On the eve of our July 2017 NUMSA Central Committee (CC), the union’s leadership woke up to an Open Letter which was attacking the union, and singling out the General Secretary – Comrade Irvin Jim.
This “letter” was penned by individuals who chose to be anonymous. They deliberately decided to use information and decisions taken by the union as ammunition to lie and distort facts about the organization. This was done to cause divisions with the aim of weakening and fragmenting the unity of NUMSA. The authors of the “letter” want to undermine and divide the unity of the national leadership and to weaken the union as an organization.
The Open Letter, which was circulated through various channels including social media, eventually found its way to Business Day journalists who opted to see a “Conspiracy and Conflict” which is “stalking” the Union. While acknowledging that the “letter” is “bizarre” they strangely still saw the need on behalf of the publication to entertain rumors and innuendo and present it as hard news.
The truth of the matter is that the racist, sexist, toxic hogwash contained in the Open Letter is designed to cast doubt on the elected leadership and paint the union as being in a state of political disarray. This is far from the truth. We are, however, very clear that NUMSA and its leadership are being attacked because they have consistently championed a socialist working class ideological position, against the neoliberal agenda.
Furthermore, NUMSA is hated because it has taken up the failure of the ANC-led alliance to address the property question, which is a result of the negotiated settlement, and this failure is shielded and protected by South Africa’s bourgeois constitution.
Despite the fact that the CC report is very clear that there is no way we can support any of the two fighting capitalist factions in the ANC, Business Day strangely takes issue over the fact that we are not supporting Cyril Ramaphosa. How can we, in good conscience, support the Deputy President when he champions the fake, colonial, National Minimum Wage of R3500, designed to perpetuate the super-exploitation of black and African labour, and at the same time, he is hard at work tampering with the constitutional right of workers to strike?
Ramaphosa went and promised the World Economic Forum in Davos that he will continue with belt-tightening and austerity measures, which can only be guaranteed by the continuation of the neo-liberal agenda in post-Apartheid South Africa, which is directly responsible for the accumulation of wealth which is owned and controlled by white monopoly capital and the white population. They swim in wealth while the majority, which is black and African, continues to be at the bottom of the food chain.
Business Day chose to speak on our behalf that for stating this truth against Cyril Ramaphosa and the entire ANC and its alliance, we are somehow supporting Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. We humbly want to suggest to Business Day that as NUMSA we can speak for ourselves. Secondly, as the NUMSA leadership, we retain the right to freely decide to meet anyone who wants to talk to us.
We met with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in her capacity as the Chair of the African Union immediately after, and out of the internationalist spirit of our 10th National Congress, in early January this year. We wanted to learn from her, her views of the state of the African Continent in general and in particular, what should be done over crisis spots such as Zambia.
As is well known by now, as NUMSA we have also since staged a protest action at the office of the Zambian High Commissioners Office on the 11th July 2017. Our July CC Report details work we have done on the Continent. Business Day chose to interpret this meeting as confirmation that we support Dlamini-Zuma as a preferred candidate for the ANC.
How stupid can we be! On the one hand we have consciously abandoned and dumped the neoliberal ANC, on the other hand, we decide to support a presidential candidate for the ANC and from the ANC for the country! This couldn’t be further from the truth. We have consistently maintained that we reject not only Ramaphosa, but the ANC as well.
We reject any and all efforts at driving artificial wedges among the NUMSA NOB’s. The NOB’s of NUMSA are not some rightwing leadership of a political party who serve the union on the basis of their real or perceived individual relationships: they are a collective who serve the union because the union has elected them to do so. Our NOB’s collective remains solid and united.
With all the lies associated with the allegation, the NUMSA national leadership and the Central Committee, before and after the recent CC, continue to remain united and focused on their key tasks as defined by the 10th National Congress, which is to service workers, protect their jobs and to improve their conditions, while driving the agenda of the Special National Congress of December 2013.
Despite the numerous attacks that NUMSA has been subjected to throughout the years, we have and continue to remain consistent in advancing the struggles of the working class and for Socialism. This has never been an option for us. We are also very clear that it is time to start from the beginning, working our way up towards building a socialist revolutionary federation of South African workers, and a revolutionary socialist workers party. No amount of malicious attacks will divert our focus from the noble cause of pursuing the class struggle in the interest of the working class, as the only guarantee for genuine social and economic justice, for Socialism.
NUMSA’s constitution directs that the nine regional finance committee’s; nine regional executive committees; the National Finance Committee; the National Executive Committee, internal auditor and external auditors all have a duty to manage and play an oversight role over the subscriptions and agency fees we receive. The December 2016 NUMSA National Congress; the March 2017 NUMSA NEC as well as the July 2017 NUMSA Central Committee satisfied itself on the state of finances in the organization including adopting the finances as presented. The August 2017 NUMSA NEC shall receive, discuss and ratify the 2016 Audited Financial Statements.
Like with any trade union, the income of the union is dependent on subscriptions. It is common knowledge that NUMSA has seen plant closures thus reducing its income. In the MEIBC we have lost millions in income per annum from the Collective Bargaining Levy (CBL), since 2012 which, in the past was used for collective bargaining and strikes as prescribed by the law. As it was no longer available to the union, all these activities were entirely dependent on union members’ dues.
In these conditions generating deficits rather than surpluses occurs. We are proud to report that, irrespective of our cash-flow challenges, we have paid NUMSA staff every 25th of the month, without fail. By resolution of the Central Committee we were allowed to draw from the NUMSA Strike Fund to pay staff salaries and we reported to the December 2016 10th National Congress that we repaid all funds that we withdrew from the NUMSA National Strike Fund. Lies have very short legs.
The democratic traditions and the NUMSA constitution allows for any concerned person to raise concerns and issues through our Local Shopsteward Councils (LSSC’s), Regional Executive Committees (REC’s), National Executive Committee’s (NEC’s), Central Committee’s (CC’s) and National Congress (NC), all of which are worker controlled. Additional space for engagement with NUMSA staff is created through our National Staff Consultative Forum. There is thus no excuse to pen faceless open letters when all these forums are created inside of our organization.
Our detractors must know that we are resolute and that for every brick they throw at us, we will continue to use them to lay a firm foundation for the construction and the wielding of the working class, as a class for itself.
It doesn’t matter how much our enemies wish for us to be corrupt and dictatorial, they can never deter us from building working class formations.
“No thieves, no traitors, no interventionists. This time, the revolution is for real!”
Issued by NUMSA