Mantashe: Numsa’s expulsion is bad for Cosatu and society

The ANC won’t take the blame for the divisions in trade union federation Cosatu, which led to the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) at the weekend.

This was the message from ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, who expressed concern over the events but said it was up to Cosatu as to how it handled the issue.

“We reaffirm our position that the expulsion of Numsa from the federation is bad for Cosatu itself, it is bad for the ANC, bad for the alliance, the progressive forces, as well as for society in general,” he told journalists in Johannesburg on Monday. At the same time, Mantashe said he would not dictate to Cosatu leaders.

“All we can say is that these decisions are bad for Cosatu. It is up to the federation to smell the coffee and reverse its decision,” he said.

Mantashe’s comments that the ANC was “disappointed” over Numsa’s expulsion come as Numsa’s general secretary Irvin Jim said Mantashe was “crying at the wrong funeral”.

Mantashe ‘orchestrated’ the expulsion
“Suddenly the issue of the dismissal of Numsa is a tragedy. Mantashe can look for the nearest cliff and jump,” Jim told reporters on Sunday.

He added that Numsa’s expulsion was orchestrated by Mantashe himself.

Mantashe would not get into specifics, but denied that he or the ANC ever intended for Cosatu to expel Numsa. “The attacks on the ANC by Numsa are unfounded,” he said.

Mantashe reiterated the recommendations of the ANC’s task team that mediated in the dispute between Numsa and Cosatu, and added it was up to the labour federation to implement those recommendations or not.

“Among the suggestions offered was that Numsa reverses its decision to extend its scope beyond its identified industry, and subject itself to the discipline, principles and regulations of the federation,” he said.


“In the context of seeking to preserve unity, Cosatu was also advised to be sensitive to the political implications of the case facing its general secretary [Zwelinzima Vavi]. As such, the federation should not be mechanical in its approach [to the Numsa issue] but mindful of its long-term implications.”

Numsa has persistently called for a Cosatu special national congress to deal with what it has termed the paralysis in the organisation.

Consolidating unity
Earlier on Monday, seven other Cosatu unions, which voted against Numsa’s expulsion, added their voices to the call for a special national congress.

Mantashe said the ANC task team was of the opinion that a special national congress to “test the strength of factions” would be divisive for Cosatu.

“The worst thing you can do to yourself is go to the special national congress to fight it out. You will go there with the instruction to destroy yourself,” he said.

It is unclear what the ANC believes is the way forward for Cosatu.

“The ANC will continue to engage the federation to conduct a detailed analysis of the impact of this decision. The ANC will further engage with all the affiliates with a view of consolidating unity,” Mantashe said.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

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

Advertising

The recovered remain cautious

People who have survived Covid-19 are not going through life carefree. They are still taking all the preventative measures

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella

South African farmers can now help to feed the needy by donating part of their bumper maize crop to delivery number 418668

Ethics and internal financial controls add value to the public sector

National treasury is rolling out accounting technician training programmes to upskill those who work in its finance units in public sector accounting principles

Lessons from South Korea for Africa’s development

'Leaders can push people through, through their vision and inspiration, based on their exemplary actions'

Old Mutual announces digital AGM

An ambitious plan to create Africa’s biggest digital classroom is intended to address one of the continent’s biggest challenges — access to education

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday