“Distances must not make us Numsa stepchildren”

Do you know where Postmansburg, Hartswater, Prieska, Britstown, De Aar and Warrington are? Although television weather bulletins never mention these Northern Cape towns, Numsa has members in them.

At the end of August, 33 shopstewards from these far-flung areas gathered for three days in Kim berley . They were attending a case-handling course.

Unlike workshops in the major cities where shopstewards walk to the event, participants who came from areas outside of Kim berley had to travel an average of 200 kilometres to the educational activity. These distances give local comrades a few hours before the workshop to catch Northern Cape ‘s morning sunrays as they wait for their comrades to arrive. “The issue of long distances is a big problem for us – both for service of members and for giving shosptewards a sense of belonging”, says local organiser, Tebogo Leeuw.

Like anywhere in the country, a few hours of introductions and interactions created the usual Numsa buzz. Participants took the big English and legal jargon and quickly were talking in Setswana and Afrikaans about “moko wa case” or “onderlíªende omstandighede van “˜n saak”.

As one participant put it, despite all the new labour laws, “our members in small towns are still in Egypt under Pharaoh’s heavy hand”.

Hopefully the course has given them tools to free themselves from slavery.

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