Numsa pursues formation of United Front

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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 National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has declared the ANC-brokered cease-fire over and is proceeding with its programme to form a United Front for working class struggles.

This emerged on the penultimate day of its central committee meeting being held in Benoni, outside Johannesburg, this week.

“There is no stopping this Numsa moment,” the union’s general-secretary, Irvin Jim told journalists, referring to resolutions made at the affiliate’s special national congress at the end of last year.

Resolutions included researching the establishment of a workers party due to serious unhappiness with the ANC, coupled with Numsa’s decision to stop financial support of the ruling party and its unhappiness with the SACP.

Numsa has repeatedly alleged that the ANC and SACP are responsible for the factional in-fighting wracking Cosatu, which lead to concerns of a split last month.

On Thursday afternoon, Jim provided more details on the United Front, saying it would be a “weapon for uniting the working class” from “all walks of life”.

“Ideological orientation, political affiliation, religious, gender, social or any other affiliation or orientation shall not be a condition for denying or preventing participation in the programmes of the United Front,” he said.

“The basic guiding principle shall be ‘Unity in Action’ against the ravages of neo-liberalism and in support of the full implementation of the Freedom Charter.”

Numsa would now embark on an “intensive political programme” to build the United Front.

These would include township-based United Front political discussions which would aim to build the front locally, and look at the possibilities for taking up local campaigns and issues.

But the front was not aimed at as a project to resuscitate the ANC or the SACP from the neo-liberal trajectory it was on, Jim said.

Earlier he said the union’s central committee meeting had taken place against the backdrop of the recent general election results showing a reduced ANC majority.

“The ANC almost lost Gauteng, the industrial heartland of our country. This is the result of 20 years of our neoliberal democracy which has not decisively uprooted our colonial character of the South African economy and society,” Jim said.

He said “mass poverty, deepening unemployment and extreme inequalities” remained the symptoms of South Africa's neo-liberal economic status quo, which was boosted by the “ideological fog” spread by the ANC's campaign message that it had a “good story to tell”.

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