A. The October 2011 NEC
1. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) held a highly successful National Executive Committee (NEC) over the weekend of the 28 -until- 30 October 2011. The NEC was preceded by a two day Numsa National Jobs Summit.
2. The NEC received and discussed a comprehensive political report on the current national and international realities.
The NEC noted the worsening of the global economic crisis, especially in Europe and in the United Sates where sovereign debt threatens to throw the entire world economy and humanity into turmoil.
3. The NEC discussed the legislative processes currently taking place at NEDLAC in relation to Labour Laws Amendments and the crucial matter of the banning of labour brokers.
4. Lastly, the NEC discussed a detailed organizational report, and our forthcoming National Day of Action geared towards contesting the extremely reactionary and embedded neoliberal posture of the National Treasury which if not smashed, will reverse the Polokwane gains, and take us back to the era of the 1996 Class Project.
B. The NEC Secretariat Report
1. The NEC Secretariat Report made the case for the following strategic positions, which the NEC endorsed:
a. Banning of labour brokers.
b. Rejecting the youth wage subsidy.
c. A radical shift in the current macro economic framework.
d. Cutting of interest rates.
e. Bringing back of capital controls.
f. Weakening of the currency to favour manufacturing and national economic development.
g. Stopping of inflation targeting.
h. Banning of exportation of scrap metal.
i. Calling for cheap electrify tariffs both for companies and our communities
j. A call to increase tariffs to protect locally manufactured goods.
k. Promotion of localization by ensuring that both government and private sector procure local.
l. Nationalization of strategic companies like Arcello Mittal, Sasol, Banks, Mines and all monopoly industries.
m. Demand money to be made available to defend existing jobs and call on government to move decisively to intervene by creating jobs in the following areas :
I. Public works must have regional road Agency services that employ workers to construct road,
II. maintain road both tarred roads and gravel this could be both national and access road,
III. employ workers to build proper quality houses with proper infrastructure that include deciding moving away from the inferior RDP house we should be calling for a different type of houses including building flats and rented stock and our people can be organized as housing brigades.
IV. State led agricultural sector where government must give tractors and seeds and our people must be employed and be paid a living wage to cultivate the soil and government must promote farming with more meaningful incentives and ensure access to productive land
C. The centrality of working class leadership and unity in the current phase of our struggle
1. The political, socio economic and international Secretariat Report to the Numsa NEC traced back the Numsa political and ideological trajectory which had been developed since the October 2008 Numsa National Congress.
2. The Numsa NEC appreciated that Numsa has remained consistent and principled in its articulation of:
a. The need to advance a radical socialist oriented National Democratic Revolution by the ANC led Alliance;
b. The need to execute and campaign for the most resolute implementation of all aspects of the Freedom Charter by our ANC government thereby ensuring that the wealth of the country is returned to the people as a whole.
c. The need to place South Africa on a completely new growth path that breaks from the conservative and neo liberal paradigm of GEAR towards a redistributive macro and micro economic paradigm wherein industrialization is at the centre of the developmental state away from a casino type financial speculative economy.
d. The need for our ANC Government to demonstrate political will to break the cycle of deepening levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality which taken together make the triple crises which detains the poor and the working class in the apartheid wage gap and produces the widening gap between the rich and the poor in South Africa today.
3. The NEC had frank and honest discussions on the current poisonous national political climate in the current phase of our revolution geared towards achieving the goals of the NDR as encapsulated in the Freedom Charter.
4. The NEC expressed deep anxiety at the public postures of the two leading working class formations, the SACP and COSATU in relation to the Economic Freedom March, as organized and led by the ANC Youth League (ANCYL).
5. The NEC underscored the fact that at the core of the ANCYL march for Economic Freedom were our demands to shift the country into a new economic trajectory that would transfer the wealth of the country into the hands of the people of South Africa as a whole, as demanded by the Freedom Charter and the need to urgently confront the triple crisis of mass poverty, widespread national unemployment and extreme levels of inequality.
6. The NEC recorded that both COSATU and SACP have a collective responsibility to lead working class struggles, and advance the centrality of the role of the working class leadership of the NDR and the movement, including the leagues of the ANC.
7. The NEC warmly embraced the statement of the ANC through its National Working Committee in supporting the ANCYL march for economic freedom in our life time.
The ANC statement isolated the cheap political innuendoes and suspicions by some leaders of the formations of the ANC led Alliance that the march was organised to undermine the ANC government and the leadership of Comrade President Jacob Zuma.
8. The NEC raised concerns and caution to the liberation movement and our leaders, that we need to guard against narrow nationalism and factional defences of individual leaders, at the expense of addressing the serious and growing challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequalities ravaging our communities, particularly the working class and the poor.
9. Numsa’s NEC resolved that in the run up to the ANC Policy Conference in 2012 we would seek to influence the policy direction of the ANC through convening the following Numsa Policy Conferences in early 2012;
(a) A Numsa International Conference on Nationalisation and Worker Cooperatives
(b) A Numsa International Economic Indaba to talk to the a Left alternative to the barbarism of capitalism.
D. On the SACP and its vanguard role
1. The NEC made an impassioned and deep reflection on the persisting challenges and struggles faced by the working class in South Africa today.
2. In line with the 2011 Cosatu Central Committee Discussion Document on the subject, the NEC noted that the low visibility of the SACP in broader struggles of the working class is a challenge and requires urgent political intervention.
3. The NEC was unambiguously clear that the SACP remains the vanguard of the working class and its political insurance against capitalism and the true vanguard in our struggles for Socialism.
4. The NEC will soon request for a bilateral meeting with the SACP, with a view of sharing our ideological and political perspectives on the current phase of our revolution and the struggle for Socialism.
E. Potential to weaken and divide the federation in the current phase of class struggles in South Africa
1. The NEC took note of the possibilities for dividing and weakening Federation in the current phase of the NDR, and called for maximum vigilance among all affiliates of Cosatu to defend the unity and socialist revolutionary character of the federation
2. The NEC warned about the potential for similar political, ideological and administrative challenges the federation faced in the period leading up to Polokwane.
3. The NEC urged Cosatu and all its affiliates to spare no efforts in combating all divisive, factional and reactionary tendencies in Cosatu.
4. The NEC noted that the unity and cohesion of COSATU, ANC, SACP and all COSATU affiliated unions is sacrosanct. The NEC called for firm, principled leadership within our Federation, and for consistent Marxist-Leninist principled SACP leadership.
F. On the Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement by the Minister of Finance
1. The NEC carefully analysed and discussed the Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) presented by Minister of Finance Pravin Gordham.
2. The NEC is of the view that the MTBP Statement is not in sync with IPAP2 and governments own NGP. The MTBPS continues to be hamstrung by the persistent adherence to the narrow neoliberal macro-economic framework – GEAR. It does not create space and support for job creation and broad-based industrialization.
3. The NEC totally rejects the MTBPS in its current form and content. The NEC noted that the MTBPS is deeply rooted in the old and fatally discredited GEAR macro-economic framework.
G. National Day of Action to the National Treasury
1. During the course of next month, November 2011, we will be marching to the National Treasury against the over-valued currency of the Rand, dropping of inflation targeting and narrow economic policies pursued by National Treasury.
H. On the ongoing de-industrialization and loss of manufacturing capacity in South Africa
1. The NEC was preceded by a two day Jobs Summit. The Summit received presentations from leaders of industry, government, Cosatu, Nersa, Transnet, DTI, SEIFSA and from the President and General Secretary of Numsa.
2. The NEC is of the view that urgent radical measures need to be taken to reverse the de-industrialization and destruction of South Africa’s manufacturing capacity, both of which are leading contributors to the ongoing jobs bloodbath and the social catastrophe which is threatening peace and democracy in South Africa to day.
3. The NEC noted that the value of the Rand, unfair global trading environment especially with respect to cheap Chinese imports, lack of strong supporting government measurers for manufacturing and industrialization, poor regulatory environment for imports and absence of leadership in formulating and leading the implementation of a genuinely radical and new growth path, all have combined to worsen the prospects for manufacturing and job creation in South Africa.
4. The NEC noted the devastating effects of the escalating price of electricity on communities – especially rural and working class communities and the threat to economic security this poses.
The NEC confirmed the need for high level meetings between Nersa and Numsa NOBs, and the transmission of Numsa’s concerns in this regard to the President of the country.
5. The NEC noted the deepening crisis of inequality, unemployment and poverty in South Africa and the further worsening of this situation by the deepening global crisis of capitalism.
6. The NEC resolved that it will mobilize, together with Cosatu, to combat any efforts by the bosses to use the ongoing global crisis of capitalism and its impact on South Africa to dilute the already won rights of the working class in the workplace.
7. The NEC condemns in the strongest terms the demands by the bosses for workers to accept the lowering of wages, the suggestion by Treasury for a youth subsidy and all such similar evil devices against the working class.
8. The NEC affirmed the Numsa Jobs Summit position that together with the bosses, Numsa will be preparing presentation and suggestions to government and the President of the country for the re-industrialization and growing manufacturing of South Africa.
9. The NEC reiterated the demand for the abolition of labour brokering.
10. The NEC reaffirmed Numsa’s demand for the nationalisation, democratisation and socialisation of the commanding heights of the economy.
I. On Africa and Libya
1. The NEC strongly condemned the brutal assassination or execution of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi aided by NATO.
This clearly demonstrates that the invasion of Libya by NATO and its allies was more than imperialist economic interests or regime change, but was more about killing the anti-imperialist ideas of Gaddafi shared by the great majority of the poor and oppressed peoples of the world.
2. The NEC calls on our own South African government and the African Union (AU) to be an active player in Libya's full transition to democratic reforms, without any imperialist interference by US, France, Britannia and NATO. The Libyan transition to democratic reforms should be left in the hands of the Libyans and AU.
3. On other international matters, the Numsa NEC resolved that we must through Cosatu call for an Alliance International Policy Conference so that we may speak from one page on how imperialism seeks to re-colonize us. Our stances on Libya, Swaziland, etc must be from our historical perspectives.
Issued by: NUMSA National Executive Committee (NEC)
Irvin Jim, General Secretary – 073 157 6384
Cedric Gina, President – 083 633 5381
Karl Cloete, Deputy General Secretary – 083 389 0777
Castro Ngobese, National Spokesperson – 073 299 1595
Numsa Press Release