Locals: Putting our ears on rural ground

Karl Cloete When Western Cape regional office bearers (ROBs) heard rumours that poor service was leading some Numsa members in Beaufort West to consider joining forces with Truman Prince to establish a workers’ committee, we drove the 800 km to the rural town. Early in 2005, members in Beaufort West made it into Numsa News when they marched against an attorney called Wagenaar. This attorney was acting as a chairperson of most disciplinary hearings in the town. Almost all of these were resulting in Numsa members’ dismissals that relegated them to a life of poverty in a town already wracked by high unemployment. At this follow up meeting, the Numsa Beaufort West Town Committee under the leadership of Freddie Brand summonsed lawyer Wagenaar to explain to Numsa members why workers are slaughtered in disciplinary hearings. The conclusion of this truth commission was an agreement whereby Wagenaar would now use a Numsa-developed set of guidelines to ensure a hearing that was procedurally and substantively fair.On service delivery to members, the ROB instructed Brand and the local organiser based in George to submit a joint report by December 9. This report will be discussed by the local shop steward council and the ROB. It must show all the outstanding company complaints and how they will be resolved failing which the organiser will be disciplined and the Town Committee disbanded and control moved to the regional office.The visit to Beaufort West has reminded us that workers who join the Union in rural areas are members too and deserve the same attention as any other members near the Union’s offices.

Getting Johannesburg Central local back on trackJohannesburg Central Local is rebuilding itself after vacancies in its office bearer positions sent it off track. Liesbet Mohutsiwa spoke to organiser in the local, Jacob Adams (JA), and local chairperson, Jacob Mthimunye (JM).

What do you think of the performance of the local?JA: The running of the local on different levels has improved. But certain aspects have either deteriorated or stagnated.

How is the role of the chairperson?JA: Involvement by the chairperson is good. It shows that his role is not only to chair meetings and scold staff members. His involvement has helped to speed up the process of resolving workers’ problems and to remind staff of the tasks given to them and not to give staff and others demerits and thus score points for himself. So far he has proven himself to be a hands-on activist who is passionate about workers’ issues.

How is the local fairing?JM: Our local has just come out of a very painful period in terms of bi-elections. The good thing is that the local has spoken.We took 3-4 months to do what we were supposed to do immediately after those positions were left vacant in terms of the Union constitution. This created serious tensions in the local which divided the local into two – those who supported the bi-elections and those who were against them..

What do you think was the problem with the local?JM: Our local has suffered from tendencies that were not in its interest. These tendencies sought to favour individuals who are popular and use their positions to frustrate workers in favour of their personal egos.

How do you see things improving in the local?JM: My vision is for the local to build again from scratch. It must build all layers of leadership. This can only be achieved by using the preamble of our constitution as a guide in everything that we do.

Are you the winner of the Numsa survey? Congratulations to Xolani Patrick Nkwenkwezi from Total, Deal Party in Port Elizabeth. You have won a weekend for two at a Durban hotel. Thanks to all those that filled in the Numsa survey form. As one reader said: “Numsa News is just more than enough – it is good!”Because many of you said that you take Numsa News home to your family, we are introducing a new kids’ corner with prizes up for grabs. We had quite a few requests to run job vacancies in the newspaper. The difficulty is that Numsa News is only printed once every two months. By the time the vacancy is printed, the position has often already been filled. So unfortunately we cannot carry these. We will do our best to cover other issues that you say you want. These are just some of the ones mentioned that we do not already cover:

Increment calculations and percentage increases
Competitions – historical questions
Sport including sport at factories
Housing and electricity subsidy
History of our organisation
Problem solving techniques
Sport at factories
Regional offices contact numbers and faxes
Ordering catalogue for caps, t-shirts etc
Cover areas outside of main cities – please write in or phone us (see contact details on page 2) and tell us your story or your event and we will cover it.
Owinile ocwaningweni lweNumsa!Sihalalisela uXolani Patrick Nkwenkwezi ovela eTotal, Deal Party eBhayi. Uwine impelasonto yabantu ababili ehhotela eThekwini.Siyabonga kubo bonke labo abagcwalisa ifomu yocwaningo lweNumsa. Omunye umfundi wathi: “INumsa News ingaphezu kokwanela – inhle!” Ngenxa yalokho enisitshele khona, siqalisa ingxenye yezingane ehambisana nemiklomelo elindele ukuwinwa. Siye sathola nezicelo ezimbalwa zokuthi kube nezikhala zomsebenzi ephephandabeni. Kodwa asikwazi ukuzifaka. Siprinta njalo ezinyangeni ezimbili – ngesikhathi umsebenzi uprintwa, kusuke sekuqashiwe.Sizokwenza konke okusemandleni ukubhekela ezinye izindaba enithe niyazifuna.
Wenner van Numsa se Meningsopname!Geluk aan Xolani Patrick Nkwenkwezi van Total, Deal Party in Port Elizabeth. Jy het “˜n naweek vir twee by ‘n Durban hotel gewen. Ons dank aan almal wat die Numsa-Meningsopnamevorm ingevul het. Soos een leser gesíª het: “Numsa News is meer as net genoeg – dit is goed!”As gevolg van wat ons lesers vir ons gesíª het, stel ons nou “˜n kinderhoekie bekend met pryse om te wen. Ons het heelwat versoeke gekry om advertensies vir werk in die koerant te plaas. Ons kan dit nie doen nie. Ons druk slegs elke twee maande – teen die tyd dat die nuusbrief gedruk is, is daardie werk alreeds geneem.Ons sal ons bes doen om ander kwessies wat lesers aangevra het, te dek.
Mofenyi wa tekolo ya Numsa!Re lebohisa Xolani Patrick Nkwenkwezi ho tswa Total, Deal Party mane Port Elizabeth. O fentse moputso wa batho ba babedi ba tla qeta mafelo a beke hoteleng e nngwe mane Durban. Re leboha bohle ba ileng ba tlatsa diforomo tsa tekolo tsa Numsa. Jwalo ka ha e mong wa babadi a ile a re: “ha ho se fetang Numsa News – e molemo haholo!”Ka baka la seo le re bolelletseng sona, re tlilo qala kids’ corner e ntjha e tla ba le meputso e lokelwang ho hatjwa. Re na le dikopo tse mmalwa tsa hore re hlahise le dikgeo tsa mesebetsi koranteng ena. Empa re ke ke ra kgona ho etsa hona. Re hatisa feela ka mora kgwedi tse ding le tse ding tse pedi – e tla re ka nako eo re hatisang, sekgeo sa mosebetsi be se tlatsitswe.Re tla leka ka matla ho kenyelletsa ditaba tse ding tseo le itseng le a di batla.