Congress report back

Congress report back

From September 19 to 23, more than 700 Numsa members representing the entire union gathered in Johannesburg for the Union ‘s 7 th national congress.

The congress adopted resolutions to guide the union over the next four years.

Some resolutions could not be discussed and adopted and there was also no time to discuss amendments to the Union ‘s constitution. See the box on this page that explains how the Union will deal with unfinished business.

In the next eight pages, we try to give you a taste of the metalworkers’ parliament. Get a copy of the resolutions adopted from your nearest Numsa office.

After the Congress we have homework to do!

When the election results were officially announced on the last day, re-elected Numsa President, Mtutuzeli Tom, had this to say to delegates just before closing the congress..

It is well known that since June 2000 till today, battles have been fought, things have been said, lives have been threatened, not by people who are against us whose whereabouts are untraceable, but by people who are sitting next to you. They have done that with the intention of taking the organisation away from its own owners – metalworkers.

Metalworkers have refused, metalworkers must refuse. Numsa is not Tom’s property as a person but it is Tom’s property as a collective of metalworkers. This is our union, this is our organisation, this is our lives, this is the future of the lives of the next generation. We must jealously guard this property of ours.

Today there is no winner. There is no loser. All of us as metalworkers, we are victors. Papers have written a lot of stories about us, our behaviour, divisions and conflicts amongst ourselves. This is not new, we are not machines, we are human beings with brains and we think and as human beings we can think differently.

What is important is how we manage those differences. 2000 congress was a very bad experience for me. 2004 has turned the 2000 congress into a Sunday afternoon picnic. I never thought that we would experience these problems in 2004. I thought that after that congress we would know how to deal with the situation but I think I was wrong.

All of us here today have homework to do. When we go back home to workers, they are going to ask us, why did you elect so and so because to me you said he did the following things.

That is the most painful thing to do, is to repair the damage that we have already caused to metalworkers. We have no choice, we must go back and repair that damage. We are not going to chop down trees and expect passerbys to collect wood. We chop the trees and we collect the wood first because it is we who chopped the wood first.

On behalf of the office bearers, comrades who have participated in the process of voting, if you have not voted for me, it doesn’t mean that I am not your president. I am your president. The reason why you didn’t vote for me, you were exercising your democratic right to vote.

I wish you a safe journey home. Thank you.

Part of Numsa President, Mtutuzeli Tom’s acceptance speech on the last day of the National Congress.

Views from the floor

“During this workers’ parliament I felt unity in discussing resolutions on building Numsa. We set proper resolutions based on class theory as we understand that the working class is under attack from the neo-liberal agenda inside and outside its ranks.

“In Mafikeng I thought that we were on the verge of collapse, but now we are a vibrant Numsa of Moses Mayekiso, Enoch Godongwana, Mbuyi Ngwenda and others leaders of this giant metalworkers union.” Xolani Samana, chairperson of King Williamstown local and an Eastern Cape delegate

I believe that resolutions taken at this Congress will make Numsa a much better organisation. Resolutions on skills development, on building the SACP, gender issues and amendments. But for everything to happen, we have to work more on unity – our leaders must also work around unity.” Mabel Namba, representing Benoni local, Ekurhuleni region.

The final election results for the new National Office Bearers

President Mtutuzeli Tom – 401 votes against Phil Bokaba 314 votes

First Vice President: Ben Khoza – 374 votes against Nthabiseng Moleleki 348 votes

Second Vice President: Cedric Gina – 384 votes against Stephen Nhlapo 335 votes

General Secretary Silumko Nondwangu – 404 votes against Dinga Sikwebu 316 votes

Deputy General Secretary Bheki Magagula – 399 votes against Karl Cloete 316 votes

Treasurer Philemon Shiburi – 355 votes against Omar Gire 346 votes

Dealing with unfinished business:

Early 2005

April 2005

After May 2005

1. Numsa training conference

* deal with skills and training resolutions

National Bargaining Conference

discuss recommendations from training conference
deal with outstanding collective bargaining resolutions not discussed at Congress
deal with recommendations from 3-year bargaining strategy review workshop

Extended Central Committee or Mini-congress will debate:

constitutional amendments
international resolutions that could not be discussed at the congress
other resolutions that congress debated but then referred to the Central Committee

2. Workshop to discuss the report on the 3-year bargaining strategy