Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim File photo: Steve Lawrence

Johannesburg - The National Development Plan was an attempt to replace the Freedom Charter, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said on Wednesday.

“We have been promised many big things. Now, there are attempts to replace the Freedom Charter of Ruth First with its polar opposite, the National Development Plan,” said Jim, delivering the annual Ruth First Memorial Lecture at the University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg.

He said the National Union of Metalworkers of SA had embarked “on the most difficult journey” to unite the working class and people of South Africa behind Ruth First's dream of a socialist South Africa.

“We are determined that we shall not idly sit by and watch our lives, our resources, our collective futures and our earth and country get destroyed by the money mongers, both local and foreign.”

The NDP was a “cut and paste” from the Democratic Alliance policy, and is based on the exploitation of black workers and maintenance of the colonial and capitalist power relations that define South African society.

“As such, the NDP is not a working class plan, and it will fail to meet even its own mediocre targets,” said Jim.

The NDP was not the first policy to come from both the ANC and the DA.

“How many of you remember Vision 2014, which was drafted in 2004, to halve poverty, unemployment and inequality by 2014?”

“Almost everything that the ANC promised in that Vision 2014 of theirs, they failed to achieve. We have already done a thorough analysis of Vision 2014 as Numsa... and now they have another vision, Vision 2030! “That is why we rejected GEAR (Growth, Employment and Redistribution) and the NDP.”

Women of courage, intellect, who teach, research and write about socialism were honoured through Ruth First.

“We honour all the women freedom fighters who paid the ultimate price, who sacrificed a life of false white bliss for the struggle for a truly free South Africa.”

“Comrade Ruth First was truly an African, she was one of us,” he said.

First was an academic and anti-apartheid activist. She was killed in 1982 by a parcel bomb addressed to her while working in exile in Maputo, Mozambique.