Numsa 8th National Congress – Numsa says farewell to its outgoing president

Metalworkers bid farewell to President Mtutuzeli Tom

Bonga Ngwane and Jenny Grice

“I’m short of words, I feel like a birthday boy,” said outgoing President Mtutuzeli Tom at an event to honour him and the late Vice President Vincent Mabuyakhulu at the Numsa 8th national congress.

He thanked Numsa for “making a human being out of a possible gangster or criminal and now I am standing here pampered with gifts for a job well done but with the help of others!”

He said he hoped that Numsa would remain united and focused for the betterment of the working class in South Africa.

Tom paid tribute to the late Vincent Mabuyakhulu, who together with Omar Gire and himself ran the Union when there were no full-time office bearers for a short period leading up to the 2000 congress.

He spoke of how while they were office bearers they had made decisions “that we knew would not make people happy” but Mabuyakhulu had been firm about implementing and defending those decisions.

The biography of Tom read out to delegates made it clear that he had sacrificed his family and had opted to take the metalworkers’ union as his second wife when he became president of the Union in 1992 just a year after marrying his wife, Ntombikayise.

This was confirmed by Tom himself who gave thanks to his wife for putting up with his love for the organisation! He said he hoped that metalworkers would remain united and focused for the betterment of the working class in South Africa.

Second vice president, Cedric Gina acknowledged Mabuyakhulu as being a doer not a talker when he talked of how development has flowed to the area where he lived.

Mabuyakhulu’s wife, accompanied by her son, said they felt honoured and happy that even though her husband has passed away, his legacy is still remembered and they are not alone in missing him.

The choir from the Sedibeng region sang songs to thank these leaders for their good work.Numsa gave gifts of Numsa blankets and giant gold-framed Numsa logos so they can be warmed by Numsa at night and see Numsa by day!

Song sung by Sedibeng choirHamba kahle Mtutuzeli TomSobuye sibonaneUyisebenzele iNumsa Sobuye sibonane

Go well Mtutuzeli TomYou have done a good jobIn Numsa and you will be Greatly missed by all of usTill we meet again

Hurricane voice Mtutuzeli Tom

Aubrey ka Saki

From the nurtured womb of Mother Nature,Him destined a voice of the toiling masses.Geared to uplift desired living standardsOf them that confined to nothingnessFor the voiceless millions to be recognisedAs biological offspring of Father Time.

Tall, lean, dark and mean to the punch,Carved from within starlight VirgoHim blessed with a premonition insight,To view unpleasantness from a distanceThus cautioned his membership from hazardsTo find clear directions from true guidance.

An outright leader of the working classMeant to unleash socialist venturesTo replace much-detested capitalism,'Cos them have-nots been too longSubjugated to hunger, famine, joblessnessThen led him them, to chants of revolution.

By the grace of God, a humanitarian,Given to surrender his one soulUnto the care of his young familyThem be groomed from dust and ashesAnd be stars that bright to shineThat his name be held in high esteem.

As leaders come, go or vanish, whilstOthers driven into political obscurity,By moral bankruptcy and corruptionHere's one wonder amongst society, withNo vile-strings attached to his recordOf such noted stature, 'cos him matured.

Cometh to the hungry ears of a lone poetThat long-time metal union president,To dare call it quits, leaving a vacuumFor some young lion to fill and try to fit,And remind future young cadres, of strongAnd black, hurricane voice Mtutuzeli Tom.

Aubrey ka Saki

Tribute to cde Mtutuzeli TomCity Bokaba

Halala cde Tom halala,Halala Mtutuzeli halalaYou led us through difficult times,You led us through happier times,You took us from the red to be a multimillion organisation which we are proud of.You became an emblem which we respected.

As you have now retired, let this not be the end of your leadership.Metalworkers will always look up to you as the leader that has stood the test of time.

Our wish as metalworkers is that the new leadership will walk in your footsteps. Siyabonga Mtura xabane o sebenzile Comrade Tom, our beloved President, "Aluta" you have served the metalworkers well, you made me especially proud to be part of this mighty Numsa.

May you continue a happy life wherever you go, we will surely miss you.Vanessa Le Roux, Western Cape


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