NUMSA commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Russian Revolution

14 August 2013, Posted in Press Releases

Numsa Headquarters, 12th August 2013

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
(The Communist Manifesto, 1848)

The 11 August Special Numsa Central Committee

1. Following receipt of the notice from Cosatu for the Special Cosatu Central Committee Meeting called for the 14th of August 2013, the Numsa National Office Bearers (NOBs) met on 8th August 2013 and resolved that the situation demanded a Numsa Special Central Committee Meeting (CC). This Special Central Committee of Numsa was convened on Sunday 11th August 2013.

2. The Special Central Committee Meeting was called specifically to deal with the notice from Cosatu convening the Cosatu Special Central Executive Committee, the ongoing crisis in Cosatu, Numsa’s response the intransigent employers who are stubbornly refusing to grant living wage increases.

3. The Numsa Special CC paid tribute to Comrade Phil Bokaba, our immediate past 1st Deputy President who passed away on the Sunday 4th August 2013.

4. The Central Committee received a discussion document from the Numsa National Office Bearers detailing an Analysis of the Crisis in Cosatu: “Cosatu at the Crossroads.” The Central Committee adopted this Numsa NOB discussion paper which has now become the Central Committee position paper and which shall be taken down to Numsa Regions and Numsa Locals.

Numsa’s Theses on the Crisis in Cosatu and our Position

1. Consistent with our Marxist-Leninist theoretical, philosophical, political, ideological and cultural traditions, the Numsa National Office Bearers provided the CC with an overarching working class analysis of the causes and sources of the crisis in Cosatu.

2. The central message delivered by the Numsa National Office Bearers to the Special Central Committee, which the CC endorsed, was to undertake the following tasks and responsibilities to engage with the crises in Cosatu and to achieve the following goals:

· Defend and protect the integrity of constitutional decisions of Cosatu.
· Defend and advance the revolutionary socialist traditions and trajectory of Cosatu.
· Prevent the conversion of Cosatu into a labour desk.
· Defend and protect the revolutionary leadership of Cosatu.
· Defend the unity of the federation.
· Defend the revolutionary basis of the ANC led alliance, the Freedom Charter.
· Ultimately, defend Cosatu itself from being destroyed!
3. Briefly, the Numsa Central Committee’s analytical perspectives on the crisis in Cosatu contain the following;

Capitalism and the failure of the Alliance to pursue consistently a radical National Democratic Revolution (NDR) are at the heart of the crisis in Cosatu today. In our view, the struggle for freedom in South Africa cannot be achieved without the popular democratic forces advancing a socialist oriented National Democratic Revolution.
b. It is important to understand the significance of the socialist orientation, traditions and socialist revolutionary culture of Cosatu because the crisis in Cosatu today is in fact about whether or not Cosatu should continue to be a socialist trade union federation or it should simply become a yellow capitalist federation of the workers or a labour desk of the bourgeoisie.
c. It is evidently clear that those within Cosatu that has been advocating the idea of a rupture in Cosatu might be correct. From Numsa’s perspective this rupture in Cosatu is between forces of capitalism and forces of socialism. We make this bold statement because we have seen how in the CEC some argued why we should not campaigning against e-tolling, why we must not honour and execute the Cosatu resolution and policy of Nationalisation of the commanding heights of the South African economy.
d. The rupture in Cosatu is between those want to give capitalism a human face through some Social Democratic approach and those who believe that we must in a radical fashion undo the continuation of capitalism and colonialism in South Africa.
e. Inevitably, the rupture in Cosatu is between those who want to see a thoroughgoing implementation of the Freedom Charter, thus a rejection of the GEAR that the NDP is, and those who are consciously or unconsciously defending South African capitalism and imperialism by defending the NDP and not openly supporting the implementation of the Freedom Charter, especially its nationalisation demands.
f. Those who want Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi out of Cosatu want a Cosatu which will be a “toy telephone”, a “labour desk,” a pro capitalist Cosatu and those who are defending Comrade Vavi want a revolutionary socialist, anti colonialist and anti-imperialist Cosatu.
4. From where we stand, our analytical work confirms that the centre of the crisis in Cosatu resides in the capitalist trajectory of our post 1994 socio-economic formation.
5. Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi is seen as a threat to the ambitions of the rightwing capitalist forces, which see a Cosatu under his leadership as obstructing their capitalist ambitions.

Resolutions and Recommendations of the Central Committee

1. On the Cosatu notice for a Special Cosatu CEC on the 14th of August 2013:

a. The Numsa National Office Bearers have been tasked to write to the Cosatu NOBs requesting that the Special Cosatu CEC be cancelled, as it does not meet the Cosatu constitutional requirements.

b. Numsa would be calling on the Cosatu National Office Bearers to allow the normal and scheduled Cosatu CEC of 16 – 18 September 2013 to go on as scheduled. The Numsa Special Central Committee was concerned that the agreed timeframe for the completion of the Facilitated Process by the first week in July 2013 has not been met and yet some wish to jump to moral and ethical issues which can be handled in a normal CEC.

c. Numsa Regions were tasked by the Numsa Special Central Committee to undertake worker indabas to thoroughly brief the Numsa membership on what is transpiring within Cosatu and develop concrete plans on how we confront the crises.

2. Serious disappointment in the Cosatu President:

a. The reasons and motivation for the convening of the Special CEC on 14th August 2013 have been contaminated and prejudged by the Cosatu’s President public utterances wherein the Cosatu President determined that the Cosatu General Secretary has brought the Federation into disrepute, this long before the CEC had an opportunity to receive a report on the matter.

b. Numsa’s Central Committee held on 11th August 2013 is of the firm view that the notice and agenda circulated by the Cosatu General Secretary on 12 July 2013 convening the ordinary Cosatu CEC is a proper notice and should therefore stand.

Having said this, Numsa has called on the Cosatu NOB to cancel the Special CEC of 14th August 2013.

c. As a leader of one of the most important left formations in the country, we would have expected the Cosatu President to engage the Presidents of affiliates to rescue Cosatu from imploding but instead he requested the Numsa President to convene affiliate Presidents. This inability of the Cosatu President to abdicate his responsibilities shows that he has taken sides and is reckless with the future of Cosatu, hence Numsa’s position that we cannot have confidence in such a leader.

3. Resolving the crises in Cosatu and what is to be done:

The Numsa Special Central Committee held on Sunday 11th August 2013 resolved that;

(a) Numsa should continue to engage with affiliates to request the convening of a Special Cosatu National Congress to once and for all resolve the crises in our beloved federation;

(b) The Facilitated Process should proceed and complete its work in time for findings and recommendations to be received by the September 2013 Cosatu CEC. In this instance the Numsa Central committee noted that the Cosatu National Office Bearers have dismally failed to honour the resolution of the May 2013 CEC which agreed that in terms of the timelines a Special CEC should be convened in the first week of July 2013 to receive the report, findings and recommendations of the Facilitators;

(c) We are calling for the implementation of the Cosatu 11th National Congress resolutions as well as the execution of the Cosatu National Campaigns, Organising and Collective Bargaining Conference resolutions;

(d) We must fast track the S77 Nedlac dispute so that workers may proceed to embark on industrial action.

4. Convening of a Special Numsa National Congress

a. What has happened, and continues to happen, in the last 12-months in our country in general and in Cosatu in particular made the Numsa Special Central Committee to resolve that a Special Numsa National Congress be convened in December 2013.

b. The agenda items for the Special Numsa National Congress would be the following:

· Building a unified COSATU and labour movement
· NUMSA’s approach to 2014 elections

5. On the Marikana Commission:

a. Numsa is not in agreement that the state does not want to pay for workers to participate in the Marikana Commission. It is grossly unfair when the SAPS who shot and killed workers are entitled to paid legal representation.

b. We must demand that Lonmin pay for the lawyers of mineworkers given that the massacre happened because of their intransigence to settle the pay dispute they had with mining workers

6. Arms Deal Commission:

The Central Committee resolved that Numsa must take a legal opinion in case Numsa is subpoenaed to appear before the Commission – Numsa must go to the Commission to properly clarify all allegations based on the legal opinion

7. Collective Bargaining

a. In the main, employers appear not to be willing to respond positively to the perfectly normal demands Numsa has made in the ongoing collective bargaining.

b. We want to make it clear that it is very unwise to treat lightly the extremely difficult situation of the black and African working class in South Africa who continue to suffer the abnormal low colonial wages, inferior social conditions, extremely unequal pay and thus live miserable lives.

c. Numsa will not accept any fake excuses for not awarding workers reasonable increases during these hard times.

d. We continue to press on, and to demand that all our members be battle ready, should the bosses prove impossible to persuade to appreciate the plight of the metalworkers.

Our Appeal to all democracy loving South Africans in general and to the working class in particular

1. It is impossible to deny the special role Cosatu played in our national and international struggles for the attainment of the democracy we enjoy in this country.

2. Cosatu played, and continues to play a role far larger than its legal boundaries – as a socialist trade union federation Cosatu continues to defend some of the positive gains of the 1994 democratic breakthrough – a fact which makes Cosatu a national political assert for all peace loving and progressive formations in South Africa and the world.

3. The defence of Cosatu as a socialist and progressive trade union federation must be the responsibilities of all South Africans who care about the future of this country, and the world community of progressive revolutionary socialists and workers alike.

4. Thus we call upon all South Africans – black and white, workers and the middle class; to defend Cosatu from all those who would like to reduce it into a useless yellow trade union federation fit only for abuse by those in power.

5. For the working class, especially the progressive and socialist workers of South Africa and the world we say: let history not be written that you stood aside when Cosatu was imploding, that you did nothing to save the giant revolutionary shield of the working class and the poor!

6. It is time to raise your voices and defend your organisation! 

Cedric Gina
Numsa President
12th August 2013.


Cedric Gina, President – 083 633 5381

Irvin Jim, General Secretary – 073 157 6384

Karl Cloete, Deputy General Secretary – 083 389 0777

Mphumzi Maqungo, National Treasurer – 083 676 6613

Andrew Chirwa, 1st Deputy President – 073 390 2121

Christine Olivier, 2nd Deputy President – 073 725 7748