16/01/2014. Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande speaks during the launch of the White Paper on Post School Education at Unisa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Durban - Numsa is pushing ordinary metalworkers into opposing the tripartite alliance against their will, SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande said on Friday.

"The SACP nationally is of the view that the majority of members of Numsa won't allow their union to be placed in opposition to the rest of the alliance," he said in Durban.

"We have confidence in those metalworkers that maybe their union is just going through a phase, but they will have to correct that."

Nzimande was speaking ahead of the SACP's launch of its provincial election campaign in support of the ruling African National Congress. He said some members of the union's "leadership clique" were planning an alternative state of the nation address in Cape Town on Thursday, when President Jacob Zuma would open Parliament.

"The leadership clique has placed itself in opposition to the ANC and the alliance as a whole actively," he said.

"We are convinced ordinary metalworkers won't allow themselves to be pushed into this very dangerous and divisive direction that can only weaken the workers."

Nzimande said "it is enemies of the revolution that behave like that".

Asked for his response, Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said: "He must stop being so paranoid. He must stop with this obsession with Numsa. Numsa will not be having a state of the nation address."

Ngobese said Numsa had been invited by the Cape Town Press Club to speak about what the working class could do to solve South Africa's problems.

"He (Nzimande) is picking on us. We are not intimidated by him and we are prepared to fight with him head-on. Everyone knows that institutions of higher learning in the country are burning, with students demanding access to higher education," Ngobese said.

"So we need Blade Nzimande to provide leadership and make sure the children of the poor have higher education and have a decent future."

SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu said while he had seen many statements that the union was not backing the ANC in the election, several members of the union were SACP members.

"We are working with many Numsa members in all our structures in campaigning for the ANC. It is within their right, but we would have loved an organised union like Numsa to put its weight and its support behind the African National Congress."

In December, the union announced it was withdrawing its support for the ruling party. Numsa is one of the biggest unions in the Congress of SA Trade Unions, which is part of the tripartite alliance with the ANC and SACP.

Mthembu said the party had engaged taxi associations to distribute news from the alliance. The party planned to establish an editorial board, and funds permitting, wanted to produce an election news bulletin in a bid to get positive news coverage that it was not getting from a "hostile media".

He said most people in townships did not buy newspapers because it increased people's stress.

"They say it always increases stress. Take it to Umlazi and KwaMashu, they won't buy it because you are inviting stress."