Numsa on conference high alert

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Castro Ngobese


National Secretary of the Young Communist League, Buti Manamela, and Castro Ngobese, left, National Spokesperson for the league. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - The national Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is on high alert for possible disruptions of its special national congress which begins in Boksburg on Tuesday.

On Monday, Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said the congress would be open only to its expected 1 200 delegates and invited guests.

It is expected to end on Friday, when a decision to form a workers’ party could possibly be taken - with the new party ready to contest the country’s national elections to be held next year.

“The special national congress will be attended by more than 1 200 delegates drawn from all structures of the union. In addition, the special national congress will also be attended by leaders of other Cosatu-affiliated unions, Cosatu itself, the Progressive Youth Alliance, fraternal trade unions from Africa, Latin America and Europe, and a sizeable number of media houses that will be reporting directly on special national congress proceedings.

“Congress rules, which will be presented during a plenary session, prohibit the distribution of any material or pamphlets that are divisive, factional, or not sanctioned by the special national congress steering committee,” Ngobese said.

He confirmed that the special national congress was called by Numsa’s central committee in order to discuss a number of issues and challenges confronting the trade union movement in South Africa, and the paralysis that had emerged within Cosatu.

Ngobese also said the congress would determine workers’ positions on the 2014 national elections among other urgent matters.

He said no organisation or trader would be allowed anywhere near the vicinity of the congress.

“Further, in order to protect delegates from undue interference and pressures, no circulars, leaflets, pamphlets or any publication are allowed to be distributed at the congress venue, without prior written authorisation from the national office bearers,” he said.

Poor relations

Numsa deputy president Andrew Chirwa is expected to outline a presidential report following the resignation of president Cedric Gina last month.

Gina stepped down following reported poor relations between him and Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim.

Gina claimed that Jim had tried to lobby ANC president Jacob Zuma to support his motion to have suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi made the ANC’s deputy president during last year’s Mangaung National conference.

He also made several claims against Jim of financial impropriety.

The SACP also claimed that Jim spoke to Zuma before Mangaung in a failed attempt to replace Vavi as Cosatu’s general secretary. The SACP also launched a tirade against Jim, calling him a “sectarian bully”.

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