Numsa statement on the death of former Numsa president, Mtutuzeli Tom 28 August 2010
1. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) mourns the passing away of its former President Cde Mtutuzeli Tom. Cde Mtutuzeli Tom passed away last night, 27 August 2010, at St Dominic Hospital in East London.
2. Cde Tom passes away at the time where the workers are facing a serious onslaught and battle with the capitalist bosses over improved conditions of employment and decent wages. His departure is a sad blow to these ongoing battles for a living wage and sustainable livelihoods.
3. The workers and the marginalized poor are conscious of the fact that had Cde Tom not been in poor health he would have been in the forefront of these struggles for decent work and equitable distribution of income at the point of production.
4. We know that Cde Tom would not have not compromised workers' demands in the negotiations table; he would have spoken out against the leadership lacuna at the highest level of the State to end the ongoing violent public sector strike; we are fully aware that he would have been furious about the huge income gap that exists between a Director General in the public sector and a teacher; he would have deplored the stance taken by the people's government as led by his organization – the ANC – to unleash brutal force with an intention of muzzling workers' rights for legitimate and genuine demands; he would have been incensed by the accumulation interests and corruption within the ANC-led Alliance.
5. In Cde Tom, we have lost a leader, organizer, negotiator, educator and above all an organic intellectual of the revolution. Cde Tom remains a symbol of dual membership of the ANC-led Alliance – an Alliance forged and nourished through the selfless blood of workers and the downtrodden. Cde Tom belongs to a generation of the Cadres of the movement that knows that the ANC-led Alliance does not belong to the predatory elites and those obsessed with power and crass materialism. His death shall inject revolutionary morality and willingness amongst those who claim to be our leaders, to lead our movement with honesty and dignity.
6. As NUMSA we find solace in that Cde Tom will be in the capable hands of President Oliver Tambo, uMkhonto weSizwe Chief of Staff Joe Slovo, Trade Union martyr Vuyisile Mini and SACP General Secretary Chris Hani and many other greats in the land of the departed.
7. We send our sincere condolences to his family, friends, the ANC, COSATU, SACP and the entire mass democratic forces. Cde Tom is not gone, but he joins the immortal living on in ideas.
Issued by Irvin Jim, Numsa General Secretary
National Spokesperson – 073 299 1595
Numsa Press Release