The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has resolved to form a political party for workers, secretary general Irvin Jim said on Thursday.
“The working class needs its own political party … the working class is leaderless,” he said in Johannesburg.
For now the party would be referred to as the United Front (UF), and its name would be finalised next year.
Jim was briefing reporters about a four-day meeting of the union’s central committee.
He said workers were not in a hurry to get to Parliament, and were not opportunistic in planning to form their own political party.
“There is no turning back from where we stand. We will take time and have political schools, take trips to Latin America to learn more and champion the needs of the working class.”
Numsa deputy secretary general Karl Cloete said the party would contest the 2016 local elections if the party is up and running by then.
“The working class should take power,” he said. Jim said anyone who wanted to defend the workers was welcome in the UF.
Declining ANC support
The ANC’s decreased majority in the general elections showed that workers sought an alternative to the ruling party, said Jim.
“The 10% loss of votes in Gauteng and a mere 48% of votes in Nelson Mandela Bay spells a disaster for all progressive forces … The working class are seeking an alternative to the failed policies of the ANC,” he added.
Jim said it was clear support for the ruling party had decreased.
“The central committee noted that while the ANC celebrates a 62% victory and lays claim that their support has not shifted below 60% [it] is misleading and completely fallacious.”
He said 64% of South Africans did not vote for the ruling party.
“Out of the total potential and registered voters, analysis of election statistics confirms the ANC has been elected into government by a mere 36% of all those who were eligible to vote.” – Sapa