In spite of a disagreement with the ANC about the plan, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) cannot vote for any other party, its deputy secretary general Karl Cloete said on Tuesday.
"Numsa and the Congress of South African Trade Unions [Cosatu] have no desire to vote for any other political organisation in this country," its deputy secretary general Karl Cloete said on Tuesday at a press briefing, where the union reiterated its rejection of the plan.
He said Cosatu had resolved to set up "election machinery" for the ANC for next year's poll, and "Numsa and Cosatu have no desire to support Agang" – referring to Mamphela Ramphele's new political platform.
He reiterated Numsa's objection to the inclusion in the ANC-endorsed national development plan of the policies of the opposition Democratic Alliance.
Attacks on Numsa's opinion – which have included the national planning commission saying secretary general Irvin Jim suffers an "infantile disorder" – should be "based on facts", Cloete said.
He was not being "personal", but blamed minister in the presidency, Trevor Manuel, who is chairperson of the commission, for the collapse of the clothing industry after he "appeased" the World Trade Organisation by allowing the faster reduction of trade tariffs while minister of finance.
'Hugging the hyena'
But Numsa would give praise where it was due – as it did for Manuel's criticism of Eskom's tariff increase application.
"It's not because we are hugging the hyena, but because we welcome that," said Cloete.
He and Jim said that there was a growing tendency in the country to just say "we welcome this", and to not question things.
Numsa believes the national development plan contains little detail on how to tackle industrial and economic development, which it says is skewed in favour of white monopoly capital and does not address transformation from a "special kind of colonialism".
It believes that in adopting the plan, the ANC is moving away from the historic document that sets out the ANC's goals for the nation.
Jim said the plan, for example, had no concrete solutions for South Africa's unemployment and poverty.
It did not address monopolies that become cartels, or the export of scrap metal that stopped other metal manufacturing plants coming online in South Africa. Its job creation policies set out to create work in construction, office cleaning and hairdressing, which he called "hamburger jobs".
It contained no vision for high-tech manufacturing and focused on exporting raw materials.
"We view this as an insult to the industrial proletariat," said Jim.
Union would oppose NDP
Numsa's enemy was not the ANC, he continued, but if the plan was part of the ANC's tactics, the union would oppose the plan.
"We don't want the DA to run this country, that is why we don't want DA policies in the national development plan," he said.
Numsa has compiled a document comparing what it said are the similarities between DA policy and the plan.
Some examples include:
- DA: Conduct a comprehensive analytical review of the current state of South Africa's independent regulators; NDP: Institute far-reaching review of current infrastructure regulators to clarify roles, strengthen accountability, update legislation and regulations, and reform institutional design …
- DA: Establish Job Zones in close proximity to each of South Africa's ports and airports to attract and retain investment in key labour-absorbing industries, in order to stimulate employment creation in these job-rich sectors; NDP: Special intervention areas. These areas require particular forms of state support for specified periods. They include Job Intervention Zones, Growth Management Zones, and Green Economy Zones.
- DA: On financing infrastructure: Increase infrastructure investment to 10% of gross domestic product … ; NDP: On financing infrastructure: Public infrastructure investment at 10% of gross GDP …
The union is currently running a campaign to educate its members in all provinces on the plan. – Sapa