A. Main Tasks of the August 2012 Numsa CC
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) Central Committee (CC) met for the first time after the 9th Numsa National Congress from 27th to the 31st August 2012, at Birchwood Hotel, in Johannesburg.
Among the key tasks of the CC were to receive a composite and detailed report of the watershed NUMSA 9th National Congress, receive the reports of and evaluate both the African National Congress (ANC) National Policy Conference held in June 2012, and the South African Communist Party (SACP’s) 13th National Congress.
The CC dealt with the preparations for the COSATU’s 11th National Congress to take place from the 17th to 20th of September 2012.
In all this work, the CC was very mindful of the worsening global and national economic and social situation as well as the worsening conditions of the working class and rural poor, that ultimately in South Africa have led to the Marikana massacre.
The CC noted the undying persistence of Colonialism of a Special Type in South Africa post 1994, and the appalling conditions of poverty, mass unemployment and extreme levels of inequality among Black people in general and Africans in particular.
B. The NUMSA 2012 9th National Congress
The CC was in unison that our 9th National Congress was a resounding organisational and political success, characterised by high levels of unity, discipline and political maturity, all of which disappointed the forces of darkness who are working against the working class in general and NUMSA in particular.
The Congress, which was convened under the strategic theme “25 years of militant struggle for national liberation, decent jobs and for Socialism”, further displayed the growing influence of our more than 300 000 members in advancing, deepening and consolidating a radical and uninterrupted National Democratic Revolution (NDR) and the struggle for a Socialist South Africa.
The CC resolved that in the period leading up to the 10th National Congress of NUMSA, we shall work hard to achieve our target of 400 000 members.
This will obviously require that we retool the union.
C. The Marikana Massacre
As stated above, the CC met against the backdrop of a world in crisis, with the glaring manifestations of the inherent chronic failures of capitalism in our country and internationally, which are now firmly anchored in the heartland of capitalism itself – in the United States (US) and Western Europe.
This ugly reality of capitalist barbarity, combined with our untransformed colonial economy and society, has sharply worsened the conditions of the working class and the poor, as evidenced by daily violent service delivery protests in our communities, and growing dissenting voices against the system, demanding housing, water, food, decent jobs and free education for the working class and the poor.
The situation is socially and economically very traumatic among the millions of our youths who cannot find work.
This is the global and national context which explains the Marikana massacre – a worsening global and local capitalist economy which increasingly will resort to bloody violence to “discipline” the working class in order to defend its falling profits.
The CC expressed its deep and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the workers that perished in Marikana.
The CC condemned the intransigence and insensitivity of the mine bosses towards the mining workers, and the savage, cowardly actions and excessive force used by the police, which invariably led to the deaths of 44 workers, including the police massacre of 34. Many workers were injured.
The CC holds the view that organs of class rule, particularly the police, should not be used recklessly and violently to intervene in industrial disputes involving workers and bosses.
The CC was adamant that what happened in Marikana should be correctly understood, and must go down in our history as the first post-apartheid South African State massacre of the organised working class, in defence of the local and international mining bosses and their profits.
The CC called on the working class and poor not to be fooled and blinded by anyone, but to understand that in a capitalist state or class divided country like South Africa, the state will always act in the interests of the dominant class: the class that owns, control and commands the economy, political and social life.
This is, after all, the real reason for the existence of any state!
In the South African case, we understand the dominant capitalist class to be centred on the Minerals/Energy/Finance Complex and axis.
We are therefore not surprised that the post 1994 South African state and government – a state and government whose strategic task and real reason for existence is the defence and sustenance of the Minerals/Energy/Finance Complex – will do anything to defend the property rights and profits of this class, including slaughtering the working class.
While the CC supports the Commission of Inquiry as announced by the Head of State and leader of the African National Congress (ANC) Comrade Jacob Zuma, we believe that the Commission must act in the interest of uncovering the whole truth surrounding the unfortunate deaths of the 44 workers.
Anything short of this will render the Commission useless.
To safeguard the working class in this front of struggle, the Numsa Central Committee proposes that COSATU together with revolutionary formations of the working class constitute their own independent Commission of Inquiry, because going forward, the bourgeoisie and its apologists will in one way or the other use the Marikana tragedy to heighten the already active ideological and repressive offensive against the growing militancy of the working class at the point of production and in communities at large.
Our militancy is not borne out of our biological makeup, but is a result of the perpetual failures of the capitalist system to resolve the problems our class forces.
The Central Committee further calls for the suspension of the task force that executed the massacre.
The CC calls on the Commission to find out and make public who, between the Minister of Police and the National Police Commissioner, gave orders to shoot workers with live bullets when they peacefully assembled on that fateful mountain in Marikana.
NUMSA is extremely disgusted by this display of police brutality.
The actions of the police confirm that we have not, post 1994, transformed the Apartheid state and its violent machinery.
The actions of the police make a mockery of everything else we thought was transformed, including parliament.
By this singular act, the police have violently reminded us once again what Marx and Lenin taught us about the state: that it is always an organ of class rule and class oppression and that bourgeois democracy is nothing but the best political shell behind which the bourgeoisie hides its dictatorship.
The CC demands the dismissal of anyone in the police or in political office who led to the massacre of the workers.
No one can deny the most obvious fact: despite all the well intentioned government reforms to mining and mining rights, the Black working class on the mines are the most exploited, earn very little and live in squalor, while the mining bosses, both local and international, are reaping billions of dollars from our minerals.
Despite the reduced demand for platinum in Western Europe and the US, we know that the three platinum companies Lonmin, Implats and Anglo Platinum in the last five years have registered operating profits of more than R160 billion.
While manufacturing industry has had to settle for an average profit margin of 8%, the mining companies have averaged 29%.
In fact, in the boom years of 2006 to 2008, they averaged 41%. Their R160 billion profits would have built more than 3 million RDP houses.
Instead they leave their employees to an impoverished existence in shacks and then express shock and horror when those workers decide they have had enough and refuse to work until they receive a slightly less meagre salary.
The mining bosses are not fit to control the mineral wealth of our country.
NUMSA is convinced that unless the mineral wealth of our country is returned to the people as a whole, mining will continue to be characterised by violence against the working class either, through dangerous working conditions or from the bullets of the police in defence of the profits of the mining bosses.
We see no solution to the violence against workers on the mines apart from nationalisation in defence of the lives of all South Africans.
The CC called for the immediate release of all the arrested 259 Lonmin workers.
We condemn in the strongest terms, the inhuman treatment and violence meted out to the detained workers. We see no reason why bail is being denied them.
The CC condemns in the strongest terms the NPA’s prosecutorial strategy of charging the detained minors for the police murder of their fellow workers, and another five charges! We understand this devious strategy is designed simply to ensure that the trial of the detained workers will last a long time, during which they will be mentally, economically and socially punished and tortured.
The NPA has deployed the combined legal principles of common purpose and dolus enventualis to charge the 259 Lonmin workers with murder. Murder is a crime which requires the intention to kill.
Common purpose allows the prosecution of someone who was part of a group of people when a crime was committed, even if they didn’t commit it themselves.
So the NPA is suggesting that the Lonmin mineworkers are guilty of murder because they were part of a group present when murder was committed.
But it was their fellow workers who were murdered.
So the NPA is suggesting that these 259 Lonmin mineworkers gathered together intending the deaths of their fellow workers.
This is the most ludicrous charge. It is just another example of how the NPA seeks to delay the trial of the detained workers and thus punish them by prolonging their suffering at the hands of the state, in futility.
One need not be a lawyer to see that there is no rational, legal or moral basis for the use of these legal principles to accuse workers of murder because their fellow workers were killed by police in a riotous situation, triggered by the police, involving more than 3 000 people!
By this act, the NPA has further supplied us with proof of why we are informed all evidence of police bullets at the scene was erased overnight!
The callous insensitivity demonstrated by the NPA in this instance further confirms our view of the state and all its machinery – that it is a means for the oppression and suppression of the working class in favour of the mining bosses.
An important lesson from the Marikana massacre for the working class is that unity of the organised working class is sacrosanct.
Further, we all must do whatever it takes to ensure that we constantly promote that unity.
D. On re-nationalisation of SASOL
The CC has agreed to aggressively embark on a radical national campaign for the re-nationalisation of SASOL and Arcelor Mittal as strategic entities of the public, as part of resolving the deep-seated triple crisis of unemployment, poverty and deepening inequalities as confronted by the working class and the poor.
The central committee is particularly disturbed by the fact that Sasol continues to make exorbitant profits and has somehow avoided being held to account to share the responsibility of developing the country, rather than sucking every last cent in charging the maximum possible prices.
In 2007 Sasol was allowed by National Treasury to avoid paying a ‘windfall tax’, as it had made commitments to develop the petrochemicals sector, but NUMSA does not see any results from this; we only see empty promises and no comeback.
Sasol was also meant to increase production of liquid fuels, such as the Mafutha Project, but nothing concrete has been seen of this. Was Government sold a plan that Sasol knew could not happen?
A Task Team was set up by Minister Manuel in 2006 as a result of Sasol’s huge profits from making fuel from coal, when the international oil price was at record highs, to look at the windfall (huge) profits.
The Task Team made recommendations on taxation and also recommended stronger regulation of Sasol which was referred to the Minister of Minerals and Energy, but NUMSA can see no result from this.
Sasol has taken money out of the country to invest in countries such as China and Malaysia, where strong developmental states do not allow such profiteering and have strong regulations and state-owned companies.
In China Sasol has even written off R1billion which could have grown South African business.
Sasol has amongst the lowest costs in the world but continues to price fuel as if it is imported.
NUMSA notes that the current Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act has provisions to meet objectives of promoting employment and advancing the social and economic welfare of all South Africans.
The provisions (s26) empower the Minister to promote beneficiation of minerals, subject to terms and conditions as the Minister may determine.
Sasol makes its products from coal, which the country has in abundance, but how is government enforcing the provisions of the mining rights?
NUMSA demands to know what are the terms of the mining rights granted to Sasol and how they are being monitored.
NUMSA believes that Sasol cannot be complying with the terms of the existing mining legislation and that government should remove their rights.
A stark example is the case of polymer chemicals used for making plastic products.
These polymer chemicals are used by firms making plastic chairs, lunch boxes and components for motor vehicles amongst other commodities.
These are a critical part of growing manufacturing and creating jobs.
Despite the fact that Sasol produces so much of some of these polymer chemical products, it charges local firms a much higher price than when it sells to export customers, forcing companies to take manufacturing to other countries.
Instead of dealing with this issue directly, Government instead sent it to the Competition Commission in 2007.
The Competition Commission then referred the matter to the Competition Tribunal in 2010.
The case is now due to be heard in 2013, 6 years later, and then there are likely to be further appeals.
Cases taken by the Competition Commission in the early 2000s are still being appealed. The Commission cannot be used as an excuse for the state to duck its responsibility.
The Competition Commission has witnesses, firms which will increase local manufacturing, including bringing back production they are outsourcing to China, if this issue is addressed.
NUMSA does not believe this can wait; this is something that should be dealt with through direct measures.
The state has many possible measures including:
a. Regulation by NERSA of these key products made by Sasol.
b. Enforcement of the mining legislation, so that the objectives of the Act are met
c. Re-considering the windfall tax as Sasol has taken government for a ride
d. Implementing a tax regime on the extortionate resource rents on Sasol’s business without waiting for the decision to be made on other minerals.
e. Intervention through industrial policy measures such as export taxes, as used by China, to deter exporting the product that could be driving our industrialization.
f. Nationalisation of Sasol as a strategic asset.
At a time when everybody is talking of the need for shared growth, the contempt that Sasol has shown for this in practice needs to be addressed. We must not wait any longer. It is time to nationalize Sasol.
E. Ferrochrome Industry Crisis
The crisis facing the ferrochrome industry, and the solution that NUMSA is currently exploring, are informed by the following observations:
1. South Africa has about 80% of the world's chrome ore resources.
2. Chrome ore has been historically mined in South Africa to produce.
Ferrochrome, which in turn is primarily used in stainless steel production
3. Apart from Columbus Stainless, ferrochrome’s end-use markets are abroad, primarily US and Europe, but more recently China has become the biggest producer of stainless steel.
4. The South African ferrochrome industry is a mature sector with an important value chain (almost all inputs including capital goods and services manufactured in SA) contributing 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.
5. The ferrochrome industry’s market share has however declined from 50% to 35% in the last decade.
This loss in market share has been displaced to China, in a situation in which China has negligible chrome ore resources.
6. As a result, South African ferrochrome capacity has become a swing producer, operating at less than 60% capacity utilisation and is on the brink of deindustrialisation.
7. The crisis facing the South African chrome value chain is the result of two economic distortions:
a. Deteriorating competitiveness from higher input costs (largely the administered price of electricity) and a Chinese competitor playing with different rules (smaller furnaces with lower/zero environmental and safety compliance, 40% export tax on metallurgical coke and a differentiated cost of capital).
b. The double-digit growth in South African unbeneficiated chrome ore exports to China (SA is the leading exporter with 50% market share in traded ore to China).
The growth in volumes of SA ore exports is largely sponsored by a by-product produced by the Platinum Industry.
This has increased as the balance of that industry has moved towards mining a different reef with a different mineral content (UG2 reef more than the Merensky Reef that was previously more dominant) As this is a by-product, it has a minimal cost and large volumes can be brought into production relatively quickly.
8. The net result is that SA chrome ore is available to China more cheaply, improving China’s competitive advantage and consequently putting South Africa at a competitive disadvantage.
9. In order to address these distortions, the Industry (Business & Labour) has proposed the following 2-staged intervention:
a. The implementations of an R800 per tonne export levy on all SA metallurgical grade ore exports.
The view is that South African chrome ore, representing some 50% of the export market, is price inelastic and will be able to be passed onto the customer.
Notwithstanding, the Industry sees this as a short term intervention which must be reviewed every 3-6 months in order to assess its efficacy.
b. As highlighted in 7b above, the extraordinary growth of UG2 chrome ore exports from the platinum industry will have far-reaching consequences if not properly managed.
A medium to long term solution must focus on South Africa arresting this tendency to grow chrome ore exports in line with demand.
This will ensure that South Africa becomes a price setter and not a price taker.
In this regard, the Ferrochrome Industry commits to maximising the use of UG2 ores from the Platinum Industry and demands that the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Minerals and Resources intervene to require the Platinum Industry to enter into long term local beneficiation agreements and to curb ore exports in line with demand.
10. NUMSA has resolved to be directly involved in the engagements between the industry players, the Department of Minerals and Resources’ Beneficiation Directorate and the central committee called for an expedited process.
F. Serving Section 77 at NEDLAC
The NUMSA CC has spent some time pondering why the ANC government, having pursued for the past 18 years wrong, right-wing neo-liberal polices that have failed the country, persists in following the same disastrous, neoliberal path. We are concerned about the following:
1. Why are companies like Sasol allowed to destroy our manufacturing capability in the plastic industry?
2. Why does the ANC government allow our manufacturing base to be destroyed by imports, despite us having capacity to produce all the products that are flooding our market here in South Africa?
3. Why does the ANC government allow imperialism by a country like China which acts in the interest of its own people to extract our raw minerals like chrome and rob us of an opportunity to manufacture ferrochrome and create jobs?
4. Why is there this religious maintenance of the failed macro -economic policy, so called GEAR, whose framework was the failed Washington Consensus that has caused the ongoing global crisis of capitalism?
Today this rightwing agenda is globally discredited as it has failed the people of the globe and yet the ANC government continues to faithfully and blindly follow it.
5. GEAR and its toxic combination of inflation targeting, high interest rates, removal of exchange controls, low tariffs – all of them have been and are bad news for local manufacturing and industrialization, but they are allowed to continue.
6. On what basis did the government sell Eskom coal rights, an action that is directly responsible for us as a country having lost our competitive advantage; today companies, whether big or small, cannot afford the price of electricity!
7. There has been a stubborn refusal to nationalize the South African Reserve Bank because both the concerns of the National Treasury and the Reserve Bank are the interests of the Minerals/Energy/Finance Complex.
They make sure that they keep interest rates very high by continuously championing inflation-, privileging openly the dominant finance and mining sectors over industrial capital that creates jobs.
8. National Treasury continues to arrogantly refuse to ban exportation of scrap metal in the face of foundries that are closing as a result of this anomaly and also being destroyed by high electricity tariffs charged by both Eskom and municipalities.
This is obviously destroying many jobs in our country.
9. What is extremely disturbing is that the very architects of these failed policies have been allowed to plan for the country – the likes of Trevor Manuel are now directly responsible for the National Planning Commission – and have completely refused to deal with these fundamental issues because what matters is to protect their failed legacy and protect the interests of white monopoly capital so that Colonialism of a Special Type continues in our country.
10. The NUMSA CC has therefore resolved to serve a Section 77 Notice at NEDLAC: all four of our manufacturing sectors will embark on a rolling mass action in the form of a National strike and the target for such an industrial action will be the National Treasury and related government departments.
NUMSA will lobby all other COSATU unions in the manufacturing sector and the rest of the federation to join such a just action.
Because this action will be about the real future of young people in our country, NUMSA will call on all young people and the rest of the unemployed to join us in our action.
G. Public infrastructure spend on the locomotive and trains rolling stock
The CC welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Public Enterprises of the public infrastructure spend on the rolling stock to replace the current fleet of locomotives and trains to be delivered by Transnet and Prasa.
The CC of NUMSA has tasked the national leadership of NUMSA to engage with the leadership of this important public entity to ensure that the public spend on the rolling stock at the level of procurement must have at least 60% local content, in line with the government, labour and business local procurement accord.
The leadership of Transnet and PRASA must not make the same mistake that ESKOM made with Medupi; they must ensure that this opportunity to manufacture locally will not go to China.
H. Building unity within COSATU and 11th National Congress:
The CC noted with serious concerns the attempts by certain right-wing, opportunistic and demagogic forces from inside and outside the National Liberation Movement (NLM) who want to capture or liquidate the only reliable and trusted weapon of the working class, COSATU, for narrow political ends.
The CC was clear that the poisonous political attacks directed at the leadership collective of COSATU, particularly its General Secretary comrade Zwelinzima Vavi, is a continuation of a broader political offensive to silence and weaken COSATU for being the credible voice of the working class, amidst the deepening triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and deepening inequalities, rampant corruption ravaging both the public and private sectors, and high levels of dissent by our communities as evidenced by daily violent service delivery protests, mainly in working class and poor communities.
The CC was clear that the Cosatu Congress is a platform to deal with the strengths and weaknesses of the federation that include taking stock of the performance of the Cosatu leadership.
However, what NUMSA will not tolerate is a situation where the leadership of the federation is being criticised and attacked using allegations which were never raised in the tenure of their leadership.
COSATU has had regular Central Executive Committee meetings, so we do not expect to be surprised by a fury of allegations against the leadership of the federation.
Any such behaviour will be viewed as propaganda meant to discredit the leadership of the federation for opportunistic reasons.
The CC expressed its full support for the elected leadership of COSATU, and in particular its General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and called on all affiliates to use the COSATU 11th National Congress to forge maximum unity within the federation, emerge with a clear political and revolutionary programme to improve the conditions of workers, develop a clear programme for the Alliance as the strategic political centre of power, and build a strong, visible and revolutionary vanguard party of the working class – the SACP – to lead the struggle for Socialism.
I. On the ANC and its government
The CC had a frank and comradely engagement on the ANC and its government.
The CC noted that the ANC is dealing with serious challenges confronting our people in the country.
We debated robustly and asked ourselves a number of questions.
We came to the conclusion that without uprooting Colonialism of a Special Type which, historically has thrived on the mass poverty and unemployment of the majority of our people who are largely Black and African, and on extreme racial and gender inequalities and exploitation and oppression, the entire Liberation Movement in general, and the ANC in particular, risk being made history by the likes of the DA.
As NUMSA, while we appreciate that the ANC has resolved to take measures to deal with the triple crisis of Colonialism of a Special Type through what it is calling “The Second Phase of the Transition” of the National Democratic Revolution, we remain convinced more than ever before that what our country needs is a thorough going and radical National Democratic Revolution whose main aims must be about most resolute implementation of the Freedom Charter in total.
Numsa considers that only the achievement of the aims of the Freedom Charter will answer the pressing and immediate needs of the people and lay the indispensable basis for our advance to socialism.
The immediate needs of the immense majority of our people, who are Black in general and Africans in particular, and who are the key constituency of the African National Congress, can only be satisfied through the rapid development of our economy.
Central to that is popular control over vital sectors of the economy.
This calls for strengthening of the state sector in mining in particular, the urgent need to take control and ownership of our mineral resources and make sure that they are made available cheaply to downstream industries to champion manufacturing and industrialization.
We demand that the ANC government, on behalf of all the people of South Africa in general, and in order to accelerate the development and improvement in the wellbeing of the majority of our people, must take control of heavy industry, banks and all key strategic sectors of the economy like Sasol, Arcello-Mittal, the Reserve Bank, and break the back-bone of white monopoly capital which continues to trap our country in Colonization of a Special Type 18 years into our democracy.
Our message to the liberation alliance led by the ANC and the rest of the liberation forces constituted by the working class and youth of our country, and in defence of our rich history of struggle and our people, is that we must seek no permission from anyone but we must demand the implementation of the above radical revolutionary program and be ready to struggle for it.
Our country and the masses of our people have been left with absolutely no choice but to embark on service delivery protests.
Numsa calls on Cosatu and the youth of our country to mobilise our people and lead them on a rolling mass action for the implementation of the Freedom Charter by their own ANC government.
Numsa has taken this decision to call for a radical program because, whilst we continue to celebrate the 27 April 1994 political breakthrough, we remain convinced that the negotiated settlement at Codesa delivered a raw deal to the liberation alliance. It is now clear that we won political power without economic power.
A tiny white population today, led by Zille’s DA and FW de Klerk, secured for themselves in the constitution the property clause that ensured that they would remain owning and controlling the wealth of our country for ever.
They therefore set up the whole movement led by the ANC for failure because unless we fully implement the Freedom Charter and ensure that the basic wealth of our country is restored to the people as a whole, the ANC government (or any government for that matter) will not be able to deal with the triple crisis of poverty unemployment and inequality, which are the necessary and essential social conditions for Colonialism of a Special Type.
White monopoly capitalism in South Africa, and imperialist domination, cannot survive without first reducing to poverty millions of Black and African people, generating mass unemployment and creating extreme inequalities.
The failure by the liberation movement to appreciate the most obvious fact about post 1994 South Africa – that white capitalist domination and imperialist oppression are at the heart of the triple crisis and that nothing short of the complete implementation of the Freedom Charter can destroy both the domination and the triple crisis the majority of South Africans are suffering from – will inevitably and soon, lead to the loss of legitimacy of the liberation movement and the ANC, if this has not happened already.
We know that today, the DA and the likes of De Klerk are happy to see the liberation movement and the ANC crumble under the weight of the racial capitalist system they created for more than 360 years, and we know that they know very well that no amount of “growth” without “redistribution” of both wealth and productive capacity can break the racial domination and economic exploitation of the majority.
The DA must secretly laugh at our stupidity because they know that when they call for the so called youth wage subsidy, they are actually calling for a “basic profit grant” for business in South Africa, which is largely white and foreign owned. NUMSA rejects this devious inhumane demand with the contempt it deserves.
Numsa noted that the ANC Policy Conference was held under the radical slogan of a “Second Transition” that later became the “Second Phase of the Transition” calling for a radical program.
Six out of nine ANC provinces demanded nationalization of the key strategic sectors of the economy.
The ANC Policy Conference endorsed the demand for nationalisation.
It firmly endorsed the nationalization of the key strategic sectors of the economy, what can be called “commanding heights” of the economy.
What was extremely disturbing for Numsa was the open attempt by the leadership of the movement not to announce the majority decision taken by the branches of the ANC.
For Numsa such ambivalence was problematic because if the leadership of the movement is not democratic in championing majority decisions and subscribing to democratic centralism, for Numsa this is something that must be defeated as it could seriously compromise discipline in the organization, and destroy the organisation.
Noting the property class manipulation of internal democratic processes of the liberation movement, the CC was firm that we need a working class biased leadership of the ANC and a leadership collective that has the political will to implement the Freedom Charter.
Numsa is of the view that, within the reservoir of the alliance, we should be able to ensure that the ANC emerges with leadership that is rooted in the working class and that does not seek to change its liberation character.
The worst thing that we can do would be to allow a situation where the ANC n Mangaung is dominated by leadership that is rooted in the capitalist class; in South Africa today we have got enough right-wing political parties, including the DA.
J. On the SACP
The NUMSA Central Committee reflected very frankly about the consistent negative political posture of the SACP against Numsa as an organization and in particular its leadership.
Numsa CC was extremely annoyed by certain opportunistic stances taken by the leadership of the SACP in particular its General Secretary Comrade Blade Nzimande.
Comrade Nzimande came to Numsa’s 9th Congress and called on NUMSA not to raise the issue of deployment of SACP cadres in the state in public.
The NUMSA Central Committee rejected these double standards from leaders of the SACP who speak in fork tongues and accuse NUMSA of being populists who like to grandstand in front of the media and television; when the SACP launched its un-Marxist attack on NUMSA it was in full view of the media.
NUMSA is extremely disturbed by the fact that for almost the whole year the SACP leadership has been warning everybody about various tendencies that have engulfed COSATU unions, ranging from business unionists, demagogues, populists, anti- majoritarian liberal offensives, and so on.
We were all warned of these tendencies that have engulfed COSATU and its affiliates. Meanwhile, no affiliates or names of individuals have been mentioned and everybody has to go in search of warm bodies behind these tendencies.
We are all advised to look for these people who are very dangerous and whom the SACP has vowed to “defeat” because these people are the gravest danger and threat to the NDR.
Apparently these people are busy tiptoeing in the shadows.
However this now open and now hidden cheap strategy was exposed in the SACP Congress; the Report delivered by Comrade Blade Nzimande was very clear that the SACP has a good relationship with all COSATU unions but there was one union that was presented as a problem: NUMSA, and- in particular its leadership.
Numsa took exception to this attack. However we are quite clear now that singling out of Numsa is not neutral.
Its main political intention is to isolate NUMSA among other affiliates so that it must have absolutely no political influence, but also present its leadership as a problem with a view to isolate it from its constituency; the intention can only be to liquidate its organizational influence and its leadership.
Numsa further rejected the allegation that it seeks to position itself as a vanguard of the SACP resolutions.
However we plead guilty about using historic accumulation of revolutionary theory of the SACP as a guide to revolutionary praxis today, to militant working class action; we see ourselves as a union inspired by Marxism-Leninism; we are a red union; we see the Communist Party as a party of revolution not a party of reforms, a party in our view we are at liberty to democratically discuss and we refuse and reject to be banned from expressing ourselves on any matter, including discussing whether the issue of deploying leadership of the SACP in parliament strengthens our party.
As metalworkers we disdain to conceal our views about anything!
NUMSA stands firm on feet of steel that the SACP remains the property of the socialist and communist revolutionary South African working class.
It is not the property of some momentary leaders.
When we discuss its performance and its role in leading working class formations we cannot be told that the SACP is different to COSATU or a trade union.
NUMSA’s view is that such an approach is very Stalinist as it is blackmailing the labour movement into silence and it is condescending, patronising and it is an insult to our revolutionary consciousness.
It suggests that the mass formations of the working class are just empty containers, which must always await and accept to be filled by anything from up above in the vanguard.
Numsa rejects such a view and we maintain that Cosatu and NUMSA do not suffer any ideological confusion about the roles of COSATU and the SACP.
We maintain that the SACP needs to guard its revolutionary independence and autonomy by having its key leadership, such as the general secretaries, full time in office, all the time.
We maintain that the working class has a duty to safeguard the revolutionary independence and autonomy of the SACP, as the political insurance of the working class in the multi-class NDR, by having its key leadership, such as the general secretaries, full time in office, all the time and not immerse itself in the trappings of the capitalist state.
The CC hopes that the newly elected leadership of the SACP will respond positively to the call we have made consistently for more than 2 years to have an urgent bilateral engagement with the South African Communist Party (SACP) to deal with the ill-conceived perceptions that NUMSA is anti-SACP including its elected leadership.
K. On the NDP of the NPC
NUMSA notes that the National Planning Commission (NPC) has formally tabled before Parliament its National Development Plan (NDP).
NUMSA fully supports the critical analysis COSATU made of the NPC Diagnostic Report of the challenges confronting South Africa and their causes.
In that critique, COSATU noted that while the challenges facing South Africa were well captured, the Diagnostic Report failed to locate these within their historic causative factors, and instead resorted to identifying peripheral behavioural features of our Colonialism of a Special Type and assumed these to be the causes of our development challenges.
The NPC Diagnostic admitted that it “diagnosed symptoms” and failed to get to the underlying causes!
We note that the NDP, relying on the Diagnosis as it should, makes the same fundamental error: it transforms symptoms into causes and ignores the crucial fact of destroying the Colonialism of a Special Type which is the origin and continuing cause of the triple crisis of mass poverty, unemployment and extreme inequalities in South Africa today.
We see, therefore, that the NDP in its proposals on how to eradicate poverty, unemployment and inequalities in South Africa simply builds an illusion!
The NDP should simply have dusted off the Freedom Charter and demanded its full implementation.
Anything short of this is a defence of the continuation of Colonialism of A special Type and its Minerals/Energy/Finance Complex, and the White Complex it supports in South Africa.
NUMSA will be calling upon COSATU to continue to fight for the full implementation of the Freedom Charter, and to reject any sweet-coated policy proposals that merely serve to fool the working class and to protect the vested white capitalist and imperialist interests in South Africa.
We are happy to note that NUMSA actually has made a written submission to the NPC stating its views.
We repeat: there is no substitute to uprooting Colonialism of a Special Type in South Africa in order to resolve the development challenge.
L. On the political crisis facing Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality:
The CC raised its concern on the political challenges faced by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, particularly the holding hostage or kidnapping of senior ANC Councillors, led by Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile, by a mob of so-called ANC or supporters aligned to certain political leaders of the ANC in the Region.
The CC is fully aware that the political tensions in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality are a product of the chaotic ANC Regional Conference electoral outcomes, whereby those who were elected want to capture the NMBMM as a free tap for political patronage and self-enrichment at the expense of meeting the electoral promises made by the ANC in its election Manifesto to our communities.
Furthermore, these political tensions have triggered a political retaliation strategy by a particular dominant faction, since the Kabuso Report was released by NMBMM Executives, which has fingered a number of leaders for maladministration, fraud and embezzlement of public funds.
The CC called on the ANC, particularly the Office of the Secretary General Comrade Gwede Mantashe, to speedily act on the political challenges faced by NMBMM.
The CC was clear that if the ANC fails to deal with these challenges without nursing political egos of political individuals, we might soon find ourselves occupying the opposition benches in the Council Chambers.
If the following results in the 2011 local government elections are anything to go by, then our ANC in the Nelson Mandela Metro is in serious trouble (topped by the factional fights);
ANC – 51.9%
DA – 40.13%
Issued by NUMSA Central Committee (CC);
For more information contact;
Irvin Jim, Numsa General Secretary – 0731576384
Cedric Gina, President – 0836335381
Karl Cloete, Deputy General Secretary – 0833890777
Mphumzi Maqungo, National Treasurer – 0731592108
Andrew Chirwa, 1st Deputy President – 0733902121
Christine Olivier, 2nd Deputy President – 0737257748
Castro Ngobese, Spokesperson – 0836275197
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