The countdown to the Numsa 8th National Congress – A workers' Parliament!

From October 13 to 16 2008, close to 1200 local delegates representing our nine regions will gather at the Emerald Casino Resort in Sedibeng to shape the future direction of metalworkers for the next four years.

We are honoured that Numsa Sedibeng will be hosting a Numsa National Congress for the first time.

The Vaal Triangle, now called Sedibeng, has a rich history of struggles against the apartheid regime.

Towards the 1994 democratic elections, the former regime unleashed its deadly weaponry in this region and hundreds of our people were killed.

We now return back to the Vaal to salute the heroes and heroines of our struggle for their determination to end racial and economic exploitation.

Congress provisionsThe Congress is subject to the following provisions of the Numsa constitution:Chapter 1 clause 6 (c)A National Congress consists of National Office Bearers and one shopsteward for every 300 members in a Local.

The General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary and Regional Secretaries and other staff as decided by the Central Committee shall also attend subject to Clause 6(c) (iv) of the constitution.

Chapter 6 clause 1Powers and duties(d) The powers and duties of the National Congress shall be:

(i) to make policy for the Union;(ii) to decide on resolutions submitted to the Congress by the regions and Central Committee;(iii) to consider and decide on reports presented to the Congress;(iv) to review and decide on the financial position and progress of the Union;(v) to nominate and elect:

1. the President;2. the First Vice-President;3. the Second Vice-President;4. the National Treasurer5. the General Secretary of the Union, and the Deputy General Secretary; and(vi) to amend the constitution; and (vii) to deal with any other matter which merits the attention of the Congress.

In the introduction to the Secretariat Report to the Numsa September 2004 National Congress, we quoted from Amilcar Cabral:“Our struggle is for our people, because its objective, its purpose is to satisfy their aspirations, dreams and desires; to lead a decent and worthy life, as all the people in the world want, to have peace in order to build progress in their land; to build happiness for their children.

We want everything we win in this struggle to belong to our people and we have to do our utmost to form an organisation such that even if some want to divert the conquests of the struggle to their own advantage, our people will not let them. This is very important.”

Secretariat reportWe have circulated to regions a detailed Secretariat Report for the 8th National Congress that reflects the work we have done in the last four years to realise what Cabral said.

The Secretariat Report to the 8th Numsa National Congress is divided into four sections.The first section deals with a detailed analysis of the political environment since the 7th Congress.

We present in the report the resolutions taken in that Congress, and what has happened since then in the political landscape.

This is an important section of the report that delegates to the Congress should read. In the recent past, politics have dominated much of our work in the trade union movement.

The second section deals with the state of Numsa and its constitutional structures. We are frank and robust in this section in dealing with the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation at this level.

We intend to provide a separate report to the 8th National Congress on the State of Organisation in regions.

The third section of the report deals with the socio-economic analysis in the country and globally. We also include the work done by Numsa Departments and Units.

This is another important section of the report that delegates in their regions should debate. The last section deals with the international environment and the work that Numsa has done to advance international solidarity.

Road-map to congressIn our recent Central Committee, we adopted a ‘Road Map’ of activities to lead us to Congress.

This ‘Road Map’ demands that locals and regions debate extensively the Secretariat Report to the Congress, and to formulate resolutions on the political environment, the State of our Organisation, the socio-economic environment and the international balance of forces.

Once regions have held their Regional Policy Workshops to formulate resolutions, a committee will meet to consider the resolutions submitted by regions.

These resolutions will then be combined as ‘composite resolutions’ to the 8th National Congress.

At the 8th National Congress, we will present the resolutions dealing with sections of the Secretariat Report.

The Congress will debate these resolutions, and once adopted, they will form part of the Programme of Action of the Union for the next four years.

Challenging timesThis 8th Numsa National Congress as the Secretariat Report alludes, is held at a time when the organisations of the working class, trade unions and all other formations in our country are going through a complex process of political and economic challenges.

The leader of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR), the ANC is faced with challenges that it has never anticipated since its formation in 1912.

None of us as trade unionists and as activists of our movement would have thought that comrades and revolutionaries, would act in a manner that ‘entrenches one another’ in separate and opposing camps in the same movement.

These camps in many instances are not shaped by any ideology nor politics, but are momentary struggles to assume power for its sake and not for the masses.

We are challenged as the most organised detachment of the working class, the trade union movement to emulate what Antonio Gramsci said:“To join a movement means to assume a part of the responsibility for the coming events……To discipline oneself is to make oneself independent and free.

Water is pure and free when it runs between two banks of a stream or river, not when it is dispersed chaotically on the soil.”

To conclude in Lenin’s words: “without revolutionary theory, there can be no real revolutionary movement.”

The Struggle Continues!Aluta Continua!


Numsa News