I M P O R T A N T: "NUMSA is turning 30th this year, forward us any story, pictures or videos of your struggle from the shop floor"

Message of Support to NUMSA from SAMWU

Dear Comrades,

On behalf of the South African Municipal Workers Union we give our very warmest fraternal greetings to our friends and comrades of the Mighty NUMSA at its Special Congress being held from 17 – 21 December 2013.

A Great Leadership Example Has Been Bequeathed To Us!

There is no doubt that the Special Congress comes at a very appropriate time for the movement as a whole. We have just said our last farewells to one of the most inspirational and exemplary leaders of modern times, in the form of Comrade Madiba. There can be no doubt that his passing has brought into sharp relief the meaning and character of effective leadership at all levels, both in our own movement and the country as a whole. We take this opportunity to salute a leader, who above all else remained true to his principles, and who has shown that it is possible to lead with integrity.

The Crisis in COSATU

The Special Congress is also taking place when our beloved Federation COSATU is in the midst of a paralysing and divisive crisis. A crisis we believe is a result of the struggle of contending class forces. At its sharpest, the struggle in COSATU is between those who want to see COSATU as a clear independent and unambiguous champion of the working class and the poor, and those who prefer COSATU to be reduced to nothing more than a glorified labour desk.

We believe the continuing attacks on Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi are little more than an attempt to curtail the power of our Federation, and to render it powerless. The pushing through recently of E-Tolls and youth subsidies and the public marginalisation of COSATU are indicative of what will happen if we allow COSATU to be diverted away from its historic task of building working class power for socialism.

We know that our NUMSA comrades are not ones to walk away from the class struggle, and that they will fight with all of their might to preserve the independence and fighting spirit of COSATU. We know they will continue to work alongside SAMWU and other unions to fight the divisiveness that is currently blighting our movement!

Listening to the Workers Only Way Forward!

We have no doubt that the vast majority of workers of all COSATU unions support a COSATU that is forthright on corruption, that challenges neo-liberal policies and is prepared to put socialism on the agenda now. We know that if given the opportunity, workers everywhere would insist on the reinstatement of Comrade Zweli because he represents these views, and is not compromised by the promise of higher office! We believe this explains the time wasting and organisational obstacles being put forward to prevent a COSATU Special Congress.

We wish also to state that we have been particularly shocked by the attacks that have been made on NUMSA by forces claiming to be on the left. These attacks have been nothing short of slanderous, and do not belong in the workers movement. Those who penned them have forever exposed themselves and their class interests, and should be deeply ashamed.

Every Obstacle is an Opportunity : Chairperson Mao Zedong

In the face of all the above, SAMWU wishes to congratulate NUMSA for having the courage, and commitment to workers control and democracy in going ahead with this Special Congress. Unlike other organisations that claim to be democratic, you have put the important questions you are discussing to the membership, and not in a conveyor belt manner. Instead you have consciously empowered NUMSA members, to discuss and debate and give the NUMSA leadership a mandate. If other unions and organisations did the same we might not be in the mess we are in today!

At this time, a united and powerful COSATU is an absolute necessity. In all of the sectors where we are organised, there are moves to marginalise workers and to roll back the gains of the past. There are attempts to make sure that workers do not have an independent voice, but are instead represented by those who are not accountable. At the heart of the socialist transformation of our country must be the organised working class, and not just those claiming to represent them! Workers must not sub-contract their power to others, but be a central player in the unfolding class struggle.

Despite the many obstacles we face, we believe in the dictum of Chairperson Mao Zedong, that every obstacle is an opportunity. We believe that NUMSA can address the challenges we all face at this Special Congress. It can help to chart a way forward that can empower workers. It can ensure that we move towards having a Government that once and for all reflects the needs of workers and the poor, and decisively acts in favour of them. That we begin the vital task of building a society where the organised working class, and all of the poor and marginalised are united in their struggle for a South Africa that our beloved Madiba would have been proud of.

Long live the Might NUMSA Long live

Long live the comradeship between NUMSA and SAMWU Long Live

Long Live a United and Independent COSATU Long Live

Long Live the Struggle for a Socialist South Africa Long Live!

Signed by Comrade Walter Theledi General Secretary SAMWU