NUMSA commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Russian Revolution


Andrew Nditshe Chirwa, President

Politically active during high school
2001 Elected president of the SRC at the tertiary institution where he was studying
2001 September Started working at Ford Motor company
2003 Elected a shop steward at Ford
2008 Elected deputy chairperson of Hlanganani region
2009 Elected chairperson of Hlanganani region
March 2012 Re-elected chairperson of Hlanganani region
June 2012 Elected Numsa First vice president
December 2013 Elected president unopposed

Basil Cele, First Deputy President

1979 started working at Smiths manufacturing
1984 elected Numsa shop steward
1986-1989 Elected Numsa Pinetown local vice chairperson
1989 elected Numsa Pinetown local chairperson
1996-1999 elected Numsa KZN regional treasurer
1999-2013 elected Numsa KZN regional chairperson
2009 elected Cosatu KZN Provincial deputy chairperson
2010-2012 elected Cosatu KZN Provincial chairperson
2013 elected Numsa 2nd deputy president

He is currently the president of the Motor Industries Bargaining Council (Mibco), a position he has held since 2002

Ruth Ntlokotse, Second Deputy President

1997 started working for Johnson Matthey
2006 elected NUMSA shop steward
2007 elected local deputy secretary
2007 elected RFC
2008 elected NUMSA Gender regional secretary
2011 elected gender national chairperson
2012 elected treasurer of the region
2012 elected to the NFC
2012 re-elected to the gender national chairperson position
2016 elected regional chairperson
2016 elected 2nd deputy president at the 10th NUMSA National Congress

Mphumzi Maqungo, National Treasurer

1996 Employed at General Motors (GM), Port Elizabeth
1999 Elected a part-time shop steward
2004 Became plant secretary at his workplace and a negotiator in the National Bargaining Forum for the auto manufacturing industry
2005 Elected member of the regional finance committee
2005 Elected regional treasurer, a position he held until March 2012
2007 Elected the chairperson of the auto national shop stewards council
2010 Appointed acting regional secretary in Eastern Cape until March 2011
2012 Elected chairperson of Eastern Cape region, March 2012
2012 Elected Numsa national treasurer, June 2012

Maqungo has also represented Numsa in the GM world company council where representatives of all GM workplaces have met globally since 2005.

Irvin Jim, General Secretary

Previous position – Regional secretary of the Eastern Cape

1991 Employed at Firestone Tyre company
1993 Elected as a full-time shop steward
2000 Elected regional secretary
2008 Elected general secretary
2012 Re-elected general secretary

Irvin Jim is the General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa). He is currently serving his third term as General Secretary, having been re-elected to serve the militant metalworkers in its December 2016 elective congress, following his first election in October 2008 and re-election in June 2012.

Following the fall of the apartheid regime in 1994, Comrade Irvin became the regional chairperson for Numsa’s Eastern Cape region. He later served as the Regional Secretary. He was at that time the youngest member of the Numsa Central Committee and remained in the regional leadership until his election to his position as General Secretary. He cut his political teeth as an anti-apartheid student activist in the 1980’s and has also served in the leadership structures of the South African Communist Party and the African National Congress (ANC) in the Eastern Cape.

Not adverse to hardship. Comrade Irvin, born in 1968, grew up as a child of Eastern Cape farm workers on a farm called Theophilus. From farm dwelling to urban settlement, he spent most of his later life in South Africa’s third most populous township, Motherwell, a sprawling and underdeveloped settlement in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality located in one of South Africa’s poorest provinces. It’s been described as "a proud and sport-loving township which is struggling with unemployment and HIV/Aids".

Poverty forced him to abandon his education in order to work in a Port Elizabeth tyre factory. In 1991, on only his second day at work, his fellow workers at Firestone Tyres nominated him as their union representative. Aged only 23, he turned down the nomination that day but within three months had taken on the role of shop steward, and two years later that of full time shopsteward.

Now, as one of South Africa’s most senior and prominent trade unionists, he is both loved , revered and despised, his political adversaries have called him a "sponsored agent" and “populist demagogue”, those in the state have accused him of "an infantile disorder that manifests as an acute aversion to anything rational", the media have referred to him as a “charmless ideologue” but for those who know Irvin Jim, who and what he is was best captured by one political analyst, "Irvin Jim is the left. He's not doing this to create some rhetoric to get something. It is the political tradition he was brought up in and one that he believes in."

Nothing can be truer. He is a proud Marxist, who claims “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of all class struggles” as his favourite quote, the bane of the ruling elite and its sycophants, is misunderstood by the chattering classes, and is undoubtedly a hero of the working class and the poor. He holds strong views and convictions, but is always ready to defend them. By his own acknowledgement he can sometimes be “rough” but his beliefs are heartfelt, his commitment to class struggle unwavering, his passion for resolving workers issues unflinching, his responsibility towards a united and consolidated union unquestioning and among his staff and comrades he is warmly looked upon for his kindness, compassion and easy accessibility.

Under his leadership Numsa continues to be a militant and principled left trade union. Its membership has grown to over 340, 000; making it the biggest trade union in the history of South Africa. He has gotten everyone to sit up and listen, where even the conservative media recently claimed that “his union is here to stay”, it “presents a powerful obstacle” to the current ruling elites.

Karl Cloete, Deputy General Secretary

Born on a farm between Klaver and Vredendal near Cape Town. He was baptised in politics by Atlantis Christian Youth Association in 1981. After that he never looked back, his love for the mass movement flourished.

1982-1984 Activist for South African Allied Workers Union (SAAWU) and Clothing Workers Union (CLOWU) in Atlantis during 1982 – 1984. Both unions became affiliates of the UDF.
1984 Member of the 1st UDF Steering Committee in Atlantis in 1984.
1987 Recruited into the ANC underground
1987 COSATU Atlantis Local Secretary
1993 Resigned as Councillor when Numsa adopted the position that full-time officials of the union cannot be Councillors. He was a Councillor on the Transitional Council.
2002-3 Acting regional secretary
2004 Elected regional secretary
2008 Elected Deputy General Secretary
2012 Re-elected Deputy General Secretary

He is a board member of the Merseta.