Numsa’s political party gets the go-ahead

In the union’s recent statement confirming the SRWP’s registration, Numsa emphasised its belief that the working class needs to seize power to 'drive an agenda in their interests and for their benefit'. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

In the union’s recent statement confirming the SRWP’s registration, Numsa emphasised its belief that the working class needs to seize power to 'drive an agenda in their interests and for their benefit'. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says it welcomes the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) decision to register its political party, despite the commission’s initial rejection of the party’s name and logo.

In a statement released on Monday, the union reiterated the political position of the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) as a “Marxist-Leninist political party fighting to overthrow the brutal capitalist system”.

The party will drive a socialist programme for the formation of a socialist South Africa, the statement said.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim told the Mail & Guardian last week that the union had appealed the IEC’s decision to reject the party’s registration on the basis that the colour and logo of the party was similar to that of other parties — a fact that might be confusing for the electorate.

The logo illustrates two hands holding a yellow hammer and sickle against a bright-red background.
The commission believes the colours and choice of images are too similar to those of the SACP’s logo.

READ MORE: Electoral commission stalls Numsa’s political bid

On Saturday it was reported that Numsa had been successful in its appeal.

Numsa has been threatening to form a workers’ party since 2014 when it was expelled from ANC-affiliated trade union federation Cosatu.

Numsa points to this moment in its policies: “From 2013, Numsa found a more disturbing pattern emerging with its own federation, Cosatu, moving towards the ANC and away from a more radical stance. Radical resolutions that were adopted at the Cosatu congress in 2012 remain as paper resolutions.

“The suspension of the Cosatu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, in August 2013 added to Numsa’s concern that there was deliberate inaction in the federation so as to keep it as a toothless lapdog of the ANC in the run up to national government elections in 2014.”

In the union’s recent statement confirming the SRWP’s registration, Numsa emphasised its belief that the working class needs to seize power to “drive an agenda in their interests and for their benefit”.

“We believe that that working class majority will never be prosperous, equal or free until all the land, all our natural resources and all the human talent and labour are used to benefit the working class majority,” the statement reads.

“The sad reality is that the economic policies which the ANC government has been driving, have meant that the majority of people still live in extreme poverty and inequality, just as it was under apartheid.”

The union said it has in recent months travelled all over South Africa to set up branches and units in different regions of the country in anticipation of the party’s registration.

Sarah Smit

Sarah Smit

Sarah Smit both subs and writes for the Mail & Guardian. She joined the M&G after completing her master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Cape Town. She is interested in the literature of the contemporary black diaspora and its intersection with queer aesthetics of solidarity. Her recent work considers the connections between South African literary history and literature from the rest of the Continent. Read more from Sarah Smit

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