Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim speaks at the Numsa and Saftu Workers’ Day march on Monday. Picture: Gcina Ndwalane
Durban - The newly formed Zwelinzima Vavi-led South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) is exploring the possibility of forming a new political party, which would participate in future elections on behalf of workers.

Vavi, Saftu general secretary, Irvin Jim, National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) secretary-general, and other senior leaders of the new federation spoke about the idea of the new “workers’ party” at two events held in Durban - Numsa’s 30th anniversary on Sunday night, and the Workers’ Day march yesterday.

Jim said the idea of the workers’ party was because under the ANC black people had not secured economic power.

He said the ANC government had repeatedly refused to break the backbone of apartheid and colonialism.

“It is high time that the working class must wake up as it cannot continue to vote into power its worst butchers. It is time that the working class must accept that it does need its own workers’ party, which would struggle with the workers,” he said.

Jim said the process of forming the new political party included negotiations with like-minded opposition parties such as the EFF and the Pan African Congress.

He said under the ANC there had been an open refusal to address “fundamentals of ownership and control of the economy; there has been open refusal to restructure the South African economy”.

Vavi and Jim spoke at the Numsa 30th anniversary celebration, and addressed the crowd at yesterday’s march, which started at Curries Fountain Stadium and ended at the city hall. Saftu is the product of Numsa, and was created after it was fired from Cosatu.

Numsa’s march, seen as a show of force against Cosatu, started outside the stadium. Numsa had been prevented from getting into the stadium as Cosatu had already booked it for a mini rally after its march, which started at King Dinuzulu Park and moved to Gugu Dlamini Park.

The stadium is significant because it was where Cosatu was formed in 1985.

Vavi expressed excitement that the Cosatu-led rally in Bloemfontein yesterday had collapsed, after Cosatu members had refused to be addressed by Zuma.

“We must clap hands for the collapse of that alliance (ANC/Cosatu), because the fight between Zuma and Blade Nzimande had nothing to do with taking forward the struggle to total emancipation of our people,” he said.

Daily News