Politics: Numsa GS on politics

By: Judy Madumo and Philip Sapud

With local government elections on the horizon sometime soon, Judy Madumo and Philip Sapud asked Numsa general secretary, Silumko Nondwangu, what regions should be doing to support the ANC.

Last year’s Numsa congress called for democratising and strengthening the Alliance . It further said that it would promote active participation and leadership in the ANC structures by setting targets for membership, rebuilding branches and developing campaigns. With the local government elections approaching, what is Numsa planning around these issues?

Remember we are saying to regions to factor in their planning process a target for membership.

There are dynamics of course at the level of the alliance. We’ve got a perfect alliance working in the Ekurhuleni region, Gauteng region, but there could be better co-ordination.

There are major problems in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape with regards to the functioning of the alliance.

So all of those dynamics have got to be taken into account. You can’t encourage comrades and get comrades willingly to rebuild ANC structures if they are frustrated about the operations of the ANC. You have to resolve all of those related problems.

You can set targets for 10 000 new members, but if there is no co-ordination at the level of the alliance, if there is this purist approach on the part of the ANC in some branches to say, ‘if you come from the trade union movement, you are not regarded as an ANC member, you are regarded as coming from the trade union movement, here comes Cosatu’, that creates animosity.

The plan also calls for the design of material or a manual on the national democratic revolution (NDR), Cosatu 2015 Plan, the Freedom Charter and the SACP Medium Term Review. Also in the light of the forthcoming elections, shouldn’t we be using that as a launching pad to get people engaged in discussing the issues on the manifesto?

Those are two different processes. Simplifying the Freedom Charter (FC) and simplifying the SACP medium term review, create a better understanding of what the FC is for ordinary members. To what extent have we collectively as a democratic movement lived up to the aspirations of the FC?

It’s more relevant this year that we kick-start a discussion internally in the organisation, particularly when the ANC says 2005 is the year of the FC.

On the SACP Medium Term Review, we should be combining those documents with the 2015 plan, because it’s what congress resolved that we should do.

It’s an internal process where we should be meeting with the education department, publications and research to see how best we can facilitate those processes. We should be kick-starting this very soon internally in the organisation so that if our members are going to influence, (I don’t know if that’s going to happen) the development of the manifesto, at the very least, they have a sense of what is contained in the FC, 2015 Plan of the Federation and the SACP Mid Term Review.

Members should begin to discuss the draft declaration of the Alliance Summit. They may not necessarily agree with the contents. But I think it’s highly likely to influence what becomes the manifesto towards local government elections.

The second document they should discuss is the May 6, ‘Letter from the President’ that talks about some form of social corporatism. He suggests that arising out of the Growth and Development Summit, whether at local, provincial and national level, that we set up institutions that institutionalise social democracy and therefore corporatism.

The Letter raises a number of questions, questions that the President has indicated he intends responding to.

How do you think the manifesto will be drawn up?

The NGC is going to shape the ANC towards (its Conference in) 2007 and its direction towards 2009. There has been no proclamation with regards to when the local government elections will take place, precisely because the NGC is the timing!