Dear Numsa News
I would like to raise my concern about shop stewards. According to me, it seems that they don't know what is their role. They must now stop blaming their officials even pointing fingers to say they are not servicing their companies. Because we are also doing the same. Because we want to be shop stewards in our companies only – what about the communities where we stay?
We are supposed to explain to the community how to claim for the third party, identify companies which fail to comply with Basic Conditions of Employment. Also to recruit workers to join the unions which belong to Cosatu. Some shop stewards do not want to avail themselves in the community addressing these things that are affecting them.
I was also disappointed about attendance of the shop stewards at the launching of socialist forums. This is so important. I suggest that monthly we must send a report to Numsa News to indicate how many shop stewards and officials attend Cosatu locals because resolutions were taken that officials should attend.
The other problem we are encountering is that the beneficiary forms are not taken into consideration by the Trustees. They decide on their own what percentage they must give out. Eg. Mr Mkhonto before he died, on his beneficiary form he decided to give his wife 50% and his mother 50% but when the trustees decided they didn't go according to the request of the late Mkhonto.
We as shop stewards must monitor the process. We appeal to the Trustees that when we need them they must avail themselves to come to our company and address the shop stewards what documents they need from the deceased's family.
Because claims take some time, sometimes even 14 months before it can be paid over to the relevant families. Other things that delay the process are when they misplace documents or send letters in English to the families and they can't understand. The Fund must send a copy to the shop stewards so that we can assist the deceased family and prevent the delay.
Michael Mazibuko, Baldwins Steel, Kempton Park Local
I wish to pass my thanks to Kempton Park local, for their donation of R3000 to me at the end of last year. Comrades will remember that it is not the first time that they have given me financial assistance.
The office bearers and the staff collectively encouraged Numsa members to assist me. I wish to pass my thanks to shop stewards who were committed to convince Numsa members to make this wonderful contribution to make them understand the slogan of 'an injury to one is an injury to all'.
I also wish to pass messages of thanks to all Numsa staff nationally in particular Wits Central West and Western Transvaal , one of the regions nearest to where I am staying.
I do not have enough words to express what is at the bottom of my heart. My last words will be, thank you comrades, what happened to me, let it happen to other comrades like me.
Yours in the struggle, Stephen Rathebe
(Note: Stephen Rathebe was a long-time member and shop steward of Numsa until he was dismissed from his factory in 1992 after the national engineering strike. Since then he has been unemployed but he has continued to assist Numsa's Kempton Park Local on a voluntary basis.)