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Numsa challenges News24 to stop fake news against it

National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa delegates singing at their 11th National Congress. Image: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa delegates singing at their 11th National Congress. Image: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 5, 2022

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SIYABONGA SITHOLE

THE National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has once again criticised Media24 for spreading fake news and distorting facts on issues involving the recent labour court case and the court interdict that was initiated by former second deputy president of the union, Ruth Ntlokotse and the union’s congress which was held in Cape Town following a two-day delay.

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In a statement the union said it had taken note of the article published by News24 on July 30 indicating that the union was holding its congress even after the court interdict. However, in a statement, Numsa spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said the story made a hash of the situation at hand and misinterpreted the court interdict, which according to the union was adhered to.

“According to News24’s bizarre interpretation of the court decision, the congress remains interdicted because the organisation was denied leave to appeal. This is nonsense and represents a complete misunderstanding of the law. The court order interdicted the congress from proceeding until such time as Numsa fully complied with its constitution. After receipt of the court order, Numsa delayed the start of the congress for two days in order to convene a central committee meeting which had the power to rectify the constitutional defects identified in the court order,” Hlubi-Majola stated.

She said after the committee came together and rectified the defects, the congress was able to start, two days later as a result of the union’s efforts to comply with the labour court ruling against it. Numsa said the leave to appeal by the union to set aside aspects of the labour court ruling was a separate matter from the ruling made against it on the issue of the interdict in relation to abiding by the union’s constitution.

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“The leave to appeal is a separate issue about Numsa disagreeing with the court order and wanting to challenge the precedent it was setting. However, until such time as it is set aside on appeal, Numsa will continue to comply with the court order,” Hlubi-Majola said.

To comply with the court order, Numsa said it lifted the suspensions of the union members who had been suspended including Ntlokotse and allowed them to participate in the congress.

“Numsa lifted the suspensions of regional office-bearers and this included, the second deputy president, Ruth Ntlokotse so that they could contest and stand in the congress elections. We also set up a credentials committee in line with the prescripts of the court so that we could proceed. For News24 to declare that ”the absence of a constitutional national congress and audited financial statements increases the risk of falling under administration and de-registration,“ is an outrageous fabrication and we view it as a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts,” the union said.

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Numsa said even after lifting the suspension of the said office-bearers and the former second deputy president none of them participated in the elections. “Ruth (Ntlokotse) was not even nominated to stand even though she claimed in her court papers that she was likely to win against comrade Mac Chavalala because of her popularity based on Saftu congress,” Numsa said.

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