Numsa’s NEC was attended by Numsa National Office Bearers (NOBs) and members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) which comprises all 9 Numsa regions as well as Numsa National Sub-structures such as the Numsa National Youth Forum (NUMSAYF), National Education Committee (NEDCOM) and National Gender Desk.
The Numsa NEC coincided with very significant dates in the history of the progressive trade union movement in South Africa. These important historical events have continued to influence and shape the future struggles of the South African working class and the rural poor:
- Friday 06th November 2015 marked the 51st anniversary of the execution by the Apartheid regime of our revolutionary martyr and celebrated icon, Comrade Vuyisile Mini, a militant trade unionist and Metalworker leader. Cde Mini continues to occupy a special role in the hearts and minds not only of Numsa members, but also in the entire progressive and revolutionary working class of South Africa, for his sterling role and contribution in building worker organisations from below.
- Saturday 07th November 2015 marked a year of Numsa’s expulsion from Cosatu. It was the first anniversary of a tragic chapter in the entire history of the trade union movement, when 365 000 workers were chased out of the home they had built and lived in for decades since 1985. The dismissal of Numsa has effectively spelt the end of a militant, revolutionary, anti-imperialist, socialist oriented and Freedom Charter championing COSATU. Cosatu, to the working class, is as good as dead!
As is our tradition and custom, the NEC discussed and reviewed the organizational, administration, finances, membership and political work of the union, among other things. Below we highlight some of the important work the NEC dealt with.
1. Numsa fight against employers who default on paying over union subscriptions:
The NEC took a very serious view of employers who willfully withhold subscriptions deducted from Numsa members but fail to pay these dues over to Numsa. We are aware that this forms part of the assault on Numsa to cause it to fail to carry out its lawful trade union activities. The NEC resolved to fight this practice among employers with everything we have got.
We have resolved that in 2016 Numsa shall run a vigorous campaign and deal with all employers who fail to hand over our members subscription fees. We are serving notice to employers who are using this backward and criminal attack on the union: pay up, or we shall deal with you in the work place!
2. The Numsa response to the Free Market Foundation’s assault on collective bargaining:
The NEC resolved that we shall spare no effort to fight the Free Market Foundation, NEASA and gang who are fighting tooth and nail to reverse our hard won gains of centralized bargaining and the formation of bargaining councils to police industries where workers bear the brunt under exploitative bosses.
In February 2016 we promise to take to the streets to strike to wake up employers to the reality that we shall not accept colonial and apartheid type behaviour in South Africa or anywhere else in the world, and that we shall defend our hard won labour rights.
3. Numsa and our anti-corruption & job losses strike held on 14th October 2015:
The Numsa NEC congratulated workers who responded very positively to the Numsa call to partake in a national call to fight against job losses and corruption in South Africa. The NEC re-affirmed Numsa’s correct political and ideological viewpoint that corruption is an inherent part of the Capitalist State and Society which can only be finally eradicated by the overthrow of Capitalism itself.
4. Numsa 10th National Congress in 2016:
The NEC appreciated the work done thus far in carrying out Numsa shopsteward elections, across all the union’s sectors in all 9 Numsa regions and 52 Locals.
The NEC emphasized that this process provides an opportunity for workers on the shopfloor to exercise their right to elect their delegates and their leaders and representatives in the most democratic fashion that no other trade union in South Africa can match. It is the exercise of the purest, direct workers democracy and will culminate in;
- Newly elected Numsa Local Office Bearers
- Newly elected Regional Office Bearers
- Newly elected National Office Bearers
Numsa does not fear but encourages and practices worker control and democratic leadership elections. We regard this as the only democratic way to promote and advance unity and cohesion in our union. This is also what our Numsa Constitution demands of us.
5. The United Front and the 2016 Local government elections:
The NEC mandated the Numsa National Office Bearers to engage the United Front national working committee in respect of the following;
(a) Numsa shall engage its members to participate in a voluntary debit order campaign.
(b) The policy perspectives of the United Front in defining what the United Front is all about.
(c) The NEC reaffirmed its December 2013 SNC resolution on elections.
(d) How the 2016 local government elections ought to be approached, and the December CC shall make a final determination.
6. Numsa NEC on Cosatu:
The last Numsa NEC held in July 2015 resolved to consult our members once more on whether Numsa should campaign to remain within and reclaim Cosatu. The July 2015 Numsa NEC specifically asked two questions:
- ‘Should Numsa pursue an appeal at the forthcoming Cosatu Ordinary National Congress?’ Delegates to the November 2015 Numsa NEC brought back mandates from Numsa 9 Regions and 52 locals. The answer was a resounding ‘No’.
In answering this question, from the Numsa rank and file, the unanimous response and mandate from the nine (9) Numsa Regions were as follows;
(a) There is no point in pursuing an appeal in the Cosatu National Congress since the July 2015 Cosatu Special National Congress demonstrated the extent to which the Sdumo clique and their cohorts would go to (1) undermine and disrespect the Federations’ Constitution and (2) Do everything in their power to exclude Comrade Vavi and Numsa from participating in Cosatu to carry out the decisions of the September 2012 Cosatu National Congress resolutions as well as the March 2013 Cosatu Organising, Campaigns and Collective Bargaining Conference resolutions.
(b) According to the Cosatu Office Bearer clique’s view with respect to an appeal regarding Numsa’s reinstatement, Numsa would have no delegation present at the November 2015 Cosatu National Congress and would thus not be able to present constitutional and procedural reasons for why Numsa’s expulsion was unconstitutional, unprocedural and unlawful.
(c) There is no point in appealing to a Cosatu National Congress which has been captured by right-wing and reactionary forces determined to support the ANC/SACP government, despite its neoliberal, capitalist, anti-working class policies such as e-tolling, privatisation, allowance of labour broking (which is tantamount to human trafficking), illicit capital outflows, imports which are killing local manufacturing, retail and services, abandonment of the Freedom Charter, and so on.
(d) There is no point in appealing to a Cosatu National Congress which will, like the Cosatu Special National Congress, exclude the genuinely elected Cosatu General Secretary and Numsa. We are more than convinced, as we were in relation to the July 2015 Cosatu SNC that the Cosatu November 2015 National congress shall be dominated by hand-picked delegates, and a stage-managed “democratic arrangement” with votes by show of hands.
(e) We have fulfilled the directive of the December 2013 Numsa Special National Congress to do everything possible to save and reclaim Cosatu as an independent, militant, democratic, worker controlled, anti-imperialist and socialist orientated federation.
In this regard, the Numsa November 2015 NEC thus resolved;
- a) That, as Numsa, we have undertaken all efforts to reclaim Cosatu but that this has been in vain.
- b) In executing the December 2013 Numsa Special National Congress resolutions, we must fast track the process of building a New Independent Labour Federation, particularly since 76% of employed workers remain outside of trade unions and their respective federations.
- Again the July 2015 Numsa NEC asked a question to all 9 Numsa regions and 52 locals: should Numsa continue with its court case to set aside its expulsion from Cosatu?
The answer from all 9 Numsa Regions and its 52 Locals again was a resounding no.
We cannot waste any more of workers’ money in trying to get a court to force the federation to take us back when it is clear that Cosatu has been hijacked by the ANC led Alliance turning Cosatu into a labour desk of the ANC and the SACP.
The NEC fully agreed with the observations of former NUM General Secretary, and former ANC Secretary General and South African President Kgalema Mothlanthe when he said last week:
“There is no alliance, there is one organisation existing inside the integuments of erstwhile independent organisations, but today to talk about Cosatu as an independent organisation from the ANC or the SACP I think is a delusion.”
Numsa abandoned the ANC and was also expelled from Cosatu for precisely ariving at this correct political position, among other important things! The alliance is dead.
7.The student revolt:
In summary, the Numsa NEC made the following conclusions and way forward in relation to the recent student revolt;
- a) The NEC saluted the heroic #FeesMustFall movement for embarking on a just struggle for free education for all as enshrined in the Freedom Charter. As a militant trade union, we fully appreciate the alliance that has grown between the students and workers in South Africa on campuses throughout the country. On campus after campus, the cry has gone out: ‘No to outsourcing’. And on campus after campus the university managements are being forced to agree to directly employ those who work for them. This #FeesMustFall movement has reasserted the leading role of the fearless youth. They have taken the lead in implementing a successful campaign against outsourcing.
- b) The Numsa NEC deplored the cowardly, ideologically bankrupt and indefensible reactionary role played by the South African Communist Party General Secretary and Minister of Higher Education, who failed to positively respond to the demands of students who were merely articulating the essence of the Freedom Charter. Blade Nzimande and his SACP have been thoroughly exposed for what they have become: defenders of the agenda of the neo-liberal capitalist ANC government in the name of a dead Alliance.
- c) The Numsa NEC rejected the populist claim by Nehawu to have secured insourcing agreements for university workers. They are so out of touch with workers employed at universities, employed through labour brokers, that the struggles of workers had to be taken up by students.
- d) No opportunism which seeks to hijack the student revolt can be accepted and tolerated and therefore the United Front, which was called upon to combine worker and community struggles, must find concrete ways in which the student revolt and uprising, community struggles and worker campaigns are consolidated to advance working class struggle for the realization of the Freedom Charter, and for a socialist South Africa.
- e) In the Numsa Special National Congress in 2013, we resolved to organize all workers along the value chains of our industries. We agreed that part of that would be to bring back into Numsa all those outsourced service workers in our companies, who work alongside our members.
It is time to turn that into a reality. It is time for Numsa members across the country to say along with the students: ‘No to outsourcing’, ‘all workers in the company should be directly employed’.
- f) We salute the militant university students for demanding the full implementation of the Freedom Charter demand for free, quality and transformed education. No longer should the children of the working class and the poor be forced to suffer the continuing apartheid inequalities and content in education, and be excluded from learning on account of fees.
- g) We salute and appreciate the solidarity students received from progressive academics and ordinary university workers in all campuses.
h) We condemn the brutality of the police and private university security companies against peaceful demonstrators exercising their constitutional rights. It is the latest in a litany of such brutality that stretches back to before Marikana. In this regard South Africa is on the slippery slide towards a security state that tramples upon the constitutional rights of citizens.
8. The Job Loss Bloodbath:
The NEC was seriously concerned at the state of the South Africa steel industry, but more specifically the state of the manufacturing sector. The NEC supported the tireless work being done by the National Office Bearers to save jobs both in the short and the long-term.
The NEC called on the ANC/SACP government to intervene to save the tens of thousands of jobs that the industry’s collapse will cause. Numsa’s call remains the
- Nationalization of the steel production industry under workers’ control and the entire value chain, such as coal, iron ore, manganese and chrome.
- There are public funds in the IDC and PIC and such funds must begin to benefit the working class and not a tiny elite for their personal accumulation of wealth.
- Took a dim view of the rush by the national Treasury to want to impose carbon tax in the middle of the job loss blood bath without consulting all parties as this policy may add to job losses.
9. Exploring the Movement for Socialism:
The Numsa NEC accepted that we are on course to create a revolutionary working class governing alternative to the ANC and SACP and therefore;
(a) Outstanding international studies to Latin America and Africa shall be undertaken.
(b) Training of a 100 cadre shall be fast tracked through a range of political schools.
(c) The Numsa CC (working with other socialist formations) shall conclude on the kind of working class political organ required to transform South Africa into a Socialist Republic of South Africa.
10. On an International Front:
- The NEC condemned the vilification and disparagement of migrants who are flocking to the West in the hope of saving their lives and dignity only to be met with xenophobic hostility and violence.
- The NEC noted the United States of America’s endeavors to blackmail South Africa with respect to SA’s export of chickens and the threat to impose some form of sanctions against South Africa. This demonstrates the Imperialist and bullying tendencies of the USA. As Numsa we shall support the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and all other sister farmworkers unions to fight this imperialist intervention.
- We note the victory of Comrade Jeremy Corbyn, a socialist, as leader of the British Labour Party.
We are determined to prove all our detractors who define us in minimalist terms wrong. The NEC said in no uncertain terms, that, there is no turning back from our Special National Congress Resolutions. We are forging ahead, with our struggles for a socialist South Africa, and a socialist world. The Numsa National Office Bearers were charged to continue to be torchbearers of the all the resolutions of Numsa Constitutional Structures.
9th November 2015
Castro Ngobese, Numsa National Spokesperson, 083 627 5197