Numsa Central Committee Statement

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) held its scheduled Central Committee meeting from December 8 to 12, exactly one year since its ground-breaking Special National Congress.
The CC received political, organisational, international and financial reports from the elected National Office Bearers. This CC was expanded to include worker-leaders from our Local structures.

A. The Political Context and “expulsion” of Numsa from Cosatu

The CC has taken place a very turbulent political environment in South Africa.  Cosatu has finally been split: the numerically dominant faction Central Executive Committee (CEC) delegates of Cosatu aligned to the SACP/ANC finally got their wish – they have illegally and irregularly “expelled” Numsa from the federation. We have since appealed against this “expulsion” and we are challenging it in court.
The Central Committee received a detailed report on events in Cosatu and resolved that our expulsion from Cosatu must only strengthen our resolve to build organizations of the working class.
The Central Committee welcomed the support of the 8 unions and also of those sections of other unions who are in struggle against suspension and bureaucratic, corrupt leadership.  It endorsed the calI from the joint NECs of these unions to take our campaign to reclaim Cosatu to all our members and workers in this country and to mobilise the working class around the issues we regard as central.
We are determined to reclaim the federation as an independent, democratic, worker controlled, militant, anti-imperialist and socialist oriented labour federation. We will go back to the shopfloor, and address workers in the factories, in general meetings, in Local Shop Stewards Councils, in Provincial Shop Stewards Councils
We are proceeding with challenging the illegal expulsion in court.
We understand that Zingiswa Losi was appointed in a totally unprocedural manner as Deputy Director General in SAPS. We have reported this to the Public Protector for investigation.
We also supported the call of the 8 unions to Zwelinzima Vavi to join the campaign. It is his obligation, as the General Secretary of Cosatu, to implement the resolutions of the organisation. Our campaigns are 100% in support of those resolutions.
The destruction of Cosatu through the illegal and irregular expulsion of Numsa will have far reaching implications for the working class well beyond the South African borders. Those who made this decision have gone down in history as the worst enemies of the working class.

B. Cosatu and the global working class 

The destruction of Cosatu can only help to maintain the status quo in which the co-opted black bourgeoisie, together with white monopoly capital and imperialism, prevent the emancipation of the working class.
We recognise that Cosatu was not only built by the South African working class. It was also built and supported by the international working class from all over the world: progressive workers and their organisations in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the United States, Africa all made their contributions in the formation and development of Cosatu. All of them played a crucial part in building the working class formations of the South African working class.
The destruction of Cosatu will benefit world imperialism and South African white monopoly capital as a whole. It is time to invigorate and rekindle international world working class solidarity. We need to mobilise the world working class to support us in our struggles for a just and socialist South Africa.

C. The President of Cosatu resorts to calls for violence

During the Central Committee, we heard the appalling call of the President of Cosatu to Nehawu to stand ready with their “sticks”. It seems that he believes he has not committed enough of a crime against the working class by deliberately splitting Cosatu, expelling a founder member and causing the withdrawal of 7 other affiliates from participation.
Now he has committed the ultimate class crime – he is calling on workers to arm themselves against other workers. Mr. S’Dumo Dlamini has finally confirmed who he is – a violent person who has no understanding of the importance of the unity of the working class irrespective of their trade union membership.
We are not, however, surprised that S’Dumo makes this violent call. After the Marikana massacre of the mine workers by the ANC government there is no evidence of S’Dumo working to unite and defend all miners irrespective of their trade union.
No genuine leader of the working class can incite workers to violence in defence of a trade union.
We call on S’dumo Dlamini to unconditionally and unequivocally withdraw this statement. We demand that he clarify immediately, as the President of Cosatu, that he is calling on all the members of the affiliates to deal with the divisions in the workers’ movement peacefully, with their mouths and their ears and their brains, not with violence and weapons.
The Central Committee resolved to refer the incident for investigation by the Human Rights Commission as we view this matter very seriously.

E. The South African economy is still a colonial economy

The President of Numsa reminded us, in his opening address, that the South African economy and society is still colonial 20 years after the democratic breakthrough.
Mass poverty, widespread unemployment and extreme inequalities continue to be the general condition of life of the majority of the population of this country who are Black, African and working class.
We are still suffering from extreme income inequalities between white and black workers on one hand, and between male and female workers on the other hand. The majority of Black and African workers cannot find jobs even when they have an education and skills.
The Freedom Charter clearly states that there shall be equal pay for work of equal value, whether this work is performed by male or female workers.
The Freedom Charter clearly states that there shall be a minimum wage and contract labour and the tot system shall be abolished.
Twenty years after 1994, huge wage disparities continue to exist between white and black workers, between male and female workers, and there is no minimum wage! The ANC government has failed to abolish labour brokers.

F. Effect of the crisis on black women and children

Our Numsa president called on us, as metalworkers, to take time to reflect on how the crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequalities is impacting especially on the lives of black women and children. Violent crime is every day visited upon women and children, especially of the black working class.
Our capitalist system has no solution to this problem, apart from increasing policing and preaching against such violence and the symbolic annual 16 days of activism. We know that this is not enough, of course, to eradicate this violence. The brutalities include:
a. Children born and living in homes in which there is no income at all;
b. Children missing the love, care and attention of their parents because both parents  are either unemployed or earning colonial wages which make it impossible to create loving and caring homes for children;
c. Children born from teenage girls who themselves still need parental love, care and protection;
d. Children born in Apartheid created and racially segregated communities which denies them the opportunity to enjoy the experience and fun of playing and growing up with children of other races; and
e. Children denied decent quality education because they have no choice but to rely on the poor quality Bantustan education which the past twenty years have failed to destroy.
Black and African working class children also suffer the most at the mercy of the poor quality and crumbling public health system.
We must act to protect those women and children against psychological, social, economic, cultural and physical violence all year round! In the end, only socialism can create happy, wholesome and healthy environments for children.

G. The Central Committee captured this moment in South Africa’s history as follows:

  • Contradictions are sharpening between organised workers and the capitalist class: in 2003 there were 46 strikes, in 2013 there were 81 strikes. The main cause is wages.
  • Contradictions are sharpening between the working class in communities and the current capitalist state:  In 2004 there were 10 service delivery protests, in 2012 these protests had increased to 250.
  • Economic growth is not increasing: The recent Medium Term Budget Policy Statement by National Treasury says economic growth over the next 3 years will be 1.4%.
  • Manufacturing is on the decline: In 1994 manufacturing was 20% of total production, in 2013 it had declined to 11%.  This is de-industrialisation which means less and less jobs.
  • Unemployment is on the rise: In 1995 the unemployment rate was 31%, in 2014 it was 37%.  In 1994 there were 4.2 million people who were unemployed, in 2014 this number had increased to 7.5 million.
  • Poverty is increasing: In 2004 the percentage of people living below R524 a month was 48%, but in 2011 this had increased to 52.3%.  In 2004 people who were living below R524 were 22 million, by 2011 this number had increased to 26.5 million.
  • Public debt is back to 1994 levels: In 1994 government debt as a percent of GDP was 50%, in 2014 government debt is almost 50%.  The country is running in circles!
  • Foreign debt has increased: In 1994 it was 25 million dollars, it now sits at 142 million dollars!

H. There is a crisis in the post 1994 state

There is a crisis of bourgeois-democracy: we see it in parliament; we see it in the relations between the executive and the Chapter 9 institutions, the executive and the judiciary, the executive and parliament. There is a crisis of corruption, led by Nkandla but followed by holders of public office being revealed as frauds who lie about the qualifications to get their high paying jobs. There is a crisis in the state apparatus: it affects Eskom (which we see through load-shedding), SAA (it runs at a permanent loss and its boards are unstable), SABC, local government.

I. There is a concerted campaign to weaken, silence and destroy  Numsa 

We noted at our last Central Committee, in May this year, that there was a well-coordinated agenda to liquidate all individual leaders who want fundamental change in the interest of the working class and who are firm that Cosatu must continue to champion class struggle.
That analysis has been proved correct by the events of the last few months.
War has been declared against us. It is a war in the interests of imperialism, white monopoly capital and its parasitic black elite. It is a war that is being led by the leadership of the South African Communist Party. This was so clearly demonstrated when its General Secretary called Numsa a rotting corpse which Cosatu has done well to rid itself of. That is an extraordinary way for an organisation that claims to represent the interests of the working class to describe a trade union with 350,000 working class members.
The recent concocted spy propaganda against the leadership and activists who work with Numsa in the country and outside the country points to a bigger danger in this war – that we are seeing signs of dictatorship in the making. The leader of the liberation movement has spent a quarter of a billion Rand of public money on his own private dwelling. He has done this in a country which is torn apart by the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The ANC and the SACP have supported the invasion of parliament by the riot police twice in the last few months in order to defend his refusal to account for that corrupt behaviour.

J. On State Violence and the Marikana Massacre

We noted the Farlam Commission on the Marikana Massacre has finished its proceedings.
Even this inadequate commission has exposed the collusion of the mine bosses and their police, elements placed high in the ANC, and the ANC government itself. The evidence clearly shows that the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, put political pressure on former police minister Nathi Mthethwa and the leadership of the police force to order the repression that resulted in the massacre.
This was the first post 1994 massacre. Yet more than two years later not a single person has been charged or made to account, despite the fact that it was clear that senior state officials told lies to the Commission.
If the ANC/SACP government does not make sure that such acts are punished, of course they will increase. This is exactly what has happened. Instances of police violence against the working class and the poor have become almost a daily occurrence.

K. ANC/SACP Government continues on its neo-liberal path

The ANC / SACP government continues to support the interests of white monopoly capital and imperialism, post 1994.
There is no radical transformation of the economy. In fact there is no transformation at all.
As admitted by both the SACP and the ANC themselves, the fundamental colonial racist capitalist economic structure of South Africa has not been uprooted and destroyed, 20 years after 1994. It is therefore not surprising that many of the core social features of the Apartheid system are intact, 20 years after 1994.
The racist colonial structure of the economy is untouched. In fact there has been an intensification of neo-liberalism, with attacks on the right to strike that are consistent with the NDP.
This ANC SACP government is now more degenerate and dangerous to the working class than even the government of Thabo Mbeki was.
The ANC/SACP government now wants to amend labour laws to allow for third party interventions in strikes, in order to end them via arbitration. We have heard that there is also an appetite in government for making several occupations “essential services” in order to criminalise strikes in such sectors.
This is open defiance of the Freedom Charter which called for the broadest extensions of the right of workers to be organised in trade unions and to strike.
We re-iterate: the Declaration of our Special National Congress in calling on President Jacob Zuma to resign with immediate effect because of his administration’s pursuit of neo-liberal policies such as the NDP, e-tolls, labour brokers, youth wage subsidy, and the track record of his administration which is steeped in corruption, patronage and nepotism. 
This Central Committee re-affirms that there can be no turning back in organising the working class as a class for itself. The only forest that will provide shelter  and protection for the leadership of our organisation is the forest of the masses.

L. The ANC/SACP have abandoned the Freedom Charter

The Central Committee noted that the new Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement confirmed yet again that, for the ANC/SACP government, the Freedom Charter is long buried and replaced with the National Development Plan. It is full of “sale of non-core assets”, and Public Private Partnerships and concessioning of major projects. All the language of neo-liberalism designed to free more areas of public provision for private exploitation and accumulation. Neo-liberalism has strengthened its grip on South Africa.
But no amount of neoliberal capitalist tinkering with national budgets will eliminate the mass poverty, nationwide structural unemployment and extreme and painful inequalities mostly affecting the Black and African working class, and rural masses:

  • mass unemployment, low and poor wages
  • mass poverty for the rural populations

All of this sitting directly alongside the extreme wealth of a tiny capitalist class joined by a parasitic Black elite.

M. There is no radicalism in sight

The ANC/SACP government has recently referred to the second, radical phase. But every policy they implement is not radical in any way!
The Medium Term Budget Policy Statement:

  • Does not propose, or even lay the foundation, for changes in the structure of the economy, including its ownership patterns.
  • Is just the same as previous budgets: in the past 20 years Finance Ministers have come and gone, but the neoliberal capitalist framework has remained intact.
  • Fails to establish macroeconomic parameters which could give hope to the majority of the people of South Africa, who are the working class and rural poor. This statement, and this strategy, will not change their lives for the better.

Under this regime, the economy exports raw minerals and de-industrializes, very fast. It is increasingly foreign-owned and so crucial decisions about things like the budget are not in the hands of South Africans.

We are drowning in debt!

The result of our current massive outflow of profits combined with the extremely weak industrial base is that the only way to invest is to raise huge debts. We have now firmly entered a precarious debt trap. The Ministry of Finance acknowledges this but is incapable of getting us out of it. Instead, they mourn and complain about being downgraded by rating agencies!

  • SA is sitting with almost 5.6% current account deficit, which means foreign debt is rising!  Total foreign debt is rising faster than export earnings.
  • Domestic investment exceeds saving by almost 6%, which means that private sector debt is also rising!
  • The budget deficit is almost 4% which means that public debt is also rising; in 2008 it was 28% of GDP. It rose to 46% in 2014. It will keep rising towards 50% in the foreseeable future, while profits flow out of the country.
  • South Africa’s foreign debt increased from 25 billion dollars in 1994 to 140 billion dollars in 2014. Every year South Africa accumulates 5.75 billion dollars in debt.

Why is debt growing?

There has been massive de-industrialisation since the 1970s. This de-industrialisation has increased over the last 20 years because of trade liberalization.
South African companies have exported their profits: there has been de-listing and dual listing of major South African companies abroad, such as Anglo.  This means their profits are now exported. In the past twenty years we have witnessed massive foreign ownership of monopolies: the mines, the banks, SASOL, Arcelor-Mittal, and others.
This structural situation means that the value of South Africa’s imports always exceeds the value of its exports. This is what is called a current account deficit.

South Africa needs massive investments!

South Africa needs to make massive investments to resolve its socio-economic development crisis. But we cannot save for this:

  • Because of the massive outflow of profits (a significant amount of which are illegal)
  • Because of the low wages of South African workers (half earn less than R3 000 a month). So we continue blindly to sink deeper into debt!

Nene has announced Budget cuts against the working class and the poor!

The result now is that Nene has announced further cuts in the budget, in order to continue to play games with our ever-rising budget deficits! This doesn’t surprise us. Under a neoliberal capitalist regime, with the set-up we have described above, South Africa will never ever, meet its targets. This would require two things:

  • Cuts in budget spending that would be politically impossible to make
  • Massive taxation of South Africa’s rich capitalist class.

What are the cuts in budget that Nene announced?

The government wage bill is obviously number one target!
South Africa is the world’s most unequal country. We have 23 million human beings out of 53 million living well below R650 per month. That’s more than 40% of the population living in poverty. We need hundreds of thousands of more and better educated and trained teachers, doctors, nurses, clinicians, sanitation officers, agricultural officers, engineers and so on. We wonder where they are going to come from if the ANC SACP government cuts the wage bill.

South African Corruption is systemic and structural to the racist and colonial capitalist sytem we live in, post 1994!

Without the radical implementation of the Freedom Charter, and a rapid advance to a socialist economy and society, corruption and all sorts of fraudulent ways of becoming rich are a necessary and essential weapon in the arsenal of the emerging post-Apartheid capitalist society in South Africa.
The lives of the majority of the South African working class are already very bad. Rather than wait until the Nene’s of this world are no longer able to even put up a fake show of pretending to be in charge of our ever growing indebted state and society, it is time to educate ourselves, mobilize, organize as a working class, and struggle for an alternative human society not based on profits, but human needs and values. Such a society, in which human beings come first, is of course a socialist society.

N. The Energy Crisis,  Eskom and other State Owned Enterprises

South Africa is today threatened with load-shedding for at least the next 3 years. We are a union primarily of workers in the manufacturing sector. Our jobs are jeopardised by this load-shedding. Our quality of life, like all South Africans, is compromised by load-shedding. We need to find out the truth. And we need to have confidence that the best is being done to solve the problems. As things are right now, it is hard to imagine any long lasting solution coming from our neoliberal capitalist government.

Problems with Medupi

The General Secretary briefed the Central Committee on the delays and costs of Medupi:

  • In February 2007 the price for Medupi was 56 billion Rand and the first unit would come on stream in mid-2011
  • The very same month, the price went up to 78.6 billion Rand and the first unit was delayed until the third quarter of 2011
  • By March 2011, the price had gone up by over 120% to 125.5 billion Rand and the first unit was delayed again – to June 2012
  • By July 2012 Eskom had changed the way it calculated the price so that it was hard to compare. They took out the cost of interest. So the price went down to 91.2 billion Rand. Delivery of the first unit was of course delayed again – this time to December 2013
  • As we speak, the price is 105 billion Rand without interest (about 130 billion Rand if you count the interest). That’s an increase of over 130%. The first unit may come on stream by the end of this year, but now Eskom says it might not happen. That’s a delay of at least three and a half years.

The Eskom-Medupi-Exxaro connection

One result of the lateness of Medupi is that Eskom is paying it large sums of money for nothing. It is paying this money to Exxaro for coal which it contracted to but cannot now buy because there is no Medupi to use it. In 2012 Eskom paid Exxaro 352 million Rand for failing to buy any coal because Medupi was not ready. By the end of 2014 that amount will be R3.5 bn. All of this money goes to Exxaro. In 2013 Exxaro’s profits were headed for a slide  by 30% from the previous year. Then along cam a windfall – R1.6 bn for the year for nothing. It converted Exxaro’s 30% drop in profits into a 32% increase. Public money going to enrich private shareholders.

Meanwhile, Eskom has been allowed to continue to borrow money!

We know that Eskom has borrowed 3.75 billion Dollars from the World Bank, of which more than 3 billion dollars was for Medupi.  3.75 billion dollars is more than 40 billion Rand.

South African competitive advantage is gone!

By global standards, South African electricity was cheap. That was why we had aluminium smelters. Now, after 43 years, electricity has become more expensive and BHP Billiton’s Bayside aluminium smelter is closed.

The Central Committee asked a number of fundamental questions:

  • Who took the key strategic decisions?
  • Why is it that so many clear warnings about Eskom’s ability to deliver the power supply we require were ignored?
  • Why is Medupi over budget? And who has profited from that?
  • Why is Medupi behind time?
  • Why has Eskom accepted the current exorbitant price of coal?
  • How much did the ANC and its friends benefit from this chaos while the rest of us suffered?
  • Why are we suddenly hit by load shedding when during the elections there was no load shedding? Why could they afford to run the diesel generators for the elections but not now?
  • How much of our coal is being exported and what effect does that have on load shedding?
  • Why does the ANC SACP government refuse to nationalise strategic mines to service the requirements of national grid? Is it greed for private profit that is more important than the needs of the entire country for a cheap, reliable electricity supply?

The new Eskom Board

We are reliably informed that the Minister of Public Enterprises will soon be unveiling Eskom’s new board. What is extremely disturbing is the rumour running around in media circles that Ben Ngubane is lined up as Chair of the Board. This is the very same Ngubane who, with Cedric Gina, was widely reported as having messed up in the SABC Board.

Nuclear energy

There are clearly attempts to deliver the huge contract for building nuclear power stations to Russia. Could it be possible that in the search for a Minister and a DG willing to bypass key procurement procedures, two ministers and one Director General have been fired?
Meanwhile the risks of the nuclear power plants will be all ours.

  • The Central Committee remembered Fukushima, which is still spilling contaminated water into the sea nearly 4 years later, and Chernobyl, which cost 31 lives in the initial explosion and countless further lives in deformities and sickness. The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe involved more than 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion dollars).
  • The Central Committee also remembered the arms deal and what happened in that instance of large-scale public procurement. It is clear that in the future we will be sitting with the same kind of whitewash Seriti Commission, painting over the ugly parts of the latest instance of the parasitic black bourgeoisie taking shortcuts to accumulation. 

There seems to be a clear strategy of appointing flawed individuals to key positions!

Ben Ngubane’s record is there for all to see. Anybody who appoints him to chair a Board does so with their eyes wide open. The same is true of the current Director of Public Prosecutions, Mxolisi Nxasana. We are being asked to believe that when he was appointed nobody knew about his history. And then there is Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Her record at the Ministry of Agriculture should have disqualified her from any further appointment. But now she pops up in the Department of Energy.
There is a pattern of compromised individuals being appointed to key positions. There is one thing that they have in common.  Compromised individuals are vulnerable. It is very easy to remove them if they do not do what they are told. How convenient to have a Director of Public Prosecutions who you can dismiss at any moment when you are facing charges of corruption.
How useful to have a compliant Minister of Energy when you are trying to sign multitrillion Rands backdoor deals for nuclear energy! There seems to be a strategy here.

The working class are hardest hit by the energy crisis

It is the working class who will bear the full brunt of the crisis at Eskom. In working class communities, the absence of electricity may mean no food for the day!
Furthermore, the hardest-hit section in society by this load-shedding is the working class and the poor, who are switching from electricity to dirty household energy such as wood, coal and paraffin – whilst the rich and middle-class in their comfort are only beginning to feel the pinch.
There clearly will be many companies that will use the crisis at Eskom to effect already long planned retrenchments.
We are sure that there will be many so called investors who will hide behind the energy crisis in the country to punish both the working class and the entire country by pulling out of South Africa, in order to locate elsewhere where they are able to exploit the working class at rates higher than they do in this country.
No country can develop and give a decent life to its people unless it has first a progressive and revolutionary energy policy that makes energy available to all its people, for all human activities.

The Central Committee resolved on the following way forward on Eskom

  1. We must protect our national coal supply: coal is a strategic asset to generate electricity for industry.
  2. We must fight for grass roots union representation on SOE Boards
  3. We must oppose privatisation in all its forms, including division into so-called ‘core’ and ‘non-core’.
  4. We must call on Eskom to open its books: the only way we will ever know what has really happened, and who has profited, will be if there is a forensic audit. Eskom wants us to partner with them to save electricity. There can be no partnership without full and complete disclosure.
  5. We must strategise to take mass action: load-shedding is destroying jobs. We must call for Section 77 rolling mass action in a campaign for jobs:
  • The ANC/SACP government claims to want to create jobs but rejects the fundamental economic restructuring that would make that possible.
  • The ANC/SACP government refuses to require State Owned Enterprises to buy from South Africa. Jobs are lost as a result.
  • The ANC/SACP government fails to deliver enough electricity to power the economy. Jobs are lost as a result.

6. The working class must combine forces with all other progressive strata in South Africa to demand a thorough review of South Africa’s energy regime and energy policy. It is clear that the current status is incapable of even simply delivering at current energy demands, let alone allow the country to move speedily and efficiently to more environmentally friendly energy sources to protect future generations.
7. We must condemn in the strongest terms the ANC government’s failure to timely invest and deal with the new energy needs post 1994, even as the working class warned them.
8. The matter of load shedding and its effects and impacts on the working class is a matter the United Front must urgently attend to, and mobilise working class communities for struggle.

Both State Owned Enterprises and Capital fail to support South African production

CTLE (formerly Union Carriage) is a South African company, based in Nigel on the East Rand, which has been designing and manufacturing locomotives, trains and coaches for more than 50 years. Yet, when it came to awarding tenders for the R120 billion locomotive build project, the tender has been awarded to four multinational companies.
The General Secretary, Irvin Jim, has been leading a joint project between Numsa and CTLE to challenge this decision. We have marched, we have written to the Minister of Public Enterprises and we are taking legal action all in the interests of preserving local jobs. We reject the consistent, deliberate pattern of Transnet handing over what should be local content of the rail network infrastructure to overseas companies at the expense of South African jobs. CTLE is facing the possibility of a complete plant closure, sacrificing close to 1,500 jobs.
We have a government which in theory continues to promise industrialisation and promotion of local procurement. But in practice both the government and State Owned Enterprises are taking decisions that are exporting jobs and delivering de-industrialisation. How can we ever trust bilateral agreements, multi-lateral agreements, trade agreements if on a consistent basis we experience continuous destruction of jobs?
Automotive Leather Company is based in Rosslyn. The company produces leather seats for BMW. It plans to move production to Lesotho as they claim it makes better financial sense. The better financial sense they talk about would come from starvation wages of R9 per hour rather than the R48 per hour it currently pays to workers who fall under the Motor Industries Bargaining Council. We are currently engaged in retrenchment consultations, attempting to save jobs by working with the company on a business plan which will cut costs, and improve productivity.
The bosses in the auto industry have demonstrated that they will do everything for maximisation of profit, including shifting production outside of South Africa. This year alone at least 8 companies supplying the Auto Industry have relocated to Lesotho and thousands of jobs have been lost.

O. NEASA and the lockout

We are now under attack from fractions of manufacturing capital that refuse to implement hard fought gains of the working class, won through collective bargaining. NEASA is a prime example.
Thousands of our members have suffered lockouts for a long time from factories organised by NEASA. As a union, we have responded by providing some financial assistance to our members.

P. Work on the United Front

We have seen tremendous progress in this work over the last weeks. Mass based organisations are coming together all round the country.
From the 12th to the 14 of this month we are hosting a “Peoples Assembly” of the United Front, to, among other things, organise for the full formal launch of the United Front early next year.
The Central Committee reaffirmed the key principles of the United Front

  • The United Front we are building is a United Front of working class organizations, whose task is to fight against neo-liberalism wherever and whenever neo-liberalism manifests itself, and for the immediate and radical implementation of the Freedom Charter.
  • The united front has nothing to do with assembling so-called ‘electoral combinations’ of leaders to achieve parliamentary aims. The work of the United Front is in the communities and workplaces, not in parliament.
  • The United Front is not a political party.  It draws within its ranks the working class, irrespective of political affiliation
  • Our overriding objective is to unite the entire working class in a common struggle against the bourgeoisie, and this can be achieved if the working class is organized independent of political affiliation. This approach goes to the heart of the art and science of working in mass organizations.
  • As Marxist-Leninists, we understand that every action of the United Front, or of any of its components, even the most trivial everyday demand, can lead to revolutionary awareness and revolutionary education; it is the experience of struggle that will convince the mass of the working class of the need for socialism.

Q. On the international front

The victory of the Bolivian Socialist Movement

The people of Bolivia returned the Bolivian Movement for Socialism and its much loved President Morales.
The working class must have faith in the struggle for Socialism as expressed in the outcome of elections in Bolivia in particular and other countries in Latin America in general.

The Workers Party victory in Brazil

In the context of its allies accusing the PT of flirting with neo-liberal policies like the ANC and SACP in South Africa, the Workers Party of Brazil (PT) won the election with a reduced majority. In our international study to explore a Movement for Socialism in South Africa, we will be asking penetrating question about the Workers Party’s and the danger of subjecting the working class to capitalist and neo-liberal policies in the name of Socialism.

The struggle for self-determination and independence

The Central Committee appreciated that the continued struggle of the freedom loving people of Western Sahara, Palestine, Swaziland and many other such countries requires an international solidarity campaign, in active struggle, that will ncompel our respective governments and societies to take a clear stance for the liberation and freedom from colonialist and imperialist tendencies

Ferguson in the USA systemic racism

The world has watched the black people of Ferguson and elsewhere demonstrate in the United States how they continue to suffer from systemic racism which defines the USA.
Clearly the class, gender and racial questions remain a deep seated contradiction in the capitalist society of America. We must find ways of contributing to these critical questions confronting the American working class.

We have to talk about the colonial nature of the current Ebola epidemic

The outbreak of Ebola in Africa is a result of the colonial legacy, and the imperialist and capitalist misery imposed on our continent.
As the World Health Organisations said:
“The present [Ebola] epidemic is exceptionally large, not primarily because of biologic characteristics of the virus, but in part because of the attributes of the affected populations, the condition of the health systems, and because control efforts have been insufficient to halt the spread of infection.”
Colonialism and Imperialism (the highest stage of capitalism) produces and reproduces oppression, exploitation and social ills. The working class and the poorest of the poor are subjected to conditions that are sub-human.
Hunger, poor living conditions, poor health, poor sanitation, inadequate provision of water are hallmarks of the brutal capitalist system. Private health care companies will again profit from the Ebola virus on the African continent.

 R. Numsa and 2014

Numsa ends 2014 as a strong union, committed to fully apply its Service Charter adopted in our Special national Congress, and determined to continue to grow as a union, notwithstanding the crisis in Cosatu.
2015 promises to be a tough year for the South African working class. We are ready to play our part, in the struggle for the full emancipation of the world’ peoples in general and the South African working class in particular.
Numsa Central Committee Statement
11th December 2014
Castro Ngobese
National Spokesperson – 083 627 5197