Boksburg - Numsa acting president Andrew Chirwa asked metalworkers on Tuesday to consider calling on President Jacob Zuma to resign.
“Should we not ask our own President Jacob Zuma, who benefited from this saga, to resign in the interest of the poor?” he asked delegates at the National Union of Metalworkers of SA's (Numsa) special national congress in Boksburg, on the East Rand.
“Must we not ask that he resigns to preserve the legacy of Nelson Mandela?”
He was referring to the over R206 million upgrade to Zuma's private homestead at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal, calling it a gross abuse and theft of public money.
Numsa has become disenchanted with the political leadership of the African National Congress and the tripartite alliance.
It accused the alliance - between the ANC, SA Communist Party, and Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) - of being toothless and of appearing only when it was election time.
He said the alliance was incapable of ending poverty and inequality.
“There is no amount of unity that can change the plight (of the poor).”
The only solution was the freedom charter, he said.
“Numsa has become a lone voice in the mass democratic revolution.”
Chirwa said Numsa was still waiting to see the ANC's so-called radical programme it had talked about in its discussion document in Mangaung last year, referring to the second phase of transition.
“That second phase, it's the second phase of e-tolls. We (have) still yet to see the radical part.”
Numsa is expected to discuss whether it should support the ANC in next year's elections and whether it should break away from Cosatu.
Chirwa said Cosatu had been hit by a train and paralysed.
“It's as if it's been hit by a truck, a big truck, no, a train, a train is bigger,” he said.
“We called a special congress to rescue Cosatu from its paralysis.”
He accused Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini of elevating himself above the trade union federation by not convening a special Cosatu congress.
Cosatu had not been the same since its congress last year.
Numsa could not fight for Cosatu, which was like a house which had been abandoned, and only the sign “Beware of the Dog” remained, Chirwa said.
“That's not the Cosatu we prepared to fight for.”