The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) Ekurhuleni Region held a highly successful elective Regional Congress as from Saturday 21 April 2012 –until- Sunday 22 April 2012, at Bakerton Centre, Bakerton, Springs, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Gauteng province.
1. Growth of Numsa in Ekurhuleni Region
The Regional Congress was attended by 443 voting delegates representing a total membership of 51 197 drawn from all the sectors as organised by the union in the Ekurhuleni Region.
The Congress was held under the strategic theme “25 years of United, Militant Struggle for Decent Jobs and Better Service”.
8. Congress on Organisational Renewal within the Region:
This strategic theme is going to inform the political and organisational programme of the union within the overall programme of the union across the length and breadth of our country.
The Congress appreciated the growth of NUMSA in the Ekhuruleni Region.
The Congress attributed this significant growth of the union to the dedication and commitment of the regional leadership collective of serving the members selflessly building a militant revolutionary union.
This is a clear indication that the past four years NUMSA has been put on a new political pedestal in driving a clear programme since the last National Congress of NUMSA held in 2008.
This growth of NUMSA feeds correctly to the NUMSA Central Committee (CC) National Programme of Action (PoA) of achieving 300 000 as we approach our 9th National Congress to be held in June 2012, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
2. Context within which we convened the NUMSA Ekurhuleni Regional Congress:
This Congress was symbolic since it was taking place during the month of April which is regarded as a hero’s month by the Liberation Movement as a whole.
It was during this month that a heinous and evil deed was committed by two right-wingers who killed the most admired and trusted leader of the working class, comrade Chris Hani, and the shocking departure of the longest serving President of the ANC and the chief architecture of the demise of the fascist and apartheid system comrade Oliver Tambo.
The Congress received Messages of Support from the vanguard party of the working class, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the shield and spear of workers, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
The NUMSA General Secretary Comrade Irvin Jim presented an inspiring, unifying and ideologically informed message to this elective Regional Congress on behalf of the National Office Bearers (NOB’s).
The Congress was characterised by high levels of robust political engagements, unity and iron discipline.
This demonstrates the journey traversed by the collective leadership of building a vibrant, active, campaigning, focused and ideologically clear membership of the union as espoused by the late President of NUMSA comrade Mtutuzeli ‘Mthura’ Tom and General Secretary comrade Mbuyiselo Ngwenda.
The Regional Congress was taking place amidst the ongoing and titanic class battles being waged by the working class against the commodification of public roads, through the imposition of the e-tolls and the reluctance by those entrusted with political power located in the State to ban labour brokers, which both the SACP and COSATU have characterised as the worse form of human slavery.
The Congress was adamant that Labour Brokers should be banned by the ANC led government in line with the Freedom Charter and 2009 Electoral Manifesto commitments of the ANC-led Alliance to create decent jobs.
The Congress was also taking place within the context of the deepening crisis of Capitalism in the world over, particularly in imperialist countries such as United States of America (USA), Great Britain, Italy and Greece.
In our own country we are not insulated from these global realities or crisis of capitalism as permeated by the triple crisis of unemployment, poverty and growing income inequalities.
The South African crisis is compounded by the embedded neo-liberal economic reforms fostered and entrenched in the State initially championed by the 1996 class project and a continuation as driven by the national treasury.
The ANC, as a leader of the Alliance, has political duty and responsibility to execute its political mandate of achieving the strategic objectives and goals of the Freedom Charter.
The Congress noted that the failure by the ANC to diligently execute this political mandate will be pitting itself against the working class youth of our country languishing in squalor, poverty stricken and unemployed as represented by the Youth League and the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA).
3. Congress on the National Democratic Revolution (NDR):
The Congress was firm and resolute that the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) as led by the ANC, the SACP and COSATU is not on track given the triple crisis of unemployment, poverty and escalating inequalities as permeated by the neo-liberal economic reforms as advanced or pursued by the democratic government post the 1994 democratic breakthrough.
The Congress was firm that the Freedom Charter remains the relevant political programme to reverse these socio-economic pitfalls.
The Congress was in unison that the Freedom Charter should inform and shape the policy positions of the ANC-led Alliance government.
The Congress boldly re-affirmed its decision to swell the ranks of the ANC, as part of shaping or influencing the policy decisions and leadership outcomes of the ANC.
The Congress was clear that this decision was not ‘entryism’, but a conscious political decision of safeguarding the ANC as a working class biased liberation movement.
The Congress clearly states that the prominent role of the working class in the National Democratic Revolution, as a motive force and the only reliable force to take it to its logical conclusion, cannot be merely articulated on paper or conference declarations, but the working class should assume leadership positions in the ANC from Branches right up to the NEC.
4. Congress on the reactionary opposition in our country in their opportunistic posture and actions against our beloved ANC President Jacob Zuma:
The current tension between the ANC and the ANCYL need all cadres across the liberation alliance, to take full responsibility to unite the ANC and to unite the alliance.
If we do not have unity within the ANC, such disunity provides fertile ground for counter revolutionary forces such as the DA and COPE to occupy the space for the kind of offensive the DA has launched on President Zuma which represent an attack on the ANC and the Alliance as a whole.
It is in this regard that we must insist that the axis of our revolution being the working class and the working class youth must resist any differences within our ranks that can weaken and fragment our revolutionary Alliance led by the ANC.
The Congress took note of the anti-majoritarian character and opportunistic posture by the mouthpiece of white monopoly capital, the Democratic Alliance (DA), of using the organs of class rule (the courts) to undermine the political authority and leadership of the ANC in society, particularly directed towards President Jacob Zuma.
The actions by the DA to challenge the decision that was taken by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to drop corruption charges faced by the then ANC Deputy President comrade Jacob Zuma are part of a broader political strategy or underhand political tactic by the DA to capture the state in order to advance or protect the interests of white monopoly capital and apartheid past whites privileges.
The Congress remained convinced that the DA’s challenging and reviewal of the then acting Director of National Prosecuting Authority Advocate Mpshe’s decision to withdraw charges against President Zuma, it is mischievous and notorious because all over the world the decision not to prosecute is the sole discretion of the Prosecution Authority.
In fact this neo – liberal offensive is a declaration of war by the white monopoly capitalist class launching an attack on the ANC President Jacob Zuma.
The target is the whole movement and entire liberation alliance led by the ANC for the purpose of stigmatizing the ANC with a reactionary cheap politicking smelling victory over liberation forces in 2014.
The Regional Congress calls on the working class in our country to resist these counter revolutionary attempts by the ruling class represented by the DA.
5. Congress on the South African Communist Party (SACP):
The Congress committed itself in re-building our vanguard party of the working class, the SACP, to be rooted amongst popular class battles faced by the working class and the poor in factories, communities and internationally.
The Congress held a firm view that the SACP is the political insurance and guarantor for the struggle for Socialism in our country.
The Congress called on the SACP to play its vanguard role for the consolidation and deepening of an uninterrupted and radical socialist orientated National Democratic Revolution (NDR) to usher in a Socialist Republic of South Africa.
The Congress further called on the SACP to strive for maximum unity amongst the two leading working class formations at the helm of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the SACP itself.
6. Congress on COSATU struggles:
The Congress re-iterated its full support on the demonstrations, sit-ins, pickets and mass protests as called by our federation, COSATU, geared towards forcing the ANC-led government to scrap the e-tolls and for immediate total banner of labour brokers as demanded by the majority of workers in our country.
The Congress remained convinced that the e-tolls and Labour Brokers are contradictory to the shared and desired outcomes of the Freedom Charter.
The Congress assured COSATU that they will swamp the streets of our country to oppose the implementation of e-tolls on Gauteng Highways and immediate ban of Labour Brokers.
The Congress believed that mass power is the only tactic that can be unleashed by workers to force the state to concede to workers demands, as the workers did during the dastardly and violence prone apartheid era.
7. Congress on the surplus within the engineering retirement funds:
The Congress saluted the major victory scored by the union in securing the R27 Billion of pension and retirement funds surplus owed to engineering workers by the engineering ruling oligarchy as personified by Steel, Engineering Industry Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA). Over the past 10 years the union, has been in neck-and-tail battle with the engineering ruling oligarchy over these Billions owed to workers.
The Congress was pleased that the surplus is being dispensed to qualifying pensioners, former members and active members.
The Congress urged members to assist the union through their community involvement and participation in locating other deserving retired engineering, metal and related industry workers.
The Congress was unambiguous that the unity of purpose should become a central call to ensure that we provide proper service to metalworkers, democratic worker control and improved service of official to NUMSA members thereby ensuring organisational renewal.
The Regional Congress committed itself to intensify and mass roll-out of political and ideological education training premised on our Marxist Leninist orientation.
NUMSA as a revolutionary trade union must train its cadres such a way that they become all rounded activists, politically and organisationally.
These efforts must ensure that the NUMSAYD and GENDER structures becomes political schools for young workers, women and men in our metalworkers union as well as building a new cadre and second layer leadership.
Congress subscribes to the development of a new cadre that must be truthful, faithful to the organisation, loyal to its membership, fulfil any task given, overcome any difficulty and above all, defeat the enemy of the organisation and its members.
Congress resolves to overcome all theories of reactionaries which separate theory from practice.
8. Congress on collective bargaining and strikes in the past 4 years:
The Congress noted with appreciation the bravery of NUMSA Motor and Engineering members in Ekhuruleni when they fearlessly participated in NUMSA’s call for strike action in the motor, engineering and auto industry strikes.
The collective militancy and confidence of metalworkers produced improvements in conditions of employment and benefits including the phasing out of labour brokers.
The Congress condemned the police brutality which accompanied the 2011 Engineering strike as led by NUMSA.
The Congress was resolute that suppressive organs of the state, particularly the police should not be used recklessly to undermine or silence popular dissent using excessive force.
The Congress called on the Ministry of Police to respond to the many complaints lodged by our members against police of intimidation or threats during our highly successful strike for a living wage and sustainable livelihoods.
The Congress noted that the new and proposed Labour Law Amendments have a potential to reverse or liquidate the bargaining power of workers for better wages and improved conditions of employment.
The demands by government and business for a return to a compulsory ballot before a strike can commence, was rejected by workers.
The Congress was firm that this law is taking us back to apartheid era labour law regulations.
Jacob Xilongo, Regional Secretary – +2711 892 4554
Numsa Press Release