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‘ANC sold us like pap and vleis’

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IOL Chirwa

Independent Newspapers

Numsa leader Andrew Chirwa is angry that the ANC "sells the working class". File picture: Timothy Bernard

Johannesburg - Numsa loves the African National Congress (ANC) but feel like the ruling party sold people on a plate like “pap and vleis” (porridge and meat), union president Andrew Chirwa said on Sunday.

“We love one another, we love our historic organisation, we love the alliance - or we used to love them - and we love the African National Congress,” he said.

“But what we don't love is the African National Congress that sells the working-class people and the poor, cheap to the bourgeoisie. That is what we are not happy about... We can't be sold on a plate like pap and vleis.”

He said the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) would not be apologetic about their stance.

As South Africa is today, the working class and the poor people are in trouble, said Chirwa.

He was speaking at Isando in Kempton Park on the East Rand at the official opening of a week-long Numsa political school.

The political school would be attended by 150 shopstewards and other Numsa activists.

It was aimed at taking forward the resolutions adopted at its December Special National Congress.

He said Numsa would not look back on its resolution in December that President Jacob Zuma had to resign with immediate effect because of corruption and the policies his administration was implementing.

The union also resolved to not support the ANC in the upcoming elections.

Chirwa told the political school on Sunday that they had received support from “noble and credible people” for their call for Zuma to resign and could not look back.

“The hope of the poor and vulnerable is in our hands - we can't look back now,” he said.

“The political school will help strengthen us more. Numsa must not look back now.”

Numsa's “enemies” had intensified their campaign against the union to be dismissed from the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (Cosatu) after the resolutions it took in December, he said.

On Thursday, Numsa said it agreed to meet Cosatu to discuss resolutions taken at its national congress only if the trade union federation sent it an agenda.

“Cosatu is leaderless now... It is time to engage with unions,” Chirwa said.

Numsa called for a special congress after the suspension of general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in August last year.

Vavi was put on special leave in August pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to his relationship with a junior employee. In July, the employee accused him of rape. He said they had an affair. The woman subsequently withdrew the sexual harassment complaint she had lodged against him.

After 20 years of democracy in South Africa it is clear that capitalism has failed, said Chirwa on Sunday.

“We are here because we want to change the world in favour of the working class,” he said.

“We want to destroy capitalism... Capitalism has failed.”

Numsa Secretary General Irwin Jim echoed Chirwa's sentiments and said the conditions of the working class were becoming worse.

- Sapa


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