Numsa DGS’ input to the National Motor Shopstewards Council(NSSC)



On behalf of the National Office Bearers we wish to extend revolutionary greetings to this important meeting of our cadres, activists and leadership in the Motor Sector of the South African Economy.

In this important meeting we wish to address the following matters, hoping that it shall assist in your deliberations;

1. Tracing our steps back to the November 2011 and July 2012 national motor meetings held in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg respectively – How far have we travelled?

2. Within which political, socio economic and organisational context are we meeting in November 2012?

3. What is to be done as we prepare for the 2013 collective bargaining season?

We hope that in these 3 areas of our input, this meeting shall be able to chart a clear way forward with clear deadlines for implementation.

1. Tracing our steps back to the November 2011 and July 2012 national motor meetings held in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg respectively – How far have we travelled?

I had an opportunity to speak to you when I addressed a strategic national motor sector meeting in Port Elizabeth on 7 November 2011 and a Motor NSSC on 18th July 2012.

It would be important to verify in this important meeting whether the challenges we have raised in those meetings have been attended to.

Just to recap, the following challenges were some of the issues we raised in these two meetings with a plea that we must be focussed on implementation;

7. November 2011 – Port Elizabeth:

1) The Sector Coordinator must consolidate this outcome and send to the Secretariat – Our records shows that the National Motor Sector Coordinator has executed this task

2) The Motor National Shop Stewards Council and the Organising Strategy Conference must discuss these outcomes to develop an implementation Plan – Insofar as we know the outcome of the PE Motor meeting was deliberated upon in the Motor NSSC as well as the Organising Strategy Conference however the extent to which we have given organisational expression to the plans we made has to be assessed.

3) The Sector Coordinator and RMO must drat budgets for Regional Motor Conferences – It would be important for the meeting to establish whether we have developed budgets so that Numsa Rural Motor Conferences could be convened.

As we said before all Numsa members irrespective urban or rural based must have access to quality service hence the idea of convening Numsa Rural Motor Conferences so that our members can speak to us about the service or lack thereof.

4) Regions must develop structures as ways to understand the Motor Sector – The Numsa National Organising Strategy talks about area committees as an important to organise and service motor workers. Regions should account what they have done in this regard.

5) The Union must initiate an urgent high level meeting with MIBCO senior management – One meeting took place which unfortunately excluded the DGS due to other organisational obligations.

This meeting went a long way to address some of our issues including how our subscriptions are received and paid over to Numsa.

6) We must demand a Forensic Audit of MIBCO Finance & IT and call for the MIBCO Financial Statements not to be adopted.

Resolution presented at the MIBCO AGM on 10 November 2011 – Comrade Elias have reported that the AGM did not completely resolve on our resolution but instead favoured a the high level meeting to get to the bottom of Numsa’s subscription queries.

We shall have to assess whether we have made sufficient progress with MIBCO and whether a forensic investigation is still required.

7) There must be an urgent training of Regional Office Bearers and Regional Teams on Mems & MIBCO Systems for the purpose of monitoring and management – This matter was delayed until after the Numsa 9th National Congress. We shall in due course issue a directive.

8) NUMSA must develop an sms facility to communicate with members and shop stewards quickly and regularly – This proposal is in the pipe line.

Our immediate preoccupation is to ensure that all Numsa Locals across the country has access to the Numsa email network.

9) Cdes. Neil, Helen, Neo and Reggie (Membership Cards Task Team) must fast-track the cards issuing roll-out – There are some technical information to be added by POWERNET so that roll out can happen. Progress shall be reported to the next Central Committee.

10) All Regional Secretaries must receive the MIBCO Regional Council Agendas and must be linked to the MIBCO Mailing list – We shall have to ask the National Motor Sector Coordinator whether this was implemented.

11) The Retooling of Organisers process must involve all office bearers and staff at all levels and offices – Work in Progress

12) Roger Piedt must circulate the current Sector 6 Organisational Rights Agreements of McCarthy, Sandown Motors and Unitrans – A status report is required from Comrade Roger Piedt.

13) The debate on the subscriptions ceiling or flat rate for high income earners must be sharpened , taking into account our Constitution’s Preamble & working class agenda and solidarity principles – We have a resolution from National Congress that we proceed in terms of the status quo however the Central Committee was tasked to give further attention to the matter.

14) Taking note of the MISA poaching of our members through employers, pro- forma resignation letter, the Sector Coordinator must develop an aggressive response – We would be keen to learn from Comrade Elias and Annie whether we have gotten to the bottom of this unacceptable practice

15) Cdes Sandra & Bafana must develop Sectoral Recruitment pamphlets stating our gains/ successes on one side and Joining form on flipside – Speaking under correction, as far as we know this work has not been taken forward as agreed.

We should ask Comrade George Choshane who is the new Numsa National Organising and Campaigns Coordinator to work with Sandra to undertake this work.

16) RMOs must be fully focused on Motor Sector Organisational Development (Quantity & Capacity Quality – This was agreed by the NEC and CC’s where the issues were raised.

We shall have to hear from this meeting what the situation is now so that we may get the next CC to impress the urgency and need to execute this all important decision.

17) The 1: 3 500 Organiser to members Ratio will yield additional 26 Organisers to be employed. Their induction and capacity must optimize our majority hegemony, activist shop stewards and membership – Work in Progress

18) Membership Unit must attend all NSSC meetings. The same must apply with RMSSCs – The OCCB and RMO’s must offer a report on the implementation of this decision

19) All Regions must have their full complement of Administrative staff. Secretariat will verify whether 2008 National Congress adopted position of Regional Motor Membership Administrator – Work in progress

18 July 2012 meeting in Johannesburg:

In this meeting we highlighted the following issues as critically important for the Motor NSSC to take forward.

1) Ensure that MIBCO account and pay-over to NUMSA all subscriptions paid by our members – including an investigation into the many millions of rand in subscription that is unaccounted for

2) Increasing membership particularly amongst the non-unionised workers within the motor sector

3) Put in place mechanisms that would service and build strong organisation in the outlying/rural areas

4) Confronting the logic of motor employers in respect of industry challenges through the Industry Policy Forum (IPF)

5) Positioning ourselves for collective bargaining in 2013 such that we achieve our long standing demand for increases on actuals and to deliver to all members irrespective which sector a living wage with particularly reference to vehicle dealership, component and garage workers in the industry. Equally we must deliver better conditions of employment and benefits.

We are we reminding you of what we had spoken about earlier so that we audit whether we have succeeded in the area of implementation. It would be important for this NSSC to look closely at the following issues;

1. The August 2012 Central Committee took a resolution that we should be 400 000 Numsa members when we go to the 10th National Congress in 2016. This is what we have in the motor sector as at the end of October 2012.

Region Employers Employees Misa Members Numsa Members Total Numsa Membership Non Union
EASTERN CAPE 1 414 28 027 2 580 11 609 11 681 13 800
EKURHULENI REGION 1 699 26 217 2 639 5 376 5 466 18 159
HLANGANANI REGION 3 727 53 722 4 431 10 738 11 079 38 525
JC BEZUIDENHOUT REGION 3 645 50 485 6 311 9 138 9 304 34 978
KZN REGION 3 646 48 902 3 281 12 729 12 898 32 821
MPUMALANGA REGION 1 389 16 736 2 047 3 686 3 765 10 981
NORTHERN CAPE REGION 1 949 19 566 3 709 4 399 4 526 11 428
SEDIBEG REGION 1 392 11 463 1 480 1 579 1 792 8 392
WESTERN CAPE REGION 3 168 36 684 4 747 8 985 9 169 22 875
Report Totals 22 029 291 802 31 225 68 239 69 680 191 959

We must say what must be our regional programmes to work towards the achievement of the 400 000 membership target.

2. Are we in an organisational position to bring about fundamental change in the conditions of employment, wages and benefits for motor sector workers with particular reference to component manufacturing, vehicle dealerships, etc?

3. Are we confident that we shall make headway in the negotiations to achieve a new wage model for the motor industry?

4. Are we making progress with the issues that we have referred to the Industry Policy Forum (IPF) so as to transform the motor industry to create decent jobs, address the Apartheid Wage Gap, improve and accelerate skills training and development, etc.

5. What are we doing to transform the retirement fund (MIFA) and benefit fund (Motohealth) to ensure that it serves the best interest of workers. This must include how far we have travelled to ensure the distribution of surplus.

We trust that this NSSC shall add to the list of issues and find concrete programs and implementation plans.

2. Within which political, socio economic and organisational context are we meeting in November 2012?

The following submission is premised on the discussions and decisions of the October 2012 Numsa NEC.

“The South African capitalist state did not emerge as a result of an internal popular anti-feudal revolution. It was imposed from above and from without. From its birth through to the present, South African capitalism has depended heavily on the imperialist centres.

Capital from Europe financed the opening of the mines. It was the colonial state that provided the resources to build the basic infrastructure – railways, roads, harbours, posts and telegraphs.

It was an imperial army of occupation that created the conditions for political unification. And it was within a colonial setting that the emerging South African capitalist class entrenched and extended the racially exclusive system to increase its opportunities for profit.

The racial division of labour, the battery of racist laws and political exclusiveness guaranteed this. From these origins a pattern of domination, which arose in the period of external colonialism, was carried over into the newly-formed Union of South Africa.

From its origins to the present, this form of domination has been maintained under changing conditions and by varying mechanisms. In all essential respects, however, the colonial status of the black majority has remained in place. Therefore we characterise our society as colonialism of a special type.”
(SACP, 1989)

A. State of the Organisation

The NEC noted, among other organisational aspects, the following:

a. We have witnessed the sustenance and steady growth of the Union over the past 12 months, with membership standing at well over the 300 000 mark.

b. The excellent performance of NUMSA delegates in the very successful 11th Cosatu National Congress.

c. The NUMSA National Office Bearers have gone through a thorough post NUMSA National Congress Strategic Planning Retreat, and as such a Draft NUMSA Four Year Strategic Plan has been produced for finalisation in Numsa’s November 2012 Central Committee.

d. Steady progress in implementing organisational renewal and changes as demanded by the Numsa National Congress.

e. The Union is gearing itself to prepare and meet the collective bargaining challenges of 2013 in key sectors of the South African economy (namely Auto, Tyre, Motor, Engineering, Eskom and other House Agreement Companies).

f. Numsa is leaving no stone unturned in respect of implementing the revolutionary demands of the post NUMSA National Congress and the Cosatu 11th National Congress, including the matter of serving a Section 77 Notice at NEDLAC and the proposed national industrial action in support of:

i. the dismissed and striking mine workers,

ii. the banning of labour brokers,

iii. the stopping of e-tolls on our roads,

iv. the struggle for a national minimum wage,

v. the struggle for a living wage,

vi. implementation of the Local Content Accord,

vii. the struggle for the re-industrialisation of South Africa and decent job creation on a mass scale,

viii. the escalating and unaffordable electricity prices,

ix. the abandoning of neoliberal policies by National Treasurer,

x. the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank

xi. nationalisation of the strategic sectors of the economy, and

xii. the full implementation of the Freedom Charter, among other demands.

g. The NEC tasked the National Office Bearers (NOBs) to consolidate the Programme of Action and the Section 77 Demands in such a way that there is clear synergy between the demand for the reinstatement of dismissed mineworkers and achieving the demands of the Freedom Charter as crystallised in the Cosatu S77 application.

In this regard the NEC mandated NOB’s to go all out in mobilising metalworkers behind the dismissed and struggling mineworkers.

Numsa understand this struggle as being in line with the ANC’s National Policy Conference resolution which calls for a radical second phase of the National Democratic Revolution to bring about fundamental transformation of the South African economy which is redistributive in nature.

B. The global and national contexts of our times:

The NEC noted the worsening crisis of global capitalism. It is clear that the United States, Western Europe and the big economies of Asia are all in deep crisis. This crisis of course is affecting the rest of the world.

For the working class, the system of capitalism guarantees them a life of permanent crisis, as they can live only when their labour is bought! They are always paid a tiny fraction of their labour power.

Capitalism expropriates the bulk of their labour power, and converts it into profits for themselves.

For the working class, it is not important whether the system of wage slavery called capitalism is doing well or not – they still suffer exploitation and oppression at the hands of the bosses.

Everywhere we look today there are glaring manifestations of the inherent chronic failures of capitalism in our country and everywhere in the world.

These signs of disastrous failure are now firmly anchored in the heartland of capitalism itself – in the United States (US) and Western Europe.

The world is clearly in the vicious grip of the last gasps of US and Western European inspired capitalism.

In South Africa, the crisis of the global capitalist system simply makes worse the already existing crisis of Colonialism of a Special Type.

NUMSA maintains that this is the global and national context which explains the Marikana massacre – a deteriorating 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 just released Census 2011 for South Africa has confirmed our socio-economic analysis and the horrible conditions of the black working class in general, and African working class in particular.

C. The miners’ strike, the Marikana workers massacre and the threat to the unity of the working class in South Africa

The NEC recognised the grave dangers to the unity of the working class in South Africa, especially among the Black and African working class, post the Marikana massacre.

In this regard, the NEC cautioned against erroneously labelling striking and dismissed miners, irrespective of the trade union formation that may or may not be organising them, as counter-revolutionaries.

More than at any other time in the post 1994 period in South Africa, the revolutionary unity of ALL the South African workers is sacrosanct in order to face the grave threat to their lives from a crisis ridden national and global capitalist onslaught on the working class.

This has never been so urgent. A divided, fractured, disorganised and disunited South African working class is just what both local and imperialist capitalists are praying for, everyday!

The NUMSA NEC strongly advises, especially formations of the broad Liberation Movement, to stop loosely labelling sections of the working class “counter-revolutionary” as this is not only analytically and ideologically wrong from a working class perspective, but it simply serves to dangerously and violently divide the working class at a time when their combined might and their revolutionary unity is urgently needed to survive and defeat a rotten national and global capitalist system.

NUMSA fully supports the demands of the striking miners. The continuing low colonial wages in the mines for Black and African workers simply serve to confirm the urgent need to nationalise all strategic mines.

Clearly, the massive mineral wealth of this country cannot continue to be syphoned off to Europe and the United States while leaving the bulk of the South African working class in extreme poverty, even when they are employed in the mines!

NUMSA will continue to consistently demand that ALL dismissed miners who were on unprotected strikes must be re-instated in their jobs unconditionally, and without delay.

D. NUMSA and the 2012 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS)

At NUMSA we have consistently maintained that the failure to transform South Africa’s economy and society from Colonialism of a Special Type into a truly democratic and egalitarian society as properly captured in the Freedom Charter means that no amount of reformist tinkering with any variables of the economy and society will lead to any meaningful transformation of South Africa in the best interests of all its people.

NUMSA has consistently demanded for the full implementation of the Freedom Charter, as the only road map to a truly free South Africa.

At NUMSA we have maintained that as long as the twin evils of foreign, imperialist exploitation and white domination continue to characterise the economy and society of South Africa, no amount of hogwash will miraculously resolve the condition of extreme inequalities, mass poverty and widespread national unemployment.

We have argued that foreign and imperialist exploitation and domination is premised on suppressing the wages of the majority of South Africans who are black and African, thus plunging them into poverty and guaranteeing that they forever are economically and socially unequal to the white population.

No amount of psychological and philosophical sophistry can conceal or erase this brutal fact: colonial and apartheid capitalism was based on the system of supper exploitation of Black and African workers, thus making them poor, and on the economic inequality of the races with the white population of course dominating in both the economy and society.

Minister of Finance Mr. Pravin Gordhan says the country is not in terminal crisis, when he presented the MTBPS.

Rather, Mr. Gordhan spends a lot of time arguing that South African is financially sound, and that it was wrong for the rating agencies to downgrade South Africa.

We find this characterisation of South Africa – essentially that there is no crisis – thoroughly worker insensitive and horribly wrong.

Which South Africa is Mr. Gordhan talking about, and for who? The fact that his government on 16th of August massacred 34 workers who were part of thousands of miners protesting the continuing low colonial wages for black and South African workers does not constitute a crisis for our Minister of Finance, let alone a signal for a terminal crisis!

Whose class interests does Mr. Gordhan represent? Clearly not the interests of the majority of the people of this country, who are the Black and African working class. Clearly working class interest does not matter much.

Gordhan’s MTBPS is at pains to assure the credit agencies and local and foreign capitalist that:

i. There will be no extra money spent by government, despite the glaring social crisis South Africa is suffering from;

ii. That government spending will be monitored for wastage;

iii. That the growth of the government wage bill needs to be contained, and he is unhappy with above inflation salaries awarded to public workers;

iv. That the “private sector” must come to the party, and stop “boycotting” South Africa in order to fast track infrastructure development; and

v. Essentially that South Africa is fiscally sound, for the private sector.

Of course all the major opposition parties welcomed the MTBPS. It after all, perfectly captured their fears and represented their interests!

None of the core demands of the working class have been addressed including:

• Measures to accelerate the growth of the publicly owned share of the economy;

• Measures to lower interest rates in favour of local manufacturing;

• Capital controls to limit the flooding of speculative capital into the South African economy, thereby controlling the rampant volatility of the Rand;

• Decisive measures by government itself to kick start and upscale countrywide the infrastructure development, without relying on a private sector that has been boycotting South Africa and withholding its funds;

• Measures to accelerate the expansion of the redistributive measures designed to liberate the South African economy from the Minerals/Energy/Finance Complex and the inevitable domination of South Africa by the white complex;

• Measures to punish all those who fail to comply with the Local Content Accord;

• Measures to ensure that the Reserve Bank places decent job creation and industrialisation at the heart of its mandate to protect the value of the Rand;

• Fast track the countrywide implementation of the NHI and so on.

The MTBPS is weak on issues of procurement, local content and local production in spite of assurances that the Ministry plans to implement rigorous procurement reforms complemented by plans to establish a chief procurement officer.

In NUMSA we are aware that the awarding of rolling stock contracts to Chinese and local BBBEE consortiums by Transnet shall harm the local industry leading to the loss of some 2000 jobs in Union Carriage (a local manufacturing company that designs and manufactures locomotives and coaches), as well as a significant job losses in downstream industries.

While the Department of Trade and Industry considers the designation of Solar Water Heaters (SWH), municipalities are hurriedly dishing out contracts to companies that rely on imported units rather than locally produced SWH and components.

This flies in the face of commitments given by several state departments (DoE, DTI, EDD, DEA) to roll out 1million SWH by 2014, consolidate our local SWH industry and create decent work opportunities in the emerging Renewable Energy sector.

As a trade union that represents over 300 000 members in the manufacturing sector, we do not believe that the country can be built on the basis of commitments alone and that a radical reconfiguration of our economy is required based on more public ownership of our natural resources and the redistribution of wealth that underpins both the Freedom Charter (1955) and the Reconstruction and Development Programme (1994) as the basis of our economic freedom.

In this context COSATU and NUMSA have repeatedly called for more state intervention in the economy and for the country to adopt a developmental agenda that is consistent with the objectives set out in the Freedom Charter and the RDP.

Over the years the trade union federation and its affiliates have repeatedly called for the more state control over the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), scrapping of high interest rates, tighter exchange controls and the removal of inflation targeting as an instrument to stabilise prices.

NUMSA believes that increased public spending is necessary to sustain growth in areas of education, health, housing and transport.

In Numsa we argue that industrial and trade policy should not be delinked from patterns of state spending in critical sectors of our economy.

NUMSA notes that the Minister of Finance has negatively made several references to the public sector wage bill and that the recent three-year public service wage settlement provides for “above-inflation increases in salaries” and that strong measures are needed for more effective controls over personnel expenditure.

This reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of the fundamental tasks demanded of a developmental state still steeped in its colonial moorings.

Further, this is an attack on the public sector working class designed to single them out as being responsible for government’s fiscal problems and “lack of funds” for development.

NUMSA believes that for public service employees to be effective not only should salaries be acceptable, but there is also a need to ensure that the many vacant posts are filled in the public service.

Whilst the Minister has pronounced on the government rolling stock, we are perplexed by the fact that a big tender has been awarded by Transnet to a Chinese company undermining the procurement accord as signed by social partner’s government included.

The failure on the side of the Minister to pronounce on this scandalous behaviour which may lead to many manufacturing jobs being lost is unforgivable! This is sprinkled in the MTBPS quotes from the National Development Plan – another woolly production from those who seek to send the workers to sleep.

There is the plea to all South Africans to join together and tackle the challenges confronting South Africa. Meanwhile, all the measures announced largely favour the status quo, including the painful fact that this is not an expansionary MTBPS!

In NUMSA we are not surprised that the Minister of Finance is more worried about the financial rating agencies, and he tailors his MTBPS to suite them.

We understand that South African capitalism has depended heavily on the imperialist centres.

Capital from Europe financed the opening of the mines. Today, the possibility of this capital flight or boycotting South Africa terrorises Minister Gordhan and the class he represents.

Gordhan’s MTBPS, like all post 1994 budgets, rather than littering them with empty pontifical rhetoric enjoining all South Africans to achieve the impossible, should have been aiming to abolish the colonial status of the black majority.

E. NUMSA and Mangaung

The Cosatu Special CEC on 15-16 October 2012 took a resolution that the Federation shall support a leadership collective premised on the following principles;

1. Commitment to a radical NDR and thoroughgoing transformation:

2. Proven commitment to the Alliance:

3. Commitment to the unity of the ANC and the democratic movement:

4. Commitment to make this decade truly a decade of workers and the poor:

5. Internationalism:

6. Working-class leadership

In this regard, the CEC resolved that we shall mobilise for the re-election of President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Secretary General Secretary Gwede Mantashe.

NUMSA will work within the constitutional decisions of Cosatu. The NEC further resolved that;

• We shall do what we can to push for at least a minimum of 30 ANC NEC members, who must be unequivocally pro working class.

• We shall, in the structures of the ANC in which Cosatu participates such as the Economic Transformation Commission (ETC), work to ensure that we contest for working class content of the economic programme of the Second Phase of the National Democratic Revolution.

We want to caution those who, 18 years after 1994, with the massive evidence of the failed neoliberal policies and an untransformed Apartheid capitalist economy, both of which continue to deepen and worsen mass unemployment, extreme poverty and Olympic Gold Medal levels of inequality in South Africa still want to be leaders in the ANC in Mangaung in order to continue to take us along this disastrous path: they should not seek re-election! We, the working class of South Africa, the low, colonial wage sufferers have declared that enough is enough.

We want change, real and fundamental change in our lives!

3. What is to be done as we prepare for the 2013 collective bargaining season?

On 28 – 30 November 2012, Numsa shall pull together representatives of all sectors (Auto, Tyre, Motor, Engineering, Eskom and House Agreement companies) to attend our pre-bargaining conference in Johannesburg.

The essence of this pre-bargaining conference shall be premised on;

1. Research work drawing on local, continental and international trends on wages and other conditions of employment.

2. The Global Capitalist crises and its impact on South Africa – What can we expect in 2013 (scenario planning)?

3. Understanding the political economy of collective bargaining in the context of Cosatu’s Living Wage Campaign

4. Where are we in respect of outstanding collective bargaining issues in all sectors?

5. Preliminary research report – what are the indicators?

6. Roadmap towards collective bargaining in 2013

This important meeting was convened to (in part) prepare the motor sector input into the pre-bargaining conference.

In conclusion:

Comrades as Lenin advises, there can be no revolutionary theory without revolutionary movement. This advice is critically important because it teaches that we cannot be satisfied with good plans/ideas but we must be obsessed with practice, i.e. implementation.

We have invested a sizable amount of money to bring all Numsa (9) Regions into this Motor National Shopstewards Council (NSSC) to deliberate on the challenges, weaknesses and shortcomings in the sector.

This requires us to move from a talk shop to an implementation agency.

I thank you!

Karl Cloete

Deputy General Secretary

Numsa Head Office – Johannesburg