Numsa Central Committee statement

The Numsa Central Committee (CC) met from 20 – 24 April 2015, in Johannesburg, Gauteng province. The CC was attended by the National Office Bearers (NOBs), Regional Office Bearers (ROBs) from Numsa’s nine (9) Regions, and directly elected Central Committee members worker delegates.
The CC received and processed the Secretariat, International, Organisational and Financial Reports from the National Office Bearers (NOBs). The CC was characterised by robust, frank and comradely discussions, given the current turmoil and deliberate weakening and fragmentation of the progressive trade union movement, particularly Cosatu.
The CC reaffirmed its desire and commitment to pursue the Numsa Special National Congress resolutions, as duly mandated by workers.
Below are some of the key areas dealt with by the CC.

  1. Numsa will forge ahead with the task of the creation of a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary working class political party 

Numsa’s Special National Congress resolution instructed this Central Committee to explore the formation of an independent socialist political organ of the working class. The Central Committee received a comprehensive and detailed report from the Movement for Socialism Task Team on the political work done thus far.
Consistent with the Numsa Marxist-Leninist ideological perspectives and the Special National Congress Resolutions, the Central Committee resolved to forge ahead with the establishment of an independent, revolutionary socialist workers political organ.
However, to complete this task, the National Office Bearers were mandated to take forward this work through a structured internal discussion process in the union, through policy workshops at national and regional level and the speedy conclusion of international study tours.

  1. United front launch in June 2015 

The central committee having received a progress report on the  good work of the United front in communities and having taken stock of its campaigns that are rooted  in working class struggles, it endorsed the formal launch of the united front that will take place at end of June 2015.
The central committee continues to hold the view that the  united front must continue to be a front to take up struggles of the working class and the poor and link shop-floor struggles with community struggles, and that the United Front working with community organizations should be able to at an appropriate time  to take a decision  to support individual working class leaders  in the coming 2016 local government elections at strategic municipalities who are struggling against neo-liberal agendas and who are fighting  for full implementation of the freedom charter to be councillors in all strategic municipalities to champion working class struggles at the level of the local state.
The central committee called on the united front to lead and take  up the campaign  against closure of municipalities and call for a new re-demarcation of municipalities away from  the current clustering of poor municipalities and call for the increase in funding allocation by the national Treasury to poor municipalities who have no capacity to collect revenue and to deliver services to our people.
The central committee agreed that the launch  of the United front will take a form of a conference whose outcomes will be delivered to a rally that will take place in Gauteng and all Gauteng regions are task to deliver both metal workers and the working class in the launch of the UF .

  1. The CC was clear about who is responsible for the xenophobia violence in the country 

The CC took place against the backdrop of the ugly and inhuman xenophobic attacks that have thrown our country into a state of shameful turmoil.
In Numsa, we have consistently maintained and repeated over the last 20 years: the inherited colonial triple crisis of poverty, inequality and unemployment and the colonial status of the African masses in post 1994 South Africa will continue to deepen unless we break new ground in destroying the inherited colonial and white dominated economy.
Further, the ANC/SACP government neoliberal economic policies have failed to reverse the de-industrialisation which has further worsened the already existing crisis of unemployment.
In our view, xenophobia and its related violence largely confined to the African working class communities are the direct result of the following:

    • Post 1994, the failure by the ANC/SACP government to implement measures to defeat imperialism and destroy our deep-rooted colonial social relations which condemn Africans to their colonial status and inevitable poverty, unemployment and victims of extreme inequalities.
    • The failure, in post 1994 South Africa, to address and resolve the national question through the radical implementation of the Freedom Charter, and thereby introduce and entrench a new revolutionary culture in South Africa.
    • The combined weight of the continued colonial status of Africans (dispossessed, dominated and supper exploited), the triple crisis of mass unemployment and poverty and extreme inequalities and the global crisis of capitalism which simply thoroughly dehumanise the African masses.

These historic, continuing, systemic and structural foundations of the inferior and colonial status of the African majority, in the absence of any emancipatory, revolutionary and progressive ideology have made them to turn against their fellow brothers and sisters from the rest of the African continent who are also in a very similar situation, in the savage struggle to survive.
The real enemy who should be targeted is the combined forces of imperialism and the South African capitalist class and its ANC/SACP backers in government who are sustaining the horrible colonial status of black people in general and Africans in particular.
We condemn these attacks, unreservedly. Those who are carrying them out are misguided and confused. They must stop. The fundamental truth must be recognised: It is the failure of the ANC/SACP government to radically implement the Freedom Charter and thereby make fundamental changes to the economy and transform the lives of all South Africans that is at the heart of xenophobia and its violence.
The Central Committee resolved to do the following, about xenophobia:

  • Wage a sustained ideological and political campaign to win the hearts and minds of the working class and the poor.
  • Together with our allies amongst Cosatu affiliates and the United Front, engage with those who are expressing such anger and encourage them to redirect their anger against the proper target – the neoliberal agenda of capital and its allies in the ANC and SACP government.
  • Mobilise our networks in the African trade union movement to act in a united, class conscious manner against xenophobia with a view to work towards the convening of an African conference against Xenophobia, paid for by capital, the real cause of xenophobia.

The CC welcomed and appreciated the widespread public condemnation of these attacks against foreign nationals and fully supports the demonstrations geared towards calling for calm and re-integration back into our communities.
The CC has called on our structures and members to participate fully in a number of anti-xenophobia demonstrations that will be taking place across the country.
The CC rejected the poisonous utterances and ill-conceived recommendations by the ANC’s Secretary General, Mr Gwede Mantashe, that foreign nationals should be placed in “camps” and be “vetted” before they can enter South Africa. Such recommendations are anti working class, in a world in which capital moves very rapidly and freely across borders but labour does not. We further find Mantashe’s parochial suggestion is not consistent with the Freedom Charter injunction which clearly states that “South Africa belongs to all those who live in it”.

  1. Marikane Masacasre : Farlam Commission Report

The CC has been disgusted by the fact that the Marikane Massacre Farlam Commission  report and its findings and recommendations have not been made public.  Instead it has been made a private affair of the President by the commission we are demanding that Farlam commission must make both its find and recommendations public .
It was President Jacob Zuma’s government that killed workers in Marikane.  In the middle of such a Massacre and in the face of such a crisis he appointed a commission whose task and mission was suppose to lay bare the facts on the roles of the police, and the leadership of the police starting from the Minister of Police at the time Nathi  Mathethwa, the current commissioner Riah  Phiyerha, General Zukiswa Mbombo the provincial North West commissioner and the role Played by Cyril Ramaphosa in this massacre.
We also need to know whether the commander in chief of the armed forces of the South African republic President Jacob Zuma  had a role to play in giving orders to the police to shoot to Kill.  The commission, must tell the South African public who gave orders to shoot to kill .
The Numsa central committee demand that Farlam the leader of the commission must call the press conference to tell the SA public the outcome of the commission report.  We can’t be subjected to Jacob Zuma who knows the outcome as his government is conflicted.  This is so critical if our country’s constitution which has separation of powers is respected by all of us.  We firmly believe that there is no  government that can justly claim Authority over information of this nature.  This must be done urgently and with immediately we want want this report as it doesn’t belong to JZ and his cabinet – it belongs to the SA public .

  1. We reject load shedding: Eskom must do its job! 

The CC also discussed the ongoing spate of load shedding engulfing our country, as a result of the ANC government’s failure to invest in new power generating capacity and Eskom’s own inefficiency and leadership failures. The CC recognised that this crisis is having dire consequences for the South African economy. It will lead to employers moving to shed jobs in many industries, leaving the majority of the working class and poor households in even deeper misery, poverty and starvation, amidst the unresolved crises of poverty, unemployment and inequalities in our country.
The CC further recognized that at the core of Eskom’s crisis is also a power struggle amongst the predatory elites for the total control of Eskom and the contracts that they want to allocate to themselves and their friends. This situation has contributed to undermining Eskom’s core mandate of electrifying the country.
Eskom has now been downgraded to junk status by the credit rating agencies of global capitalism largely due to poor leadership, in our opinion.
The CC made the following points on Eskom, emphatically:
We reject load-shedding: Eskom structures and leadership are responsible to supply electricity. Instead, they are imposing a regime of load-shedding which is a straightforward attack on the conditions of the working class and the poor. We reject that regime. They cannot transfer the problems they created onto us, the poorest people in society.
We demand that companies pay workers in full, with no deductions for load-shedding. If the companies want to recover their costs, they must demand them from those who are responsible – the state and Eskom. They must not take them from black and African workers who are still victims of the apartheid wage gap.
We reject the proposed tariff increase: As the single most important provider of electricity to the economy, Eskom must service the rest of the economy. It is only blind, dogmatic adherence to neoliberal principles that obliges Eskom to operate as a commercial entity.
Eskom must be proper supported by the state to produce the electricity required for the economy to grow, at a price that encourages industry to grow. It must stop chasing the balance sheet and start chasing industrial development.
We must hold the leadership to account: we need a credible and rapid enquiry into Eskom. To be credible, such an inquiry must include all the major constituencies. Our members and their families are suffering. Basic democracy would suggest that they have the right to know the real cause of their suffering.
We demand to know about the composition of the so called ‘war room’. We demand full disclosure of the interests of everybody in the war-room. We need to know whose interests they are serving.
We demand that Eskom opens its books for public scrutiny: we must see the details of Eskom’s contracts for fuel, of the accounts for projects such as Medupi, of the bonuses paid to Eskom’s Directors and Senior Managers while those same Directors and Managers impose restrictions on workers’ wages!
The books must be opened down to the last detail so that we can see for ourselves what has been happening at Eskom.
We reject the threatened punishment of the working class and the poor through suspending service to their Municipalities: all levels of government, together with Eskom, are responsible for the chaos at Eskom and its failures. Again they want to visit their collective failure on us, as the customers of the municipalities, by blaming each other as different levels of government. It will be our lights that they switch off. And it will happen in the poorest communities, not in the suburbs.
We reject the Acting Chairperson: the Central Committee rejected the appointment of Dr Ben Ngubane as Interim Chairperson of the Eskom Board and we call for his immediate withdrawal from the Board. During his tenure as SABC Board Chairperson, the SABC was looted of millions of Rand. What is this patronage that allows such a discredited man to be put in such a leadership position in such a vital organization when it is in crisis?
Numsa will continue to demand the facts from the board of Eskom and Minister Lynn Brown about the suspension of the senior executive as we don’t accept flimsy reasons that were advanced to justify  the reckless decisions to suspend the management.  Furthermore we reject the recycling of the board members and  CEOs of parastatals.  Numsa experience with Brian Molefe is a terrible one.
We know  him as a union basher at Transnet  under his leadership we witnessed a fifty billion tender being allocated to two Chines companies, China North rail and China South, instead of giving work to a South African company, CTLE that has capacity to manufacture locomotives and Trains.  Such a decision led to +-200 jobs being lost at CTLE.  So Numsa has no confidence in Brian Molefe.  As a union we don’t endorse his appointment.  

  1. Cosatu’s CEC decision to expel Cosatu General Secretary 

The CC reflected on the decision by Cosatu’s CEC that met on 30-31 March 2015, at Cosatu House, to expel the General Secretary  Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi from his democratically-elected position by workers. The expulsion of Vavi, follows right on the heels of the expulsion of the 365 000 workers represented by our union.
The CC reaffirmed its decision to reclaim Cosatu, from the right-wing faction led by S’dumo Dlamini and his Gang. Numsa will be working with other unions, to embark on massive mass roll-actions, in line with the resolutions and campaigns, as agreed and resolved by workers during the last Cosatu’s 10th National Congress in 2012.

  1. Public sector workers wage negotiations  

The CC fully supports the demands of the public sector workers for improved conditions of service and wages. South Africa needs a motivated, well paid and happy public sector if it is to deal with the problems of our inherited colonial society. We reject with the contempt it deserves the argument that public sector workers are overpaid and their wage bill contributes to inflation and the budget deficit.

  1. May Day activities 

For the first time in 30 years we will not be celebrating May Day with all the affiliates of Cosatu united. The Central Committee has endorsed the May Day 2015 activities as agreed by Numsa and our allies.
The CC has agreed to hold massive protest marches in Durban [KwaZulu-Natal]; Johannesburg [Gauteng] and East London [Eastern Cape], to coincide with the May Day 2015 celebrations. The protest marches will be used to raise key socio-economic demands of the working class and the poor, amidst the neoliberal and capitalist onslaught faced by the workers and the poor, post 1994 negotiated political settlement. The protest marches will be led by the National Office Bearers (NOBs) of our allies and Numsa NOBs.
The CC is making a public appeal to all workers, irrespective of their union logos or colours of t-shirts, to be part of these historic marches in these three major cities of our country. The current moment of poverty, inequality, unemployment and rampant corruption, all badly affecting the working class, calls on our workers to unite and use their collective power to reverse this barbarity.

  1. Message to Auto Employers

The central committee after serious reflection about the Auto Sector employers scandalous and greed exploitative agenda that seek all the time to reverse and attack  rights of workers despite this sector enjoying Government  support in the MIDP and now APDP resolved to warn the Auto employers to stop their shenanigans of attacking hard own gains of workers in the auto sector value chain who supply the Auto Sector with components .
We call on all OEMs to desist from this naked greed of a push to cut  workers wages by half such a move is rejected by contempt it deserve it is wrong to force component supplier workers to accept  colonial wage rates  that are extremely low infect such a stance  and we want to warn employers that we might be left with no option but to embark on a rolling mass action in defense  of workers benefits and conditions and we don’t rule out a strike if employers are not coming to the table and stop this unilateralism .
10. On the passing on of John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu 
The CC learned with profound sadness of the death of our soccer great and legend John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu, who died after battling with cancer. The CC sends its condolences to the Moshoeu family, Kaizer Chiefs, AmaZulu, Alexandra United and SA Football Players Union, on their sad loss. Our great, Shoes, as he was affectionally known, in soccer circles, owing to his sharp magnetic soccer boots and dazzling skills, was a great soccer player and role model to our youth.
His death is a massive loss to our country; wherever he is in the nooks and crannies of the universe, he joins other great soccer stars in the land of the departed, such Ace Ntsoelenge, Isaac Shakes Kungoane; Steve Kalamazoo Mokone and other greats. May his fighting spirit rest in peace!
NUMSA Central Committee
23rd April 2015
Castro Ngobese
National Spokesperson
Mobile: +2783 627 5197
Tel (dir): +2711 689 1702
Twitter: @castrongobese