Numsa’s replacement is waiting in the wings

The ink is hardly dry on the expulsion letter of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), and union federation Cosatu is trying to fill the vacuum with a new affiliate, the Metal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Mawusa).

Mawusa, which has met all the requirements for acquiring a certificate of registration from the department of labour, is set to submit a formal letter requesting inclusion into the Cosatu family by this weekend.

The new union is the brainchild of former Numsa president Cedric Gina, who broke ranks with the radical trade union in November last year, citing a breakdown in his working relationship with general secretary Irvin Jim.

Despite Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini telling the media this week that Numsa could still appeal its expulsion to next year’s congress, sources within the federation said it was a “done deal” that Mawusa was replacing Numsa. It was formed in July, months before Numsa’s expulsion, and registered with the labour department by the end of October.

‘Political ideas’
In an interview with the Mail & Guardian this week, Gina said Mawusa was attracting metalworkers who did not subscribe to “Numsa’s political ideas”.


“Our main priority is to recruit and service members and not to impose politics on them.” He hoped “Cosatu accepted Mawusa in its fold”. 

When asked about the inclusion of Mawusa into Cosatu, Dlamini pleaded ignorance, saying the federation was unaware of such plans. “We do not have a union called Mawusa,” he added.

Should the union apply to Cosatu, the central executive committee (CEC) would discuss that and make a suitable decision, Dlamini said. “We will do our best for Cosatu to have metalworkers and workers in the auto and engineering sector.”

According to Cosatu’s constitution, the federation is open to all unions that subscribe to its preamble and conform to the requirements of its constitution. 

The federation’s constitution states that, if a union intends to apply for membership, it must submit to the CEC a copy of its constitution, a statement of membership setting out the number of members they have and where those members are organised, and a copy of its latest audited financial statements.

But a Cosatu congress resolution requires that there be only one trade union per industry. It was one of the issues that put Numsa on a collision course with its fellow affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers, over the former organising among Eskom workers.

But Mawusa and its sympathisers in other Cosatu affiliates have argued that, now that Numsa is expelled, it is free to apply for inclusion within the federation.

Accepting Mawusa as an affiliate would make it difficult for Numsa to return to Cosatu.

Subscribe to the M&G

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.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

ANC can’t halt inevitable Cosatu split

Over the years, bitter factionalism has torn at the labour federation and caused deep fissures.

Paranoid Cosatu fears disruption

Eight rebel unions who sympathise with Numsa and Vavi are working with them to try to force a discussion about the transformation of Cosatu.

Cosatu’s split is a grave portent for our future economic stability

A divided Cosatu spells a bleak outlook for economic stability. For both the public and private sectors, there will be no winner.

Class war behind Cosatu-Numsa divide

Unions are going out of business, presenting the ANC with a political and economic dilemma.

Cosatu split: How the ANC will suffer

The biggest losers in the Cosatu-Numsa battle seem to be the ANC, SACP and Cosatu – and the real price is set to come in the 2016 municipal elections.

Cosatu’s blue-collar workers left out in the cold

The union federation's rising professional class is out of step with its hard-pressed, unskilled members.
Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: Frank Chikane on the rainbow where colours never...

Reverend Frank Chikane has just completed six years as the chairperson of the Kagiso Trust. He speaks about corruption, his children’s views and how churches can be mobilised

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

More top stories

Shabnim Ismail bowls her way into the record books Down...

The night before Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) final, fiery South African fast bowler Shabnim Ismail lay awake pondering how...

Hawks make arrest in matric maths paper leak

Themba Daniel Shikwambana, who works at a printing company, was granted bail and is due to return to court in January

Andile Lungisa: Early parole for the house of truth

Disgraced Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa calls for a change of leadership in the ANC immediately after being released on parole

War of words at Zondo commission: ‘Grow up Mr Gordhan,...

The cross-examination of the public enterprises minister by Tom Moyane’s lawyers at the state capture inquiry went on well into overtime on Monday evening
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…