Numsa response to the State of the National Address (SoNA)

Monday 18 February 2013

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) joins COSATU in welcoming the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) as delivered by the President of the Republic comrade Jacob Zuma.

A number of pronouncements in the State of the Nation Address are to be appreciated with particular reference to, amongst others;

1. The installation of 315 000 solar water geysers to poorer households;

2. Willingness to change the concept of ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ and to replace it by the ‘just and equitable’ principle for compensation as set out in the Constitution;

3. Re-opening of the lodgement of restitution claims, by people who missed the deadline of 31 December 1998; and also to be explored are exceptions to the June 1913 cut-off date to accommodate claims by the descendants of the Khoi and San as well as heritage sites and historical landmarks’;

4. Acknowledgement and confirmation that teachers have a constitutional right to strike;

5. The establishment of a ‘Presidential Remuneration Commission which will investigate the appropriateness of the remuneration and conditions of service provided by the State to all its employees’, beginning with the teachers; AND

6. The call for the lifting of the embargo against Cuba, as well as solidarity with the people of Palestine and Western Sahara.

Rooted in the firm fundamentals of the Freedom Charter, Numsa is of the view that the following shortcomings were glaring;

1. Our concern over the manner in which government has outsourced its renewable energy programme to the private sector is not in the interest of the working class and the poor.

NUMSA’s position on social ownership is well known and the union anticipates further engagement with all stakeholders and struggle to promote forms of collective ownership in the energy sector;

2. No mention of industrialisation, beneficiation and broad measures to support manufacturing such as local procurement and an appropriate macro-policy;

3. We also note silence on the role of the state, and ownership such as the question of the State Pharmaceutical Company, State Construction Company (given the patent collusion of construction companies that has been revealed recently), state bank, etc.

The Numsa Central Committee (CC) scheduled from 4-8 March 2013 shall undertake a more detailed analysis of SONA; the 2013 Budget Speech and the National Development Plan (NDP).

Our view is that some of the President’s positive remarks and suggestions are at odds with the fundamentals of the NDP which is simply a continuation of GEAR and the neo-liberalism which we have seen under the Mbeki Administration.


Castro Ngobese, NUMSA National Spokesperson – 081 011 1137