Big belly laugh

Sam, have that membership form ready!

One thing that may have been lost in the hustle and bustle surrounding the Hefer commission is a point that former Minister of Transport Mac Maharaj said at the beginning of the whole saga. “Because of the importance of the principles involved in this whole affair, I’m prepared to come out of my retirement from politics and fight what I see as an abuse of power. Even if this bankrupts me financially, I’m prepared to go all the way up to the point where I take up a job as a petrol attendant”. So Sam Tsiane, Numsa’s motor industry co-ordinator should have that membership form ready!

Georgia on a comrade’s mind

One of the benefits of South Africa ‘s re-admission to international sporting events is the education that we receive on the world’s geography. Few people knew of Burkina Faso , let alone of that country’s capital, Ouagadougou . Thanks to Africa ‘s Cup of Nations. But we have a long way to go. During the rugby world cup, some comrades were rejoicing at the trashing of Georgia and that country’s early exit from the competition. “It’s good that the Yankees are out”, said one seasoned comrade. Clearly, the comrade had in his mind Gladys Knight 1970’s hit song Midnight train to Georgia or the jazz standard, Georgia on my mind . But the Georgia that participated in the world cup was not the United States southern state that the two songs referred to. The team was one ex-Soviet republic called Georgia. As a grounded comrade, this you are supposed to know. Georgia is where Father Stalin was born!

SACP to China

Last year the energetic Mazibuko Khanyiso Jara (surname Jara) circulated a press statement announcing that the South African Communist Party was sending a high powered delegation to China.The next day the media was full of reports about an international conference on tourism taking place in Peking . We await the next AC (fourth or fourth/first quarter edition) to clarify whether the timing was coincidental.

Cosatu: a “government in-waiting”?

Which union federation in the world has been visited by two foreign heads of states in three months? It can only be the mighty Cosatu. In November, Cosatu met the Brazilian president, Lula da Silva. In January it was Gerhard Schrí¶der’s turn. Whether these visits indicate that the federation is fast becoming a government-in-waiting, one is not sure. One thing is clear – that given the popularity of these meetings and the fact that they quorate, such state visits should go into the federation’s 2015 plan.

2004 looks promising

Talking about meetings quorating, 2004 looks promising. Speaking to a few comrades it looks as if the problem of no water at Cosatu House was the main reason why comrades were not fulfilling their revolutionary duty of attending meetings that the federation convened. With toilets in a mess, the “chicken lunch on the 10 th floor was no longer an incentive but a problem”.

Cosatu for the Guinness book?

Speaking at a press conference with the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB) and serious as ever, Willy Madisha told the journalist that “the meeting between Cosatu and Gerhard Schrí¶der should go into the annals of history because of its significance”. With two visits by foreign heads of state in three months, may be the Cosatu president should consider the Guinness Book.

2010 on the agenda

Talking at the same press Cosatu/DGB press conference, Zwelinzima Vavi told those gathered how the two union federations extensively discussed the issue of 2010. Numsa Bulletin thought that Cosatu’s general secretary was referring to Germany ‘s GEAR programme adopted by Gerhard Schroder’s government (see article in this edition). The programme is called Agenda 2010. Not at all! The Kaizer Chiefs fan was referring to Germany backing South Africa ‘s bid for soccer World Cup. From the look of things, Comrade Zweli is keeping to his promise to Irvin Khoza and Danny Jordaan that “Cosatu will do its utmost to ensure that the event comes to South Africa “. South Africa ‘s vying for the soccer world cup also featured prominently in the Cosatu meeting with Brazil ‘s Lula da Silva.

Presidential jet for a union president

Remember the big outcry when the South African government said that it was acquiring a new jet for President Mbeki. While Cosatu never took a position on the matter, Numsa’s delegation at the International Metalworkers Federation’s (IMF) central committee in Cape Town was surprised to hear that one of the IMF affiliates had a jet for presidential use. Thomas Buffenbarger, the president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, confirmed that he is in President Mbeki’s league. “Being my first visit to Africa , I decided not to use the plane scared that the machine will run out of fuel over the Atlantic Ocean .”

Comrade Tom you better make a plan!

Mind your language

As a third language speaker of English, one has learnt to listen carefully. Listening recently to a German delegation talking about how “nuclear waste was not only an environmental problem but also an ethnic question”, one was amazed. Many of us think that the problem of ethnicity only rears its ugly head in places like Africa , Bosnia , Eastern Europe etc. It was during question time when one Numsa comrade asked about ethnic groups in Germany , that we discovered that the comrades from Karl Marx’s land were referring to how unethical it was to store nuclear waste as this posed problems for future generations.

Thabo for Tambo!

Do you know that popular song that always comes up in Numsa gatherings: Izibham zala Bafana zindikhumbuza, Oliver Tambo? In the long-awaited Cosatu CD recorded at the September 2003 national congress, the lyrics Oliver Tambo have been replaced by a long uttering, u-Thabo. So when you sing it next time just remember the change!

One cellphone, one vote!

The ANC’s Gauteng region has hit on a new way of enticing prospective voters. A recent SMS doing the rounds says: “Win with ANC, R100 000 in prizes. Question: The ANC was formed in 1912. True or false. Sms answer to 36852. R5 per sms. 4ward 2 others. ANC Gauteng .”