Numsa: Workers need a party

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Numsa1

Independent Newspapers

Workers from the National Union of Metalworkers of SA. File photo: Mogomotsi Magome.

Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has accepted that it is likely to be expelled from Cosatu, and work around investigating the formation of a workers’ party will now begin in earnest.

That’s according to a draft secretariat report for Numsa’s central committee (CC) meeting next month, seen by Independent Newspapers, in which the union says there is little chance of Cosatu changing its mind on suspending its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi again, nor adopting a militant programme which will see it alienating itself from the ANC.

The 29-page draft document puts Vavi in a corner. His position in Cosatu will be greatly weakened without Numsa.

But if he is to toe the Cosatu line, he may have to publicly rebuke his staunchest ally.

It also means that the ANC’s attempts at mediating peace in Cosatu will be short-lived.

The document not only says the ANC is part of the problem in Cosatu because of its anti-worker policies, but also reiterates its call for President Jacob Zuma to resign.

Numsa will now approach former cabinet ministers and others who have fallen out with the ruling party for advice on the way forward.

These include Jay Naidoo, Ben Turok, Ronnie Kasrils, Moeletsi Mbeki, Pallo Jordan and Baba Makalima. Kasrils, a former intelligence minister who made headlines this week with the launch of a campaign calling for people not to vote for the ANC.

“It is important for Numsa CC, including the nine unions who are working with us, to be categorical. The door of the stable is open and the horses have bolted. We can’t tamper with the formation of a movement for socialism. Workers and their trade unions like Numsa, which remains a trade union while being a catalyst for a movement for socialism, need a working class party. This cannot be postponed any longer,” the document says.

Numsa is facing suspension and ultimate expulsion from Cosatu for its decision not to support the ANC in the upcoming elections.

But any action against Cosatu’s largest affiliate is on hold while the ANC’s mediation attempts continue until just after the May 7 elections.

A split in Cosatu could adversely affect the party’s performance at next month’s election.

The draft further warns that it is unlikely the ANC will get its usual support at the polls next month.

Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini said Numsa’s suspension was still on the agenda of the central executive committee.

“It is quite telling what their intentions are,” he said. - Weekend Argus


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