Non-racialisim not working for SA: Numsa

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iol news pic Numsa march 19 SAPA National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) members demonstrate during a march for jobs in Johannesburg. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Johannesburg - The notion of non-racialism was not working for the country, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said on Wednesday.

General secretary Irvin Jim said the bulk of those who still suffered from poverty were still black people.

“There are even no white people here,” Jim said to thousands of Gauteng Numsa members who had participated in a march for jobs and rejection of the Employment Tax Incentive Act (ETIA).

Thousands of marchers, mostly dressed in red Numsa and Economic Freedom Fighters t-shirts, moved from Zoo Lake in Johannesburg to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) offices in Rosebank.

Referring to a white woman in the crowd, Jim said she had come for work purposes but was not part of the march.

A handful of other white people took part in the march, along with other trade unions, civil society organisations and social movements.

After taking a swipe at what he described as the white monopoly on the country's resources, Jim criticised President Jacob Zuma and the ANC's deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Their role is to hold back the wheels of history,” said Jim.

“They have refused to nationalise the country's resources.”

He said the working class was not willing to accept the proposed ETIA.

“They (government) must know that the working class are not fools,” said Jim.

The crowd cheered in agreement.

Earlier, Jim shouted “Voetsek youth wage subsidy, voetsek.”

A summary of the memorandum of understanding that Numsa delivered to Nedlac, representatives of the department of trade and industry, the labour department, the economic development department and the treasury, said the ETIA would not work.

“The ETIA will fail to solve the crisis of unemployment. It subsidises employers for taking on workers whom they would have employed anyway,” Numsa said.

“It will not encourage real employment creation. It discourages decent work. It will lead to the displacement of unsubsidised workers.”

Jim explained to the marchers that the funds which would be used to pay for new workers who were brought in would be taken from the workers themselves.

The act was signed into law by Zuma in December.

Referring to Eskom's Medupi plant which was being constructed in Limpopo, Jim said the steel which was used to construct the plant had been imported from Thailand.

Had it been made locally, more job opportunities would have been created, Jim said.

Representatives of the departments came to accept the memorandum of understanding.

A representative of the DTI addressed the crowds, saying his department was committed to creating jobs.

His comment was jeered by the crowd.

Numsa had said it expected around 500 000 people to take part in the marches across several provinces.

Numsa's Durban march was led by suspended Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Around 3000 people participated in the march.

Vavi carried a placard that read “Implement the Freedom Charter”.

In Johannesburg, Jim voiced the same sentiment to the Numsa protesters.


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