Mpontshi David Modimoeng1953 – 2008As Numsa News went to print Mpontshi David Modimoeng, Hlanganani regional organiser, had just passed away after a short illness.

He had worked for Numsa for 25 years at the time he died. He was the first organiser of the Metal and Allied Workers Union (Mawu) in the Pretoria region together with Peter Dantjie.He joined Mawu in 1981 while working for Femco.

He was elected on to the liaison committee because the law did not recognise shop stewards' committees then. He was dismissed together with 180 other workers for going on strike.

During the time of his dismissal, Modimoeng was part of an organising campaign to organise workers into the union, especially Mawu in Brits. One of the first companies to join was B & S Engineering, a company that manufactured steel furniture. About 1000 workers joined.

These members were dismissed in 1982.Modimoeng bravely led the strike for over two years demanding their reinstatement. The company was forced to reinstate two years after a bitter struggle under conditions of repression.

This victory caused all metal-related companies to join Mawu, Naawu and other progressive trade unions. The struggle in the companies spilled over into communities especially Oukasie where it became the base for organising the whole region.

Modimoeng was also involved in the campaign to resist the removal of the Oukasie community to the nearby homeland.

As a leader of this campaign he became a target of the state security forces and other reactionary forcesKally Forrest who is writing a history of Numsa describes how "he returned home at midnight from a Bosch shopstewards report-back meeting.

Acutely conscious of four previous petrol bomb attacks on Brits Action Committee members, (he) placed a piece of corrugated iron across his front window. At 2pm on May 2 1986 a silent fist broke the window, removed the minimal protection and tossed a hand grenade through the window.

It killed his wife, Joyce, and badly injured Modimoeng.”This attack took place against the background of intensive struggles to demand union recognition, a living wage and better working conditions and community struggles against forced removals in Oukasie.

This was a time of defiance campaigns, mass consumer boycotts and stayaways. Even after this bomb attack Modimoeng remained a Numsa organiser and went on to organise other companies like Auto Cables, Siemens, Aberdare, Iscor and many others.

At the time he passed on he was responsible for coordinating the Union's organising and collective bargaining campaign activities all over the region from Pretoria, Rustenburg, Musina, Polokwane and many faraway places.

He was dearly loved by our members, especially in our rural industrial areas.He will be sadly missed within the Numsa community as a hard-working, reliable, trustworthy and committed comrade.

We salute the selfless revolutionary who died in pursuit of the workers' struggle!Hlokoza Motau

Assmang shop steward killed in front of his wife!He woke up on the morning of August 28 2008 not knowing that his days were numbered.

Mxolisi Ngwane (38), a full time shop steward at Assmang Cato Ridge woke up, picked up his wife Vumile Shange who was working night shift at Assmang Manganese and drove back home.Ngwane was preparing to go to Cato Ridge Country Club where the Assmang Inquiry was due to take place.

The killer knocked at the door while Ngwane was in the toilet. He was invited into the house smoking a cigarette. Ngwane asked him why he was smoking in his house and how he could help him.

The unknown man pulled out his gun and shot him several times. He died in his wife’s arms. Ngwane had been an active member of the ANC, SACP and Cosatu.

He is survived by his wife, six children and his parents.May his soul rest in peace, we promise him we will continue where he left off.Bonga Ngwane 

Mxolisi Ngwane

Update – Hendler and HartWorkers back at work but dispute not resolved…In Numsa News No 3 we reported on a strike at Hendler and Hart in Boksburg.

Workers went on strike after temporary workers were transferred to a labour broker. Workers demanded that those workers be brought back under the primary employer.

However the company refused. Workers agreed to suspend the strike while a solution was found.The Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) mediator found that the bargaining council had no jurisdiction over the issue of the transfer of employees since the issue was covered by the LRA and not the collective agreement.“Conditions are still bad, we are not happy,” say workers. “We are just coming to work.

We are prepared to go back on strike if the matter is not resolved.”As Numsa News went to print, the employer had refused an offer of arbitration to resolve the dispute. Numsa was busy drawing up papers to submit to the Labour Court.

STOP PRESSFord wants to retrench more than 700 workers

As Numsa News went to press, Ford Motor Company had announced its plans to retrench 705 workers – 220 at its Port Elizabeth plant and 485 at its Pretoria plant.
This represents more than 20% of Ford's workers in South Africa.Jobs will go almost immediately in Port Elizabeth because the production of Rocam engines is coming to an end.Retrenchments will take place more gradually in Pretoria.


Numsa News