A Shopsteward from the Western Cape , Leslie Skermand, had this to say about the recent National Elections;
“Comrades it has been a hard struggle to get to where we are today…… We fought hard and long just to get over the mountain that we called apartheid. The struggle is still fresh in my mind as if it was yesterday and yes we must say today people still forget what it took to get to where we are today…….”.
During the recent political discussion in the Cosatu Central Executive Committee in May, the Federation raised the following issues which we must debate in our Locals;
In the next five years, we must ensure that the working class takes a lead as we put into practice the concept of a people’s contract to create work and fight poverty. The working class and the poor secured the ANC elections victory and the benefits beyond the elections must mostly go to those who worked for this victory – workers cannot allow other groupings to snatch our victories and use them to our detriment.
In the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal, unlike the other provinces who have been led by the ANC, it is important that you discuss the following issues:
Define very clearly, what your priorities are as the labour movement without losing sight of the broader socio-economic challenges, at a provincial and national level.
Deal with the political tensions that may arise as the movement is pulled from all sides by class forces who have interests other than those of the working class.
Learn from other comrades from Gauteng and the Eastern Cape , without duplicating their experiences, who have had a sound but also a challenging relationship at the level of the Alliance .
We are prepared at a national level as a sign of appreciation for your contribution, to facilitate your visit at the cost of the national union to Gauteng and Eastern Cape to exchange views with other metalworkers on the workings of the Alliance.
On the 7 th NUMSA National Congress
Close to 720 NUMSA delegates representing 200 000 metalworkers from our nine regions will gather at Gallagher Estate in Midrand from September 19 to 23 to chart a programme of action that will guide metalworkers for the next four years on the following issues:
A political analysis on this decade of democracy and how we consolidate working class power in this term of governance;
A discussion on putting into place building blocks to strengthen the organisational capacity of metalworkers to face the coming challenges;
A review of our collective bargaining – our strengths and weaknesses in our battles with big capital;
A discussion on the changing economic landscape and how we forge ahead with the development of an industrial strategy;
Lastly, engage with international developments and how do we strengthen the role of metalworkers internationally and the working class in general.
We have already circulated to our Regions the Secretariat report that will inform these discussions and will also assist Regions in the formulation of resolutions to the National Congress. In a recent address to the Numsa Rustenburg Local, I made the following remarks,
“Those regions must encourage their delegates to speak on issues of substance and organisation-building in the National Congress”.
The National Congress is an opportunity for worker delegates that comes once in four years and therefore should be utilised to build a stronger, united and revolutionary metalworkers union.
In the previous Numsa National Congress in Mafikeng , we had serious discussions unprecedented in the history of this Union . Many of those had nothing to do with building a strong union but were self-serving interests at the most.
It is your responsibility as delegates to the National Congress to defend the character of the union, and most importantly, to ensure that this is retained for generations to come.
On Collective Bargaining
We are heading in this Bargaining round for a major showdown with employers in the Automobile / Tyre and Rubber / Engineering and the Motor Sector. What is clear is that employers are using the inflation targeting measures of the Reserve Bank as a tool to pay us poverty wages. In the forthcoming Numsa Central Committee, to be held from July 7 to 9, your delegates must tell us whether they have mobilised members in the different sectors for the coming battles.
In conclusion and as part of our revolutionary work, Amilcar Cabral had this to say to revolutionary movements in Africa :
“Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies; expose lies, whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures, claim no easy victories”.
ALUTA CONTINUA !!! Silumko Nondwangu General Secretary