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16 Oct 2008 10:46
The newly elected president of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), Cedric Gina, was expected to address delegates at the union’s elective congress in Vanderbijlpark on Thursday.
“He has been second deputy president all along and delegates trust him to carry the baton as they believe he understands the structures of the union,” said union spokesperson Mziwakhe Hlangani.
Gina emerged victorious on Wednesday night, getting majority votes against outgoing Numsa deputy president Ben Khoza.
Phillemon Bokaba was elected Gina’s first deputy president, while Christine Oliver is the new second deputy president.
Controversial Numsa general secretary Silumko Nondwangu proved to be unpopular with the delegates. Ivin Gim, an Eastern Cape provincial secretary, beat him to the position of national general secretary.
Nondwangu recently reportedly came under fire from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Numsa’s mother body, for being associated with former president Thabo Mbeki’s bid for a third term as ANC president.
This was against Cosatu’s official position of support for Jacob Zuma, who was eventually elected.
Carl Cloete was elected as the union’s deputy general secretary, while Phillemon Shiburi remains the treasurer.
The election, which started on Wednesday morning, formed part of the union’s eighth national congress, which is expected to come to an end on Thursday afternoon.
The congress was attended by 878 delegates representing 200 000 workers.
Since the congress started on Monday, delegates have been addressed by Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana as well as Zuma.
On Tuesday, Zuma touched on the current tussles within the ANC, particularly focusing on the splinter group he accuses of “trying to steal the Freedom Charter”—the document that outlays the ANC priorities and goals.
The union represents hourly paid workers and salaried workers in the automotive, tyre, television and cable manufacturing sectors, as well as petrol attendants and mechanics.—Sapa
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