Isaiah Maduna of Manyathi Local: “The congress went well. George Choshane was the regional secretary for a long time – 15 years – and did lots of good things, but now it’s time for a change.
We refrained from giving him a farewell because he contested our decision when we told him to step down.”
Leepile Khumalo of Dan Kubheka Local: “Unlike in other congresses, the focus in this congress was on elections and not organisational matters. and unlike in the national congress, where voting procedure is not debated, the show of hands made sure that no one goes against the position of the leadership.
We see this as part of a new tendency to prevent slates from voting their choice, and that’s not in the best interests of the union.
It’s personal vendettas versus quality. Unfortunately the new shopstewards were naïve and, therefore, could not make their own decisions.”
Vusumzi ‘Small’ Mtshengu of Makhudu Pheko Local: “Congress was very successful. There was a spirit of comradeship and we sang with one voice.
Congress was also interesting and tested levels of engagement of leadership and the character of some individuals.
There were no hard feelings; afterwards, relationships were intact despite our differences.
However, staff are more involved than shop stewards;they are the ones who were either too excited jumping, higher than shop stewards, or too sad, especially those who were in their comfort zones.”
Lucky Tshabalala of Fanie Molefe Local: “The congress was fine but tense, because due to the national leadership making the final decision, some comrades were not comfortable with the ‘show of hands’ method of voting.
Even the idea of secret ballot to determine voting was overlooked. Other than that, I would say it was normal.”
Tebogo Motloung of Ladlokova Local: “Congress was fine and normal; everything was done according to Numsa policy.”
Vusi Hlatshwayo, current deputy chairperson of Ekurhuleni: “There is no disunity, just differences of opinion. We differed over who must lead.
Anyone should support whatever slate they want, there’s no problem. Otherwise there’s no opposition among us. No one has won and no one has lost; Numsa has won.”
My view is that “free and fair” is a positive phrase emphasising a democratic process.
However if it results in hostility, squabbles and vindictiveness, it implies that the process was never “free and fair” but something else, hence it loses its positive meaning because of negative actions that have a bad impact on the union.
The union would like everyone to be united, as they were before, and to continue serving the union harmoniously.
As Martin Luther King said: “It is wrong … to hate because when you hate, your judgement becomes upside-down, you become like the person you hate.”