A. NUMSA launch of its National Shopstewards Elections Campaign
Unlike many, Numsa remains deeply democratic and worker controlled:
Members of National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) across South Africa shall be afforded the democratic right to elect or re-elect Numsa Shopstewards in their respective workplaces since the constitutional 4-year term of office of our shop stewards have come to an end.
On Saturday 18 July 2015, thousands of Numsa’s shopstewards; clad in their red union colours will converge at Johannesburg’s City Hall.
They will gather in ululation, singing revolutionary songs and displaying a jovial mood as we officially launch Numsa’s national Shopstewards Elections Campaign under the strategic theme “Engineer your future! Elect a fighting shopsteward to defend your rights and advance the Numsa Moment”. The launch will take place during world-wide celebrations in honour of our revolutionary icon, the late President Nelson Mandela. Cde Mandela occupies a special place in the hearts of workers and the poor of our country.
His revolutionary activism and sacrifices continue to inspire many generations of activists who are involved in struggles to build a just and better world under the leadership of the working class. We shall forever remain indebted to Comrade Mandela and his generation for the rights we enjoy under the current dictatorship of the capitalist class.
As Metalworkers we proudly recollect how Numsa members at Mercedes Benz at its East London plant, freely gave their time and energy to build a red Mercedes Benz for Madiba to mark his release from the Apartheid jails and to thank Nelson Mandela for his selfless sacrifice to the people of South Africa.
The launch will affirm Numsa’s founding traditions and principles, as a worker-controlled; independent; democratic; non-sexist; non-racial and activist based revolutionary trade union. Since our inception many years ago, we have remained true to these founding values which have made us to be a revered “school of excellence” for other trade unions, here at home and beyond our borders.
We are making this charge with sincere humility! The launch will be taking place within the context of massive and qualitative growth of this glorious union of Vuyisile Mini; Jabulile Ndlovu; John Gomomo; Mtutuzeli Tom; Phil Bokaba; Thembi Nabe and countless others in the land of the departed.
This massive growth has placed an enormous responsibility on the union as a whole, particularly to its elected leaders and officials, to work tirelessly in providing quality service to our members, and strengthening our organisational capacity to respond to the many demands of workers drawn from our existing sectors as well as from the new sectors that we now organise, since the extension of our scope of organising.
The launch will be addressed by Numsa’s President Cde Andrew Chirwa and General Secretary Irvin Jim, on behalf of the Numsa Central Committee (CC). Obviously some of Cosatu’s affiliates that agree with the ideological and political posture of Numsa will also attend the Launch. The launch will culminate in the election of local, regional and national office bearers; in the many Congresses that will take place from the beginning of 2016.
As a result, the year 2016, will be a year of Congresses for Numsa, where ordinary members in time honoured democratic tradition, will elect their leaders to represent them and drive the work of the union for the next four years. This represents an opportunity for Numsa members to make their voices heard.
Shopstewards elections present an opportunity for NUMSA members to make their voices heard and to enjoy democracy in their union. We are fully aware, however, that there are forces hell-bent on destroying NUMSA. These forces have already launched their campaigns, largely aimed at trying to destroy our national leadership and split the union. They are conducting whispering campaigns of character assassination of our leaders, and will obviously try to influence the election of shopstewards.
All NUMSA members must be vigilant and guard jealously the unity that has held the union together so far.
B. The COSATU National Special Congress
There comes a time in the life of the working class when it becomes absolutely essential and necessary to separate the wolves from their shepherds. In COSATU, that time has arrived in the COSATU Special National Congress starting tomorrow the 13th of July and scheduled to end the next day, the 14th of July 2015.
The wolves, in the guise of S’dumo Dlamini and his friends, want to lead COSATU to the slaughterhouse – in the working class killing fields of the rightwing leaders of the ANC and SACP!
In the COSATU’s Special National Congress (SNC) taking place this week, we make a bold and humble appeal to the delegates across all unions to advance an agenda that seeks to unify and strengthen the unity of the working class and build genuine organisations of the working class. Any agenda that seeks to legitimize the status quo will be tantamount to handing over the Federation on a silver-platter to our class enemies.
It is the full COSATU constitutional and democratic right of all the delegates to this Congress to demand that any matter they so deem fit be included in the Agenda of the Congress, and to demand full and proper debates on the expulsion of NUMSA and the removal from office of COSATU General Secretary, Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi.
COSATU is not the private political vehicle of S’dumo and his friends and backers in the ANC and SACP. COSATU belongs to all the members of all its affiliates. The delegates at this Congress represent all the members of affiliates of COSATU!
C. S’dumo and Company’s endeavors to preside over a feel good and praise singing Special National Congress (SNC)
S’dumo and his friends will try everything possible to smooth over the fact that they are, very cheaply, handing over the Federation to the rightwing leadership of the ANC/SACP and its neoliberal capitalist government, so that their capitalist bosses can continue and intensify their assaults on the working class and the poor of this country.
The 9 Union’s which called for the Special National Congress (SNC) did so on the basis that:
- Since the 11th National Congress of Cosatu, held in September 2012, not a single resolution adopted by this workers parliament had been carried out. Instead palace politics gripped and detained the once mighty Cosatu in a small boardroom of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) away from the owners of the federation who demanded their own Lula Moment and the radical implementation of the Freedom Charter;
- The March 2013 Cosatu Organising, Campaigns and Collective Bargaining resolutions gathered dust with Cosatu unable to coordinate the living campaigns of its affiliates, unable to campaign against the Eskom tariff hike, unable to defeat the introduction and operation of the e-tolls, unable to push for the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI), unable to challenge the neo-liberal National Budgets since 2013 and unable to challenge the impending privatisation of state owned entities.
- Inconsistent, undemocratic, Stalinist and unconstitutional practices that became a hallmark in Cosatu and some of its affiliates which the purging, unlawful suspensions and expulsions. Corruption in Unions, known by Sdumo and Gang, were overlooked for as long as corrupt union leaders were prepared to support the ne-liberal and right-wing faction in Cosatu.
In NUMSA, we are clear that the Cosatu’s Special National Congress (SNC) agenda as it stands does not seriously address the paralysis that is threatening the impending implosion of this once powerful giant.
Unity, Cohesion and a change in the leadership (Cosatu’s National Office Bearers) are issues that the one-third of Cosatu affiliates constitutionally requisitioned the SNC for. We reject with contempt:
- Numsa’s exclusion from the SNC when we were one of the unions that called for this important workers parliament;
- A whole day of Alliance speeches on 13th July 2015 with very few hours left on the second day to talk to the real issues the SNC was called for;
- The unconstitutional admission of LIMUSA as an affiliate whilst NUMSA’s appeal for reinstatement is pending. This admission of LIMUSA flies thus in the face of COSATU’s own one union-one industry policy and suggests that the rejection of NUMSA’s appeal for reinstatement is sealed given LIMUSA’s admission;
- Losi’s unconstitutional occupation of an NOB position and smuggling her in as a possible Deputy General Secretary of Cosatu.
We request that every delegate in this Congress boldly and freely demand that NUMSA be returned and Comrade Zweli reinstated in his position. Anything short of this will see the end of COSATU.
Kindly also remember that if S’dumo and his friends and backers in the ANC and SACP can do what they have done to NUMSA and Zweli, and get away with it, they can always repeat this to any affiliate and leader of COSATU! YOU MAY BE NEXT!
We reject the bogus and baseless allegations made both by S’dumo Dlamini and charlatan Zingiswa Losi, that NUMSA has set-aside funds intended to disrupt the proceedings of the Special National Congress (SNC). We view these allegations as part of a moronic ploy to send false alarm bells and to influence delegates to rubber-stamp the reactionary decision to expel more than 365 000 workers from the Federation they helped found and develop, and to confirm the expulsion of properly and popularly elected General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi. Furthermore, it’s intended to insulate the current leadership faction in COSATU from its failures to implement the 11th National Congress resolutions, including the programme of action adopted by the Collective Bargaining and Campaigns Conference.
All shopstewards attending the SNC must feel insulted and disrespected by S’dumo’s claim that moneys are set aside to buy the loyalty of delegates with alcohol and drugs.
Stooping so low, and insinuating that money and drugs can buy COSATU shopstewards must be a clear sign of desperation and panic which in and of itself justifies a vote of no confidence in such reckless leadership.
The COSATU’s Special National Congress (SNC) must seriously address the paralysis that is threatening the impending implosion of this once powerful giant. Anything short of this will be a betrayal of the 2 million members of the affiliates of COSATU.
If the Special National Congress (SNC) closes the door on the 365 000 workers who made their contribution in founding and building COSATU, this COSATU Special National Congress will go down in history as a lost opportunity to recapture COSATU from the rightwing predators who are hell bent on destroying COSATU. History will faithfully remember each and every delegate to this Congress!
We are very confident that in this COSATU Special National Congress, voices will be loudly raised in support of the call to return both NUMSA and Zweli back into COSATU.
We remain emboldened by the massive support we continue to enjoy from the unions and hundreds of thousands of members of affiliates of COSATU who have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us since our expulsion in COSATU on that day of the long knives and back-stabbing. They have genuinely adhered to the workers battle cry of “An Injury to One; Is an Injury to All”. No amount of salutary words and praise can do full justice to their bravery, revolutionary consistency and the comradeship we have enjoyed from them.
Every single support we have received has inspired us to remain consistent! History books when written will record their role in defending the unity of COSATU. We are grateful to all these unions, including to our international allies.
D. Blade Nzimande and his friends in the SACP: The SACP past its sell by date!
The South African working class must now have arrived at the inescapable conclusion that the South African Communist Party (SACP) is nothing more than an insulting trading machine incapable of leading any assault on Capitalism and the State to construct a Socialist South Africa.
During the recently concluded South African Communist Party (SACP) 3rd Special National Congress (SNC) at the University of Johannesburg, a number of slanderous, malicious and offensive statements were made intended to delegitimize the current NUMSA leadership and COSATU’s General Secretary Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi. Shockingly, the newly-elected General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Comrade David Siphunzi was not spared from these mud peddling attacks!
As NUMSA, we refuse to be drawn into these poisonous politics. To us this has confirmed our long held views that the SACP’s ideological and political orientation under its current leadership is bankrupt.
We have consistently maintained that the paralysis in COSATU, among other deep seated systemic, structural and ideological class contradictions is also a product of the divisive role played by the SACP and some leaders in the ANC.
The SACP under Blade Nzimande and Jeremy Cronin (both serving in the South African capitalist state as minister and deputy minister respectively) have succeeded in fomenting divisions in COSATU, in order to tame COSATU into a lapdog and conveyor-belt of right wing and reactionary policies advanced by the fading ANC/SACP government.
The sad results of their divisive roles are that workers no longer have a fighting weapon to agitate for their demands and aspirations. This has opened floods for the bosses to willy-nilly retrench workers and for government to continue imposing reactionary policies to consign workers to more poverty and despair. The most classic ongoing example is the current month long MTN strike, for which COSATU has failed to provide practical solidarity.
The SACP is responsible for the “rapture” in Cosatu that happened immediately after its watershed 11th National Congress held in 2012. The SACP’s intention, under Blade Nzimande, is abundantly clear: it seeks to liquidate all working class formations, and co-opt all critical voices to be part of reciting the ideological fog of a “good story to tell” in order for its leadership to continue benefit from the political patronage dispensed by the ANC, including lame attempts at making the fading ANC look good in the eyes of workers and the poor.
NUMSA is systematically being targeted by the SACP because we refuse to be choristers and liars to workers, knowing very well that there is no “good story to tell”, amidst the deepening levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality confronting the working class every moment of their lives. As NUMSA, we call on workers and the poor to reject the extremely reactionary leadership and ideological outlook of the SACP, since it is not committed in unifying and building a strong COSATU, which is independent, fighting, militant and committed to its own programmes and campaigns.
Just like the SACP that is deeply embedded in the neoliberal State, that has worsened the socio-economic living conditions of the Black and African working class, COSATU under S’dumo Dlamini has been reborn again as a yellow trade union Federation, that acts to send the working class into a deep sleep, amidst the brutality they face on daily basis, confronted with failed social and economic policies of the ANC/SACP government.
We have never been afraid of the right wing, opportunistic and state parasitic SACP leadership. Rather, we have consistently exposed the ideological bankruptcy and political betrayal of the working class that has seen this SACP leadership of Blade and his cronies (no pun intended!) bury the SACP in the equally bankrupt and corrupt ANC right wing leadership and neoliberal capitalist government. For this, Blade and his choir have vowed to liquid NUMSA leadership in general and our General Secretary Comrade Irvin Jim in particular. In the process, they do not care if the casualty will be either COSATU or the 360 000 strong metalworkers union. We will neither retreat nor be cowed by Blade and his diabolical attacks on us.
E. Sdumo’s propaganda on the United Front:
In trying to penetrate the 9 Unions, S’dumo and Gang embarked on a very cheap yet poisonous propaganda suggesting that NUMSA’s call for a United Front represents in-itself the establishment of a political party – Nothing can be further from the truth.
The United Front, just like the United Democratic Front is a platform where workers and communities shall in struggle fight government’s neo-liberal policies and demand the most resolute and radical implementation of the Freedom Charter. In this regard the United Front is not a political party and has demonstrated its capability to organise campaigns, involving workers and communities, among others involving:
- The youth wage subsidy as a false solution to youth unemployment;
- Fighting against the 2015 austerity national budget;
- An alternative state of the nation address;
- Anti-corruption campaign;
- Anti-Xenophobia campaign;
- No to load shedding and so on.
The United Front is thus no different to what Cosatu itself attempted when it convened a National Civil Society Campaign in 2010 but cowardly walked away from as soon as the ANC and SACP denounced it.
The MTN strike:
Numsa wish to call on all South Africans to consider a 1-hour ban and usage of their MTN accounts on a date that we shall discussed with our sister union Communication Workers Union (CWU), as a practical solidarity action in support of MTN workers who are on strike for a living wage.
This tactic was used to much effect by MTN workers in Nigeria and has huge potential to eat deep into MTN’s profits. This tactic could be repeated as many times over until MTN management meet the demands of striking workers.
We remain committed to pursuing the mandate from our members of exploring the formation of an independent revolutionary socialist political organ of the working class that will be pursuing the class struggle in South Africa, with and for the working class, for socialism. We are certain that this new political organ will not only raise high levels of socialist consciousness among the working class, but it will also give the much needed political confidence to confront the logic of capital in the workplace, communities and in broader society.
We are confident that the working class can never be fooled forever! History and justice are on our side. We shall overcome and triumph!
Socialism is certain!
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