Numsa 8th National Congress – setting the scene

Setting the Scene

Numsa Gambles on Emerald

Jenny Grice

For just four days from Monday October 13 to 16, the normally serene Emerald Casino Resort on the banks of the Vaal River was transformed into a haven for the ‘reds’.

More than 870 Numsa delegates and more than 200 invited guests gathered to debate resolutions and decide who will lead them for the next four years.Red and black 2-man high teardrop banners were the first signs that greeted visitors at the entrance that something was amiss at ‘Emerald’.

To the uninformed they seemed like the average corporate banner – that is until you read the words silk-screened on them! “Wathinta abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo!” proclaims one. Others shout out: “From each according to ability”, “Win and defend worker rights”.

And if that wasn’t enough, a conference hall-high red banner welcomed delegates outside the conference venue.Fortunately for avid casino-goers, the conference hall was situated just so that gamblers would be able to get to their tables and one-arm bandits without being thwarted by the ‘reds’.

And we were lucky, the ‘reds’ seemed to find congress so interesting that they warmed congress seats instead of wearing out their arms and burning their pockets in the casino.

Numsa 8th National Congress in numbers

R6m The amount of money spent on regional and local preparations for the Numsa congressR4m The amount of money spent on the actual congress at Emerald Casino262 800.

The number of members that belong to Numsa876 The number of voting delegates that were representing all Numsa members+- 200 The number of staff, international and local guests, media representatives that attended the conference(Note: Apart from some small sponsorships here and there, Numsa has funded 99% of the R10 million for congress and preparations that have taken place in the regions and locals. That’s your membership subscriptions that were used!)___________________________________

How were Numsa regions represented?

Total membership Delegates present Wits Central West 42 000 140 Ekurhuleni 42 300 141 Sedibeng 11 400 38 Hlanganani 36 900 116 Mpumalanga 17 700 59 KZN 37 500 125 Western Cape 27 600 92 Eastern Cape 39 600 132 Northern Cape 7 500

23 out of 25 

The ‘reds’ behaved!Bonga Ngwane

According to SAPS head Superintendent Iver, no report of unruly behaviour was displayed by any congress delegates.The 30-strong SAPS contingent (complete with sniffer dogs and mounted police) could not have done their work without the support of 30 Numsa marshals (18 bus marshals and 12 event marshals).

These marshals as well as the administrative support team worked tirelessly to make sure that everyone was fed, had congress documents, t-shirts and caps.

A diary of congress days:

Day 1 – Monday 13 October Congress got off to a good start on Day 1. By just after 10am, delegates were all seated dressed in the colours of a rainbow.

First vice president, Ben Khoza opened the congress and the credentials were adopted with 875 delegates from regions present.Speeches were given by president Mtutuzeli Tom, the minister of labour, Membathisi Mdladlana and the International Metalworkers Federation general secretary, Marcello Malentacchi.

Nominations for the new national office bearers were announced and these closed on Monday night.

Day 2 – Tuesday 14 OctoberTuesday October 14 was a day of speeches. Apart from a brief interlude from Numsa general secretary, Silumko Nondwangu taking delegates through his secretariat report and the National Treasurer touching on his treasurer’s report, JZ, Zwelinzima Vavi and Blade Nzimande delivered their speeches in quick succession.

Day 3 – Wednesday 15 OctoberCongress resolved on 11 political resolutions. Delegates voted whilst the congress was in session. Congress had agreed to continue work until 10pm.

But by the time the results were announced and comrades had given their acceptance speeches, the time was past 10pm. Congress then agreed to adjourn and to reconvene at 9am on day 4 of the congress.

Day 4 – Thursday 16 October After hectic celebrations on the last night, congress got off to a slow start at 10am on the final day. Delegates focused on the 28 organisational resolutions.

Congress agreed to defer:* organising and collective bargaining resolutions eg on strike fund, campaigns etc to a national organising and collective bargaining strategy conference in 2009* training and skills development resolutions to a national training strategy conference in 2009* socio-economic, constitutional amendments, international and other relevant organisational matters to a mini-national congress set for 2009* resolutions on organisational renewal, the demarcation of the Gauteng region, Numsa Investment Company, Numsa Mbuyiselo Ngwenda Bursary Fund and Doves were referred to the December 2008 Central Committee.

At 12 midday the newly elected President read out the Declaration and delivered his presidential speech to the delegates. Congress closed at 1.30pm with the national anthem and delegates boarded their transport home.


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