ANC silent on Numsa NDP spat

2013-03-07 17:04

The ANC has declined to comment on a National Union of Metalworkers’ claim that DA economic policies formed the basis of government’s national development plan (NDP).

“We will take the matter with them offline as part of Cosatu, if there is a need or request from Cosatu,” spokesperson Keith Khoza said today.

“The DA does not have policies. The DA’s policies are a nuance of broader ANC policies.”

Earlier, Cosatu-affiliate Numsa said its 311 000 members rejected the NDP as a “right-wing” document.

“After a thorough analysis, the central committee came to the extremely disturbing conclusion that significant and strategic parts of the NDP were directly lifted from DA policy documents,” said Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim.

He was briefing reporters in Joburg on decisions taken at the union’s committee meeting.

DA spokesperson Mmusi Maimane said there was no plagiarism of DA policies “at all”.

Because the NDP was the result of wide consultation “there are components which we completely agree with”, he said.

“We certainly gave our inputs. We started implementing (aspects of the NDP) in the Western Cape ... which are proving fruitful.

“It affirms some of our policies and it is something we can do. For Numsa to take this position is unfortunate, because it creates policy uncertainty,” said Maimane.

Jim said that Numsa also decided at the “painful” central committee meeting, that the leadership of the ANC, an alliance partner, as elected at Mangaung in December, was not “working class oriented”.

It had a businessman as a deputy president, said Jim, referring to Cyril Ramaphosa.

But, it would still encourage its members to support the ANC, and had no plans to form its own political party.

Numsa said that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had made some progressive proclamations in his budget speech, such as the review of the tax policy framework, the re-formulation of local government equitable share formula to provide a subsidy for free basic services and the earmarking of more than R800 billion for the infrastructure programme over the next three years.

But, the “fundamental flaw” of the budget was that it used the NDP as its point of departure.

The NDP had been elevated to a status “above the Freedom Charter” and was based on and had expanded the Growth Employment and Redistribution strategy (Gear), which Numsa called a “failed neoliberal economic framework”.

Its major problems with the NDP included that it protected power relations of colonialism “of a special type in post-1994” and did not provide a plan on how to transform the economy in line with the Freedom Charter.

Infrastructure roll-out plans were geared towards serving mining capital and not broad-based industrial development, which the country needed, and the rejection of nationalisation had just been for business confidence, said Numsa.

The NDP also sought to deregulate the labour market and weaken working class power further, bringing the country closer to an implosion.

Regarding “political attacks” on Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, it said they were part of failed attempts to turn Cosatu into a “conveyor belt for the legitimisation of anti-working class policies”.

Because Vavi was not the “darling of capital“, the reports sought to weaken Cosatu.

Jim said Numsa planned to meet the ANC to raise its concerns, and would highlight perceived similarities between the NDP and DA policies through strikes.

He was not expecting the union’s resistance to the NDP to go smoothly.

“Is it going to be a nice route? No. We don’t expect anybody to kiss us. This is a class struggle,” he said.

Numsa president Cedric Gina said when the NDP was given to President Jacob Zuma he was told it had the support of the public.

“But now we are saying 310 000 (Numsa) members don’t support it,” said Gina.

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