Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Numsa interdict fails in lose-lose situation with Cosatu

The outcome of an urgent interdict launched by National Union of Metal Workers South Africa (Numsa) on Thursday was indicative of the outcomes of the divisions which have plagued trade union federation Cosatu – there are neither winners nor losers in this battle.

Judge Brian Mashile ordered that Numsa’s bid to have Friday’s special central executive committee (CEC) halted, was unsuccessful.

Numsa is expected to be expelled from Cosatu at this meeting because of its decision not to support the ANC in the general elections this year, which went against Cosatu’s constitution.

Mashile said the matter should remain on the roll should Numsa wish to have the court action reinstated.

At the centre of Numsa’s arguments was that it was not clear what charges it faces in Friday’s meeting and would, as a result, be prejudiced. Cosatu argues otherwise.

Federation’s constitution
Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini, on the steps of the high court in Johannesburg at midday on Thursday, remained unrepentant in his views that Numsa has a case to answer. “We are not talking about any charges. We are talking about not complying with the constitution of the federation,” he said.

Dlamini said he was “really happy with the outcome of the court” because it gave weight to “legitimate Cosatu meetings”.

So what are the anomalies that Numsa have committed?

Cosatu has alleged that Numsa’s first crime was its attempt to march on the federation. Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim denied this.

The second charge they face is an undertaking by the union not to pay subscription fees until a special national congress is convened. Jim responded that the union did not honour this undertaking and have been paying their monthly subscription fees. The union said it has a valid reason not to.

‘Neo-liberal policies’
The union has prepared a list of what it calls “neo-liberal” policies and decisions taken by the ANC as a means of defence. “We decided not to spend workers money on a right-wing agenda,” Jim said.

But the most significant charge against Numsa, is its decision to extend the union’s scope into other industries. This, Dlamini said, was the crux of the matter. 

Jim returned that “every union have extended their scope. But they only have a problem with Numsa,” he said.

Also a cross against the union is their decision not to pay a levy towards the South African Communist Party. “We will not pay money to Blade Nzimande who crushes workers,” Jim said.

These five points of concerns or charges – depends who you talk to – may or may not be the only matters that will be raised against Numsa.

Cosatu’s lawyer Pearce Roodt SC refused to accept a suggestion by judge Mashile that Cosatu provided an undertaking not to add anything else in the case against Numsa.

He said Cosatu was bound by the agenda of the meeting, which includes the above listed concerns. But should some CEC members raise anything else, Numsa can come back to court to dispute this.

In the meantime Numsa has decided to delay the paying of this month’s subscription fees, pending the outcome of Friday’s meeting.

On Wednesday, Cosatu issued Numsa with an invoice for R2.2-million. But it is wait-and-see for now. As it has been since August 2013.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

Hawkish Reserve Bank sees South Africa edge towards a rates...

Analysts say the Reserve Bank could start tightening monetary policy as early as next month

More top stories

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

Greenpeace investigation exposes countries trying to dilute climate report

Greenpeace team says it has obtained leaked records of countries asking scientists to water down upcoming scientific report on climate change

Zondo responds to Fraser’s objection to his nomination as chief...

The deputy chief justice said all the former spy boss had to do to respond to bombshell testimony implicating him in state capture was to apply for a turn to testify

Immunocompromised finally prioritised for Covid-19 booster shots

Organ recipients are at greater risk of death from Covid-19, while waiting lists for transplants grow
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×