Gloves off as Numsa takes on Cosatu, dumps ANC

If you believed that the war between Numsa and trade union federation Cosatu leaders couldn’t get any worse, think again, because the metalworkers union was unequivocal that they only getting started.

“We can now confirm cessation of hostilities are over,” said Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim in a press conference following Cosatu’s special central executive committee (CEC) meeting last week, which saw Numsa’s fate hang in the balance.   

Numsa leaders were clear that:

  • The United Front, announced at their 2013 December special conference, will launch in December;
  • They will go back to court to force Cosatu President S’dumo Dlamini to hold a Cosatu special national conference, at which they would use their numbers as the biggest Cosatu affiliate to “deal with S’dumo and his friends”; and
  • They will fight tooth and nail against a scheduled special CEC meeting on November 7 aimed entirely at calling a vote on Numsa’s expulsion from the trade union federation.  

In an 18-page statement Jim went to great lengths to explain that they would not have led Cosatu to become a “toy telephone of the ANC”.   

“We are adamant that our expulsion from Cosatu has been a well-co-ordinated and political attempt by the ANC and [South African Communist Party] faction, to weaken, isolate and destroy Numsa and its leadership because of our socialist revolutionary character,” Jim said.   

Prepared for a fight
Last Thursday, a call to vote on whether Numsa should be expelled from Cosatu was abandoned after Numsa threatened to challenge it in court on the basis that it would have been unconstitutional.   

Another meeting has been called, and while the union is prepared for a fight, there is little doubt that they may lose. “There will be no objectivity and there will be no fair hearing in the Cosatu CEC,” Jim said.   

Numsa is now carefully scrutinising which cards to play, clearly understanding that they could be expelled whether or not they attend the meeting. “We will not run away from any meeting or boycott it,” Jim continued.

In the interim, Cosatu and eight other affiliates sympathetic to them are going to court to demand the special congress to be held. “We will, to that end, immediately reinstate the legal challenge to demand that the current national leadership of Cosatu devote their efforts to ensuring that a special congress is held, to resolve all the matters killing Cosatu,” Jim said.   

Concurrently, the union is forging ahead with its plans to form a workers party, which may or may not contest elections. So far, December has been earmarked as the month it will launch.   

“The United Front is not Numsa … Numsa is just a catalyst,” Jim said. He said the working class did not have an alternative. “Elections is one form of mechanism and it is not ruled out.”   

Numsa deputy secretary general Karl Cloete said Numsa would never transform itself into a political party.

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

Tension over who’s boss of courts

In a letter, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng questions whether Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has acted constitutionally

SABC sued over ‘bad’ clip of Ramaphosa

A senior employee at the public broadcaster wants compensation for claims of ‘sabotage’

Soundtrack to a pandemic: Africa’s best coronavirus songs

Drawing on lessons from Ebola, African artists are using music to convey public health messaging. And they are doing it in style

In East Africa, the locusts are coming back for more

In February the devastating locust swarms were the biggest seen in East Africa for 70 years. Now they’re even bigger

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories