As this Numsa News goes to the printers, I hope regions have now moved into fifth gear in their preparations for the Numsa Central Committee (CC) of July 8-10.
We will judge your participation in these preparations as members and shopstewards by the extent to which your elected delegates participate in the CC deliberations. Regions and delegates cannot complain of inadequate time to prepare as the Secretariat Report was circulated well in advance to all regions to receive mandates on the following matters:
Should we continue to retain local offices in the W. Cape / E. Cape / KwaZulu/Natal and Ekurhuleni regions that were given six months to improve their membership status?
On the shopstewards elections in September 2003, how are the discussions in your factories and locals on the qualities of a Numsa leader? Are we on track with what we said we must do in the Numsa Mafikeng 2000 National Congress â€“ â€˜Renewing Numsa and building a united revolutionary metalworkers union'? What are your thoughts about the outcome of the recent Growth and Development Summit? Do you think it has turned the tide for Cosatu's demands on job creation, anti-privatisation and the HIV/Aids campaign? On the Cosatu congress in September 2003, what kind of a federation should we build to face up to the complex challenges in the workplace and in society in this century? On the 2004 General Elections, what lessons can we draw from the nine years of democracy?
In the CC, we will expect your delegates to present your mandates for this organisation to grow stronger. It is through your active participation as members and shopstewards that we will build a strong Numsa and contribute towards a caring, democratic society free of racial and economic exploitation.
I call upon you as members to utilise the existing structures of the union to tell us as elected leaders what your aspirations are. If you fail to do this as ordinary members, you may also be actors in the weakening of the union.
The Central Committee must also discuss the most important business of this union – collective bargaining.
In the National Bargaining Conference in April, we resolved to take employers head-on on actual wage increases in the motor industry, fight against Labour Brokers in the Engineering Sector and to challenge employers in the Auto Sector on the â€˜no further claims clause'.
The question that your regions must answer in the Central Committee is have they done what they said they would do â€“ mobilise members around these issues?
The CC will not decide whether to go on strike or not on the basis of what you say but on whether members have been mobilised in the factories to wage a battle against employers.
I have always said, it is not the leaders that matter most in a battle, but the ability of the organisation to find expression in its members.
In a recent meeting of Numsa in the Western Transvaal , it was said by a delegate that â€˜Numsa has changed from what it used to be'. But no-one asks him/herself this question, 'What have I done as a member to contribute to this change?' To answer this question, if the CC is to become a productive meeting, let's hear your voices.
In this meeting, we will also be bidding farewell to a long serving worker leader, an activist of the democratic movement and a leader of the working class, the 2 nd Vice President cde Vincent Mabuyakhulu. In the 1999 General Elections he was amongst the list of parliamentarians nominated to sit in the National Assembly.
The ANC has advised Numsa that he now has to take up his position as a member of the National Assembly. On behalf of the 172 000 paid up members of Numsa and the National Office Bearers, we want to wish our comrade all of the best in his new appointment.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank cde Vincent Mabuyakhulu for his unwavering commitment in the struggles of metalworkers, particularly at the time when he placed his life and that of his family at risk in the turbulent environment in the 1980s in the KwaZulu/Natal region. In the CC, he will receive a befitting farewell party for his contribution to the struggles of the working class.
In conclusion, there can be no better way to defend the cause of the working class than to:
Forge ahead with unity to build a strong organisation Learn from others, enjoy life as metalworkers but condomise Build a people's movement to deepen socio-economic transformation and democracy Work towards building a better life for workers in the African continent and the world.
Divided we fall, united we stand! Aluta Continua!
Silumko Nondwangu, General Secretary