Launch of the Numsa NEDCOM – 12-13 February 2013


12 FEBRUARY 2013


Antonio Gramsci in his work “The development of the revolution” of 1919 makes three critical observations;

a) Only the working class can save human society from the abyss of barbarity and economic collapse towards which it is pushed by the emboldened and maddened forces of the owning class, and it can do so organizing itself in a dominant class to impose its own dictatorship in the politico-industrial field;

b) The revolution is not a dramatic act, it is a dialectic process of historical development

c) If the basis of the revolutionary process is not laid in the intimacy of productive life, the revolution will remain a sterile call to the will, a cloudy legend, a deceptive Morgana: and chaos, disorder, unemployment, hunger will swallow and fragment the best and most vigorous proletarian energies.

These observations of Antonio Gramsci are as relevant today as in 1919. This NUMSA NEDCOM must in its outcome demonstrate how we model and prepare NUMSA to be amongst the critical left formations to impose the hegemony of the working class over our capitalist society today.

Our context:

Before proceeding to the historical decisions of previous Numsa Central Committees (CC) and National Executive Committees (NEC) to establish a Numsa National Education Committee (NEDCOM), let us appreciate our current moment and conjuncture as a platform from which to re-establish and develop NUMSA’s NEDCOM;

1. Numsa has over the past 4 years reconfigured itself as ideologically consistent, militant, addressing all aspects of shopfloor, social, economic and political life and ever ready to take on campaigns in the interest of metalworkers as well as addressing issues in the interest of the broader working class.

We have refused to be labeled a gumboots union or a workerist formation or flirting with ultra-leftism.

2. Without undermining the Alliance, Numsa has embarked upon many programs in tactical alliances with left formations or progressive organs of civil society.

3. The Central Committee of Numsa has accepted that if we are to pursue and drive a Freedom Charter Moment it must be through a working class and working class youth axis capable of mobilizing society on a revolutionary agenda.

This Cosatu calls a Lula Moment and the 2012 ANC National Policy Conference declared as a radical second phase of the NDR.

Has history imposed on us a Numsa Moment?

The coming Numsa Central Committee (scheduled for 4-8 March 2013) shall receive a detailed political analysis in the Secretariat Report with respect to the outcomes of the SACP’s 13th National, Cosatu National Congress and the ANC’s Mangaung National Conference and spent some time on Numsa’s role in driving a revolutionary agenda for the fullest implementation of the Freedom Charter.

Furthermore Numsa’s 4-Year Strategic Plans shall spell out in detail how we use the following 6 themes and platforms to advance the objectives as set out in the Preamble of Numsa’s Constitution, namely;

1. Protect members jobs and improve their wages, conditions and benefits

2. Transform service to members through organisation and representation

3. Develop working class theory, policy and strategy

4. Champion political, economic and social policy and strategy in favour of the working class and the poor

5. Strengthen staff and worker leader capacity in Numsa, Cosatu and International union organisations

6. Build a bigger, stronger, smarter, better organised union

This launch of the NUMSA NEDCOM on 12 February 2013 shall have to deal with its own responsibility in making our Union a serious catalyst for change in the interest of the working class and the poor.

Comrade Dinga Sikwebu, our National Education HOD, in a memo to the National Office Bearers’ February 2013 Strategic Planning Session made the following critical observations insofar as the “Numsa Moment” is concerned;

“In the last few month’s different organisations, individuals and Left academics have appealed to the union to do this or that with one motivation: “unless Numsa intervenes the consequences for the working class, the poor and society will be dire”. This turning to Numsa was more pronounced when the Marikana strike committee appealed for Numsa’s intervention. The turn to Numsa was also confirmed at Cosatu’s national congress when the ANC Youth League referred to Numsa as “the vanguard of the working class” and the South African Students Congress (Sasco) thanked Numsa for its principled positions. Examples of this turn to Numsa are numerous. They were expressed in the letter to the (Numsa) General Secretary by the South Korean workers. They were also palpably demonstrated in the ongoing electricity campaign. If we had not taken up the campaign, there would have been no murmur or whisper from traditional mass organisations, Cosatu included. One still awaits the position of the SACP on the electricity price hikes”

It is this kind of insight that must be our driving force to contribute with body and soul to the emancipation of the working class. In this regard the National Office Bearers have embarked on a process to sensitise all Comrades within the Union projecting Numsa’s potential to provide strategic leadership to the working class in alliance with a range of progressive formations not least within Cosatu.

We started off in addressing all Numsa Local Organisers about the lessons of Marikana and De Doorns from the class perspectives of the August 2012 Numsa Central Committee (see the August 2012 CC key decisions for this analysis)

The critical emphasis that the Numsa 8th National Congress NOB, NEC and CC placed on political and ideological education must be appreciated by this NUMSA NEDCOM if we are to advance class consciousness not just for the sake of being schooled and excel in theory but to generate a movement capable of making the National Democratic Revolution the shortest route to Socialism.

A quick scan will show that for the period 2011 & 2012 alone, the education department had to contend with about 58 specific programs resolved upon by the NEC and CC. (See attached). Such is the importance of education in Numsa.

The Revival of NUMSA’s NEDCOM

This revival and re-launch of NEDCOM is premised on a consistent discussion in the national and regional constitutional structures to revive all education substructures in the organisation premised on the principle of worker control and worker participation.

It is for this reason that we have invited office bearers or worker leaders responsible for education (REDCOM & LEDCOM) throughout the country to gather the fullest understanding of the critical importance of education in our Union as we undertake our work between now and 2016.

NUMSA is privileged to work with;

• Almost R20m per annum to conduct education and training for shopstewards, office bearers and officials at regional and local level

• Employing 9 fulltime Regional Education Officers in all 9 provinces of the country

• Employing fulltime staff in the national education department in our Head Office

Many affiliates of Cosatu do not enjoy this privilege and therefore history imposes on us the responsibility to always take education training to higher levels in the interest of our members and the broader working class.

Mindful of the December 2010 Numsa Central Committee decision to revive NEDCOM, we hereby wish to provide delegates with a snapshot of the history that informed the decision to format the NUMSA NEDCOM.

Constitutional structure decisions on NEDCOM:
1987 – 2004
National Education and Research Committee  CC 20-22 October 1989

Composition of the Committee:

National secretary 1

Regional Educators 6

1 worker educator per region 10

RDG coordinator 1

Publications officer 1

Total 19

Meets three times per year

Research: RDGs CC 7-9 June 1991

1. Polecon RDG to be expanded to 24 delegates subject to the region's decision of dissolving Nedcom. Participants as follows:

NOB – Dube

National Education Secretary

NO Campaigns

RDG Co-ordinators

RDG worker reps (1 per RDG)

Nedcom OBs x 2
regional reps – 1 per region (2 for each Wits region)

Reps from COSATU Commissions:

– Ruiters (COSATU Living Wage)

– Tabane (COSATU Health)

– A. Pilane/S. Njokwe (COSATU Goods and Services)

– R. Motsepe (COSATU Industrial Restructuring) plus E Godongwana (Border regional secretary)

2. Beneficiation RDG to be set up at the end of June. We must concentrate on steel plants first and inform NUM that it can join later at its own expense.

Education: Nedcom NEC 27-28 June 1992

The NEC reaffirmed the existence of NEDCOM and that it will now have a flexible number of participants but with limited powers. N. Tvl moved, N. Cape seconded.

Nedcom CC 29 Nov – 1 Dec 1995

We must co-ordinate education nationally and therefore we should revive the Nedcom structure. We must have both national and regional programmes but avoid duplication. We must utilise company training budgets where they exist.

Nedcom CC 21 March 1996

The National Office Bearers proposed that the Central Committee review their previous decision on setting up a National Education Committee. They motivated that setting up a new structure would not necessarily resolve the problem of coordination of education.

They proposed that an integrated National Education Programme be drawn up each year by national and regional educators and this would then be adopted by the Central Committee after discussion by the regions and that the NEC manage the Education programme.

The Western Cape region proposed that the National Office Bearers present this plan in writing setting out the details and that this be discussed at the next Central Committee meeting. This proposal was agreed.

Education sub-structure CC 27-29 November 1996

The CC noted with concern the potential collapse of the education department and the need to resuscitate the education structure and of course, the need to avoid structures that operate parallel to constitutional structures. The following decisions were then taken:

1. The establishment of the CC sub-structure – the following comrades were elected Cde Godongwana (GS), Cde Jim (E Cape regional chairperson), national co-ordinator of education, Ambrose Mthembu, (Highveld Steel ss), Isaac Phahla, President Tom, Aubrey Mabitla.

Moved: W Cape
Seconded: N Cape

Documents from Education Indaba – 2005

There were two commissions in the Education Indaba that came up with two different ideas on how to deal with education. One Commission proposed a Nedcom, the other Commission proposed

Commission 5 – Education Structures including Media Sub-Committee

1. Reasons for Collapse of National Structures

 Lack of commitment and willingness

 Lack of delivery at regional and local level

 No recognition for union education

 Inadequate co-ordination and communication

 Lack of supervision from NOBs or regional secretaries, no proper auditing of the training that takes place

 Inadequate attention by structures to the quality and thoroughness of reports given by education committees

 No education structures within companies, especially large ones

 Lack of accreditation

 Lack of training of educators and facilitators, leads to no confidence ito delivery, presentation

 No evaluation of materials and training provided, whether they are effective

 No attention paid to local or regional specific problems or issues either due to budget or educators not willing to deal with other union demands

 Some structures set up without concrete educational reasons, and non-constitutional

 Education driven by individuals due to lack of involvement of constitutional structures

 Lack of planning among ledcoms, redcoms and nedcoms – no attention to detail ito audience, level of educational needs

 Poor attendance in terms of failure to discipline members who did not attend meetings

 Poor communication between local, regional and national structures

 Re-look staffing at head office – is staff sufficient. Lack of support impedes progress

 Involvement at all levels ito drafting education programmes – members should feel that they own programmmes

2. Composition of NEDCOM

 Worker national office bearer

 National education officer

 Regional education officers

 Redcom chairperson, worker delegate

 Head of ocb

Would meet two times per year

Commission on Education and Training

Proposed structure for education and training in Numsa


national training coordinator national education coordinator

o The unit must include REOs, labour coordinator, can’t have a situation where our labour coordinator is situated at Merseta,

o The national education and training structure, publications and research should form part of this

o Regional education and training committee – REO to lead – to form part of Redcom.

o Local – ledcom deals with education and training related issues; must include company reps who are full-time training shop stewards.

o Plant level – plant education and training committees. Run pilot project in big companies using plant educators who are full-time paid for by companies who will also take over training. Training representative is represented on shop steward council and reports to REO.

Regional level

At regional level, make sure that people are capacitated so that they do these things.

Comments from the floor

 Proposed merger – what has been the experience in the past in terms of the effectiveness of these departments. What would be the motive behind the merger and also what would the limitations be around this merger.

 National congress has given a mandate to review the state of education in union. Anything reviewed factual – believe that after educator has given training should be synergy to ensure that political education given should be conceptualised practically at plant level. Research should also be brought in. Results of this will have implications for staffing.

 Does this imply that everyone who serves in the seta has the appropriate ideological/political background to be an educator.

 Content of employer training centres around multi-tasking. What seems to be missing from input is how education and training will contribute towards developing members holistically.

We should analyse what kind of content we want to include in our education and training as a union? Important to have life-skills education as part of education and training.

The problem has been that the union has not been involved in the development of unit standards resulting from the fact that there is no political/ideological education content.

 Clarification over composition of departments: should there be one department with two heads or should there be two departments working closely together? Will merger bring any impact to delivery of education and training? Should mergers not also happen at regional and local level.

 Clarification over what is meant by education, does LRA, health and safety, main agreements etc fall under education or industrial training and should this be seeking to accredit.

Theoretical information of acts, agreements etc education but the methods to be used to facilitate implementation of these should fall under training.

Linkage about political education received at the level of union and the industrial training received at the firm. Greater challenge for education and training to ensure that while education takes place, shopstewards and officials are given tools to practically implement this – for example weakness around practical implementation of EEA etc

 There should be joint training/ uniform approach towards delivery involving both shopstewards and officials.

There is a consensus that there should be integration of education and training. The form in which this must happen should be a subject for further debate in the union. For this reason, a discussion paper should be developed to look at models on integrating the two units.

CC – 6 December 2006
The Central committee also agreed that appropriate manning levels and the capacity constraints that existed within education unit countrywide were addressed. The proposal to revive Nedcom as a structure to co-ordinate Education was also agreed upon, including the integration of Training into the Education Unit.

CC – December 2010
The NOB should with the education department revive the NUMSA NEDCOM to which the President and Deputy General Secretary have been deployed.

Brief reflection on the outcome of the National Education held on 1 April 2011

In giving expression to the Central Committee decision of December 2010 to re-launch NEDCOM, the following proposals about what to establish at a national level was agreed to at the meeting on 1 April 2011:

• NEDCOM shall be convened by the President and DGS as NOB deployees to the education department

• There shall be worker representation from each of our 9 Regions

• REOs and Head Office educators should participate in NEDCOM.

• NEDCOM to meet twice a year; before the end of the year CC (evaluate and plan) and before the July CC (to evaluate and monitor the plan)

• A National Educators Forum shall exist as an operational arm of NEDCOM.

Some discussion took place on who the worker rep should be from regions. Should it be ROB responsible for education or REDCOM chairpersons where these exist? Or is it both? The meeting felt that at the formative stages we should not split hairs on this and that in cases where these are held by different people, we should allow both to attend the launch.

The meeting proposed that NEDCOM be formally launched either on Friday 27 – Sunday 29 May or Friday 03 – Sunday 05 June through a mini education and cultural festival. Each region will be represented by two workers (ROB responsible for education and REDCOM chair). Educators from Numsa and from Cosatu will be invited as guests.

Among issues to be dealt with will be to finalise:

• The structure of NEDCOM

• Guidelines for regional and local education structures

• Consolidation of previous resolutions of Numsa on education (ranging from principles, control and methodologies).

Education’s contribution to the 2013 Program of Numsa:

The March 2013 Central Committee of Numsa shall receive from the National Office Bearers the key priorities and programs for 2013.

Education’s contribution would involve the following, amongst others;

1. Train and capacitate shopstewards and officials on how to approach the 2013 collective, on negotiations skills, understanding the current agreements as well as an understanding of the negotiated collective agreements

2. Oiling the engines – LOB, ROB and NOB training

3. Strategic political work with Cosatu affiliates around key questions

4. Understand ANC and SACP resolutions to develop Numsa perspectives and campaigns – 2-5 March 2013

5. Examine and programmitise Cosatu National Congress resolutions

6. building of a socially owned renewable energy sector

7. Plan activities for the BRICS conference

8. Launching of the Numsa Marxist Leninist School – 11-15 May 2013

9. Organise Political Discussion Forums

10. Contribute towards the Numsa International Conference on Socialism to be held in December 2013


The National Office Bearers are confident that the launch of the NUMSA NEDCOM shall significantly contribute to the “Numsa Moment” as we march towards the emancipation of the working class from capitalist rule.

2011/2012 Programs as resolved by the NEC’s & CC’s

1. Produce a paper on 1996 class project by July 2011 CC

2. Organise with OCCB local government elect ion workshop

3. Hold joint political education with the SACP

4. Revival of NEDCOM

5. Prepare for COSATU CC

6. Do a comparison of the NGP, Cosatu Growth Path and BUSA document

7. Implement CC decision to build NUMSA research capacity

8. Give education around CPI

9. Capacity building for house agreement co-ordinator

10. Research whether the incentives given to the auto sector are advancing our industrialization agenda

11. Produce a discussion paper on presidential visits and inclusion of labour in the delegation by July 2011 CC

12. Work with publications on a pamphlet on nationalization of Mittal & Sasol

13. Develop a paper on Chinese investments

14. Establish RDGs

15. Employ additional researcher

16. Produce a discussion document of ITUC

17. Hold a PDF on ITUC

18. Produce a paper on WFTU

19. Work together with the International Officer on xenophobia

20. Organise a workshop on co-ops

21. Write up report on outcomes of OB training

22. Organise education around shopsteward elections

23. Finalise staff job descriptions

24. Re-establish NUMSA skills training and EEA committee

25. Update Numsa EEA and skills training policies

26. Co-ordinate work around NUMSA membership survey

27. Input on the organizing strategy being developed by OCCB by reporting on what came out of the OR project

28. Participate in the NUMSA-SADTU education task team with OCCB

29. Run workshops on IPAP

30. Popularise resolutions that came out of the farmworkers summit

31. Sort out funding for PDFs

32. Facilitate growth path debate

33. Analyse 2011 government budget and cabinet Lekgotla outcomes

34. Analyse 2011 MTEF

35. Organise PDFs on the 90th Anniversary of the SACP

36. Organise PDFs on climate change

37. Investigate how to increase social wage such as increasing free basic electricity from 50-100 KW

38. Assist with education around NHI

39. Monitor IPAP implementation

40. Study incentives and their impacts on job creation

41. Participate in the work on time management and workplace restructuring being done by OCCB and the international office

42. Contribute to the organizing strategy being developed by OCCB by identifying labour absorbing and growing industries in our sector

43. Use more cultural work in education activities

44. Conduct staff training contained on page 12 of the integrated plan 2011-2012

45. Complete health and safety course for shopstewards

46. Educate shopstewards on climate change

47. PDFs on local government

48. RPWs in preparation for Cosatu CC

49. Evaluation of office bearer training

50. MEETI course for leadership

51. Training for organizers on new Companies Act

52. Training of organizers on motor and engineering main agreements

53. Run economic literacy classes

54. Educate shopstewards on new growth path

55. Conduct a study on benefits of a beneficiation strategy for the metals and engineering sector

56. Advance labour law for staff

57. Cross examination course for staff