Let the people speak

Let the people speak:Workers and shop stewards have their say on the 1995 constitution, the national democratic revolution (NDR), leaders, the pain of transformation and circumcision.

African crusadersWe accept the fact that the ANC is the country’s ruling party. But we are astonished that the same ANC is still not sure it is leading the government.From the leadership of Nelson Mandela, the 1995 constitution is a piece of unnecessary compromise and betrayal to the historical struggle of this country.

To mention a few examples: this country is still a satellite state for the West and Europe. Foreigners from these countries are occupying a large proportion of wealth of this country while blacks are confined to BEE.The Mandela 1995 constitution does allow whites to continue oppressing blacks economically.

And yet the ANC believes it will bring a better life to all. What we can see is that life is better for all whites but not for all blacks.The ANC has betrayed the black working class.

A no-work-no-pay policy was introduced by Mandela to please white employers, so what is the purpose of industrial action if the employer will not be squeezed financially?

The ANC is more lenient to America and Britain but less lenient to those on the African continent.

This embarrasses me a lot because I feel degraded as a black person. Why is this country still using a colonial name – “South Africa”? Why are we still using a colonial currency – “rand”? Why are we still using English as a medium of communication?

Cosatu and SACP are also subject to blame because they support the very system which undermines the value of a black person. Why should you strike against yourself while you are in control of the government?

Cosatu and SACP are on a mission to brainwash black people while they enjoy a lavish life with whites. Mandela must also be blamed for sympathising with whites more than his fellow blacks. Who benefits from this so-called reconciliation?Akafura Jobe

Workers and the National Democratic Revolution (NDR)It is the working class (not solely by wearing an overall or Umakaraba at work) together with the progressive minded sections of our community that will occupy or be in the forefront of our democratic revolution.

As you know the longest objective is to attain socialism. That is why the NDR needs working class ideology. The ANC as a Liberation Movement will always need class influences in each decision it takes.

If it does not, you will find out that it is led by former or hidden members of the SACP. Real communists do not boast; they work quietly or very closely or within the ANC to give clear direction to sharpen the decisions and resolutions of the ANC.

The communists’ underground responsibility is to educate people, ANC members in particular. They must lead the ANC and be able to advance the ideas of the SACP, not themselves or all of them to lead the movement.

Shopstewards think that if they are elected as shosptewards they will have a platform to move to management or into a higher position of the federation.

The agenda of the worker leaders is to engage the present government starting from local level to the top level objectively – Not suka wena ngena mina! Why do we engage? ANC is an omnibus. It is for everybody.

There is no ideological classification. We lack leaders today to change the motto of our lower structures so that we debate relevant issues of municipalities, provincial matters and national issues in order to influence all the government spheres.

If the working class leaders want to lead the ANC and government goodbye, then time will tell.S. Masimini

We need leaders like Chris HaniComrade Thembisile Hani said “the working class is the only key to the society and the machinery for the entire community.

But we need to be well organised and more united all the time; we must be more vibrant to confront the logic of the capitalists, I fought left and right to overthrow the apartheid government and put the ANC in power.

But I am not going to parliament. I will stay with the working class and monitor our democratic government led by the ANC. It must be clear that I won’t hesitate to lead marches against the ANC government as I did the apartheid government, if the ANC government do wrong things that are against the working class and the poor.”Long live the spirit of my hero comrade Chris Hani.

I will always remember your significant role that you played to free us from the oppressors. Long live the unity in our union in all the structures, we need comrades like Chris Hani not leaders that are pretending to be comrades not knowing very well that they are not comrades, but they are driven by hidden, narrow political agendas. Some are driven by personal gains but they don’t care about members.

Hence members are suffering the most. But the leaders are enjoying the luxurious life, dressing too expensively with some kick and bhobosa shoes, flying first class or business class when they are flying, drinking expensive whisky with our high exploiters.

We need leaders that put our needs as priority. We don’t want the leaders that have the biggest smile for the exploiters but a tired smile or even nothing to the members because we are poor and don’t have any whisky or anything to offer except our demands.

I hate leaders that are more radical towards the members but are softer towards our enemy. To me it’s a symbol of being a sell-out.I must appreciate to see that one of our comrades out of hundreds that left us and crossed the floor still remembers us.

I am talking about Zakhele Khumalo, the winner of the winning letter in Numsa News No 4. I thank also Mntungwa ka Bhulase and Mzilikazi ka Mashobane.

We fought very hard to see blacks in management so that we would be treated fairly and equally like other races.

But what is mesmerising us is that our products no longer regard themselves as blacks. They believe they are whites, they think God made mistakes by painting them as blacks.

Now they are struggling to prove to capital that they are whites or Indians with black skin and short hair, by doing whatever it takes to be loved, brushed on their shoulders, digging relationships from the management and trying very hard to oppress their own brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers.

We are being oppressed by our brothers and sisters that we fought for to get those positions. But now they are selling us out.

But we will always continue with our struggle.We must work hard to fight against all kinds of exploitation. Come 2010 we will not tolerate nonsense of capital and their Mickey Mouse with hidden agendas.

Numsa must stay firm with our mandates and challenge those wrong acts in Nedlac because it’s where we lose our rights. Bhekie G Dzanibe, Dunlop KZN (letter shortened)

Enough is enough – this dying must stop!

Year after year we count bodies of young, innocent initiates in South Africa dying in large numbers provoking widespread condemnation and calls to do away with the ritual which ushers boys into the world of responsible manhood.

It is an African tradition that goes back to time immemorial. It is time that trade union leaders moved beyond mere sloganeering to say with one voice – “Enough is enough!â€.

It will do no-one any good if people sweep this issue under the carpet because we are sympathetic to a particular gender.What is most frightening since the passing of these boys is that our leadership is not saying much about this.

Could it be that our leaders have been brainwashed? Could it be that the whole western world has opposed our initiation and circumcision practice? Could it be that our leaders are playing political games?

Do they expect life to go on as if nothing ghastly has happened?

The fact is that these boys are our kids! Just like any parent we would like to see our leadership making sure that the culprits are dealt with accordingly.

We expect the media and the leadership to show that this custom of circumcision has been denigrated by ignorant, arrogant many-mongers. It has been reduced to an exercise of merely cutting the foreskin and yet that is a minor aspect of the bigger picture.

But this is how the process should happen. In the African tradition, when an ingcibi (surgeon) is to operate on a boy, he is strictly required to observe rules of cleanliness, to abstain from physical wants such as sex to honour the rite.

The woman who prepared the food for the boy (umkhwetha) is obliged to do the same.When the boy has been circumcised, he is required not to drink any type of water except that mixed with ash.

He is not allowed to go anywhere near fire for the first seven days. That is regarded as most important in the healing process.

He is also taught a specific language of the forest whose terminology is loaded with respect for the mothers and fathers. They are instructed to run away or hide if an old woman crosses their path as a sign of respect.

The ikhangatha (the nurse) has to be knowledgeable. On approaching the umkhwetha he must know what type of plant is required to deal with the wound.

After three weeks to a month, the umkhwetha comes home. Umqombothi, feasts and dancing eulogies and cultural revival is involved in the process. The young man is taught the values of manhood.Vuyisile ka Fundakubi


Shop stewards should stand up when they are elected at the shop steward council. Because they are elected locally they decline having an interest at the higher level of the union.

Then if they lose that position, they come to the local and cause confusion locally and mislead some shop stewards.Our Numsa is not the same as before. Instead shop stewards are only concentrating on positions.

Whatever happens at factory level they don’t even defend workers but concentrate on their personal issues.We are now having position mongers in our union, not people that are going to serve workers or strengthen our union.

Even if they are being led by female office bearers, this thing of the ‘pull-me-down’ syndrome still prevails because you are a woman. Let us serve our members – leave the issue of positions.Ruth Nthabiseng Mhlongo

The conduct of striking workers

Before one can really prescribe how the workers on strike should behave themselves, there is terminology that we usually make use of to describe such a situation, but we need to define and comprehend such terms as:1. Was the strike militant?2. Was the strike violent?3. From where do we draw public opinion?

Firstly, we need to satisfy our description of what is a militant strike. How can a strike be militant without any substance of violence in it? Maybe we need to analyze even the description of the word strike, thereafter ask ourselves what is the mood of workers who are going on strike, and what triggers the workers to embark on a strike.

The second aspect of the striking workers is the violent one; where does one draw the line to say the strike was violent or not.

To a certain extent the strike itself has a connotation of violence in it because by embarking on a strike you are violating what is accepted as the norm, and bringing to awareness, in this case, a collective working class consciousness, which is not taken into consideration by the counterparts, the capitalists.

The third term is the deciding factor of the two above-mentioned questions which is public opinion. Where is public opinion drawn from? Is it from the community at large or the media? How do we get the maximum positive opinion of the public in the event of the striking workers?

What is generally taken as public opinion from the media is subject to bias. It serves a particular class. As a result the consciousness that has been established in a particular event can end up being lost or distorted in the media.

Comrades and compatriots, without condoning self-destruction, a strike is the only tool or weapon to conquer our counterparts finally with. How we implement a strike and how and what form the strike should take, I wish there could have been a fortune-teller to prescribe that.

As the working class, we need to restrict our striking action to the concept of furthering the aims and objectives of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) and draw our maximum positive public opinion there.

Also bear in mind that no NDR is a static political formation since it has to respond to the changing conditions and in this instance, it has to be persuaded beyond the point of the democratic breakthrough.ALUTA CONTINUA!!Joseph Molusi, Bellville Local Secretary

Guidelines for contributors:We welcome your responses to debates. When you send in your contribution please try and follow these guidelines:* offer readers new ideas, arguments or information* avoid making personal attacks – rather criticise a political position.

Substantiate your argument and give a constructive alternative.* back up statements that you make with examples to prove them* explain jargon – eg 1996 class project – different people understand jargon differently* be provocative but in a constructive manner* be gender sensitive, open and fair* try and keep your piece to 300 – 350 words so that more contributions can be included in Numsa News.Address your contributions to Numsa News, PO Box 260483, Excom 2023 or e-mail to jennyg@numsa.org.za or castron@numsa.org.za


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