ZR : Maybe this is an obvious question – but how you are feeling after being elected as Numsa national treasurer?
Mphumzi Maqungo: I’m happy that metalworkers have shown confidence in me, as you know that we have lots of people that have the capacity and potential to lead Numsa.
To be elected as the national treasurer is ndeed an honour.
ZR: What potential do you think other comrades have seen in you that drove them to elect you?
MM: Honestly speaking, I can’t tell what they have seen in me. All I know is that I’ve been a member of the NEC, CC and REC, which are higher structures in the union that deal with all issues that relate to finance and administration, and I’ve been consistent in dealing with all those issues.
ZR: What was your task in your former region, Eastern Cape, before you were elected national treasurer?
MM: I was elected a part-time shop steward in November 1999, and in 2000 until 2004 I was the plant secretary.
In 2004 I was also elected to be part of the negotiators in the auto sector, a position I still hold. In that year I was also elected an REC member, and in 2005 acting regional treasurer.
In November 2009 I replaced Wayile Zanoxolo, who was deployed to the Nelson Mandela Metro, when I was elected the acting regional secretary until March 2010.
ZR: What reforms do you think you can implement to improve the finance department?
MM: I think the union has a good financial record, though there will be changes in some areas because I have the duty of keeping what exists and building on it.
We will have to finalise our investment strategy to cut unnecessary expenses.
ZR: You’ve heard communist party leader Blade Nzimande saying people become corrupt immediately they sit on the resources, forgetting where they come from. Do you support this statement?
MM: From where I’m sitting I can’t say if that’s true or false because comrade Blade might have facts that prove what he says.
But as Numsa we have made sure that all our comrades who get deployed to various funds or institutions that deal with monetary issues, are capable of handling all resources and have the competency to come out clean.
ZR: How will your department contribute to reducing inequality, such as upgrading women in the union?
MM: As a union we are trying very hard to address inequalities ; we even have a department that deals with developing staff. If you recall, in the congress we agreed that someone must focus on women’s issues.
ZR: Who was your favourite guest at the congress?
MM: The two NIC guests from Mbuyiselo Ngwenda bursary.
As you know, we recently elected shop stewards who formed the majority of new delegates, and it was new to most of them that Numsa is offering bursaries to members and their children.
This makes me happy that there will be more bursary applications from now on.
ZR: What is your view about the congress?
MM: I’m happy with the manner in which delegates from various regions engaged, with more young workers articulating positions – it makes me happy because we are building a second layer of leadership in the union.
I’m also happy that the congress went smoothly and I’m confident that all delegates will be able to give clear reports in their workplaces.