This is a special edition of our dearest publication, Numsa News.
I want to use it to thank you on behalf of the national office-bearers, the central committee and national executive committee.
From the bottom of my heart, I salute you for bestowing so much trust and responsibility on us since the eighth national congress in 2008 in the Sedibeng region.
A specific message to members of the CC, NEC and REC: between 2008 and 2012, you became a pillar of strength for us, the six national office-bearers, as we executed your mandate.
I must add my deepest gratitude for a very successful ninth national congress in Durban.
It was tragic that the first deputy president, Phil Bokaba, had a stroke during our first central committee meeting.
It is through his determination to complete, together with us, the mandate you gave us in Sedibeng that by the time we went to the mini-national congress, Phil was back as chairperson.
We are proud of him and I, like many comrades, have learnt a lot from him. I wish him all the best as he retires from active trade union leadership.
However, he must know that from time to time, we metalworkers will call on him to assist us when the need arises!
Philemon Shiburi attended his last congress in Durban.
He thanked metalworkers for everything that they have done for him. He will still be with us in Numsa through his new position in the union investment company.
We must support him as he executes our strategy of ensuring that our members enjoy maximum benefits while they are alive is realised sooner rather than later.
Comrades Shiburi and Bokaba received a standing ovation after their short, profound messages to the national congress.
The secretariat report showed, in no uncertain terms, that as a leadership collective we did our very best to implement the resolutions of the eighth national congress.
I am extremely proud of my collective that you privileged to lead our union with me, the youngest of the six, as a president.
I want to refer to a quotation that must inspire you in your journey as leaders of this union at different levels, which a friend of mine posted on her social network page recently: “If you have not failed, you have not lived.”
I declare that we, the national office-bearers, have lived.
We have no regrets as the collective. Thank you for the confidence you have shown us since 2008.
It is June now and very soon it will be December. This is a very busy year in our Alliance. When I said this at the Numsa CC last December it felt like this date would not come very soon.
I am satisfied that we managed to work non-stop, from the third quarter of last year up to the first day of congress. It was good that we achieved the goal of 300 000 members that we targeted for the ninth congress.
My many thanks to shop stewards, organisers, Numsa activists and every member that contributed to this milestone.
We have managed to increase the membership of our union in the midst of a global crisis of capitalism – a crisis that started in 2008 witjh attacks on the decent jobs of our people.
I urge you to continue recruiting because there are still thousands and thousands of unorganised metalworkers out there.
We believe that our campaigns will bear fruit for the working class. We are confident that the country and the world are watching our congress; we must ensure that we influence all our Alliance partners in their constitutional meetings this year.
I wish the ANC a successful policy conference and a successful 53rd national conference in December. I wish our beloved vanguard, the SACP, a successful 13th national congress in Ongoye (the University of Zululand).
I hope the spirit of young cadres that were brutally killed by Inkatha at the university will visit the congress and help to produce a path to socialism under the prevailing, friendly conditions at the level of state in our country.
They must, however, remind us to use Marxist-Leninist tools to navigate the journey towards a socialist Republic of South Africa.
I wish our federation, a successful congress in September. It has not been easy for us in the CEC.
The decision of love about the role of our vanguard, the SACP, tested the maturity and unity of the federation. I am confident that unity will prevail.
I am also encouraged by the latest posture of the SACP, pronounced succinctly by the general secretary, Blade Nzimande, in Umsebenzi Online in May, where he talked the about the left axis of the Alliance represented by Cosatu and the SACP and the importance of unity of Cosatu.
Simanxebanxeba siyinyunyane iNumsa. For the sake of unity, we will attempt to let go of the painful attacks. Phambili neNkongolo yeCosatu eqhakambisa ubumbano.
I also want to congratulate the ANC for its 100-years milestone and commend the year-long political education that we are receiving through the celebration of all the presidents of the ANC.
I must add that this congress of Numsa hopes that its policy outcomes will find resonance with the aspirations of hundreds of ANC delegates in both the policy and national conference. I wish the ANC every success this year and in the future.
In talking to the spirit of the departed comrades of the Ongoye massacre, I want to humbly suggest that the delegates engage on the unintended consequences of the medium-term vision, like the ones that made Cosatu, to persuade the vanguard to reconsider its deployment policy.
In Gramscian terms, a discussion must be taken to analyse the possibility of what I could call MTV2, which wouldsee elected general secretaries and provincial secretaries working full-time for the party and holding all deployed cadres in all spheres of society accountable through regular reports to the office of the general secretary.
I want to publicly welcome all the newly elected leaders of our union: shop stewards, members of the substructures, local office-bearers, REC members, bargaining representatives and trustees, NEC and CC members.
In this congress, we elected the six NOBs that will have the mammoth task of taking this union to a higher level. I want to thank you for the confidence you have shown me, Karl Cloete, Irvin Jim and Christine Olivier.
I also welcome the addition of Mphumzi Maqungo and Andrew Chirwa as additions to the collective.
I am aware that this is not an easy task, but I am comforted by the fact that many delegates sent by their members were guided by the preamble of our constitution, which calls on all of us to put aside our prejudices under the international slogan of the working class: “
From each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her needs”.
From all positions contested in 2008 to one position contested is a great improvement indeed.
We must thank Cde Shiburi for his mature decision to withdraw from the race. I wish to thank Phutas Tseki for standing for the position of first deputy president and send a message to him that he did nothing wrong – Numsa is democratic organisation.
Our uncontested election or re-election will not go to our heads. We promise to continue to be humble as we serve metalworkers. Let us all be humble, at all levels of our union, as we serve our beloved Numsa.
The unity of this union is sacrosanct. We
strive to work for it all the time.
Thank you once again for the privilege and confidence you have shown in us. Ningadinwa nangelinye ilanga.
Let us continue to build our union in order to achieve more than 350 000 members by the time we go to the tenth national congress in four years’ time.
Cedric Gina, Numsa president.