiosk pondering on how to respond to the national call. After looking at their R156.50 weekly wage packet, the two comrades opted to be unpatriotic and decided to give the whole thing a miss.
Mass action by head office's neighbours
In property deals they say, location is everything. With Numsa's head office being in downtown Johannesburg and opposite a hotel called Diggers Inn, staff at the union's ndlunkulu watched with amazement a demonstration by the hotel's tenants. The toyi-toying women were protesting against eviction. Their complaint was despite the talk that business in their trade would boom during the WSSD, recessionary conditions continued. This made things difficult for them to pay their rent.
Not sure about how to relate to this burst of new struggle energy, the creative and innovative organisers felt that the problem was the "absence of portability". Had the tenants possessed portable skills they would have been able to move from downtown Johannesburg to the clientele with dollars in Sandton.
Was the Cosatu strike a failure or a success?
When Cabinet Ministers announced that the recent Cosatu anti-privatisation strike was a failure, perhaps they had heard the same worrying information that we had – that shop stewards at some workplaces had negotiated paid time off to stayaway and go to marches while workers had to go to work!
Viva who? John Pape or James Kilgore?
As believers always proclaim, God works in strange ways. Numsa was amper in trouble. As we normally do when faced with difficult economic issues, for this edition of Numsa Bulletin we approached John Pape of ILRIG for an article on corporate scandals in the US . As usual John was keen to expose the workings of the imperialist beast, but felt that our deadline was too tight. He promised to do something for the next edition, if we were still interested.
Little did we know that having John's article in our publication may have led to visits to Numsa from the FBI and South African security agencies eager to demonstrate their anti-terrorist credentials. We were also not aware at the time how by not having John's article we were saving ourselves from a problem that faced the union information desk when issuing a statement of support for John. Comrades must have noticed that the statement did not end with Viva! The question was who to say Viva to. Anyway, what's in a name?