Allow me to greet you in this publication of Numsa News. Another challenging year has begun; many of our sectors are negotiating this year and engineering sector agreement is facing enormous attacks from some employer associations and the Free Market Foundation.
These want to destroy centralised collective bargaining. We must fight till the last drop of blood to defend these historical gains that were achieved many years ago when Mawu demanded the formation of industrial councils.
I am extremely proud of the recent achievement of Numsa in successfully stopping Eskom from being awarded a 16% rates increase by the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa (Nersa). Thanks to all of you who participated in these important campaign.
We managed to give back to our people thousands and thousands of rands and we also managed to save thousands of jobs for our members. We thank all the organisations and people who joined us in this campaign. We thank the ANC leadership for giving us a platform and their NEC decision gave a big boost to our campaign.
I want to thank from the bottom of my heart the team that prepared the submissions to Nersa, one of the best ever submissions by Numsa. I also want to thank my fellow NOBs for criss-crossing our country presenting oral submissions to Nersa. Last but least, I want to thank you for coming to picket the public hearings.
The decision by Nersa has brought back confidence in the public hearings process, after the disastrous public hearings staged by the parliamentary portfolio committee on Labour on labour brokers, which did not deliver results to workers despite overwhelming evidence that our people are tired of labour brokers.
We must not rest on our laurels. The next campaign is to stop your municipalities from adding exorbitant mark-ups on the Eskom prices. We also think that government must consider increasing the free electricity for our people from 50kW to 100kW with immediate effect.
Our campaign was informed by the defence of manufacturing, because that is where our employers get employment as metalworkers. It is an undisputed fact that our members support many extended family members with their meagre salaries.
We must mount another campaign to persuade our government to remove all the impediments that stop attempts to re-industrialise our country, because it is our conviction that without re-industrialisation, South Africa will never resolve the triple crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
We must be ready for a fight with employers. The global financial crisis will once again mean that our collective bargaining will be very tough. It needs brave and prepared cadres of Numsa to lead from the front. This will be happening soon after the Marikana experiences, which are still fresh in the minds of our people.
I want comrades to be aware that the courts have authorised employers to charge us for things that happen during strikes, after a DA-led municipality took Satawu to court.
In the recent central committee meeting, we received a report on what happened in Cosatu in their last CEC. We are committed to the unity of Cosatu but we will not accept provocation from anybody. We are a disciplined affiliate of Cosatu and we will remain in the federation. Your regional and local leaders will brief you about the details of what transpired in that Cosatu CEC.
I also want to touch on the National Development Programme (NDP), I think one of the mistakes of the Mangaung Conference was the adoption of the NDP, which shares a lot with the policies of the DA.
The NDP is a more than 400-page document that I believe was not thoroughly discussed by the branches of the ANC. I think the voice of branches was silenced by the voices of 25 commissioners who do not represent the constituencies of the ANC.
As Numsa, we will engage more with our Alliance partners on the dangers of what we call the postponement of the Freedom Charter implementation to beyond 2030. I think we cannot afford that postponement. We will engage with the leadership of the ANC on the issues of serious concern that I included in this document of more than 400 pages.
I invite all our comrades to read this long document so that we may find means to reverse this mistake of the highest decision-making body of our beloved multi-class African National Congress in adopting it. It will be not be easy, but we must make an effort in a comradely way to reverse this unfortunate mistake.
We congratulate the leadership of the ANC that was elected in Mangaung, in particular the three active members of Cosatu unions who emerged at the conference. We hope they will assist to improve the Alliance so that it is more effective at all levels, not just at national level.
We are excited that the Cosatu CEC has resolved to support the ANC in the 2014 elections. We want the ANC to use the remaining time of Parliament to do away with labour brokers because we know that this is still a matter that remains unresolved by our movement, among other issues including the inner-city tolling of roads. We are hopeful that very soon a solution will be found on these two items and others that continue to trouble you in different localities.
Let us start now to campaign for the victory of the ANC, because despite our unhappiness about this and that, we still know that the ANC is an organisation that can best represent our aspirations as workers and the working class.
I welcome new members into the family of metalworkers. I welcome new staff members and I say go well to those who have left Numsa. I say rest in peace to departed metalworkers. To the remaining metalworkers, we wish you a successful 2013.
I want you to work hard to increase our membership so that we can reach the target of 400 000 members in 2016 that we set ourselves in our last national congress.