Irvin Jim’s 2am walkout

2014-11-09 08:00

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Just after 2am yesterday, Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), and his lieutenants got up and walked out of the first-floor boardroom at Cosatu House – probably for the last time.

It was the culmination of a dramatic day at the trade union federation’s headquarters – a day that ended with the expulsion of Cosatu’s biggest affiliate.

The fate of Numsa was decided at a 16-hour Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting, dubbed “the night of the long knives” by some delegates.

Numsa’s foes wanted it kicked out for, among other things, poaching members from fellow affiliates, defying official Cosatu positions and taking a stand against the ANC, which is the leader of the tripartite alliance.

Numsa’s Jim – who prepared a 29-page presentation on why it should not be expelled – was given three hours to state his union’s case.

He accused the ANC and the SA Communist Party of being behind the moves to get Numsa kicked out of Cosatu to silence the federation in its outspokenness against the ANC.

He said the ANC and the SACP were protecting the interests of the capitalist class in South Africa at the expense of the working class.

Jim said this was evident in the ANC’s suppression of the debate on the nationalisation of mines.

“How do you expect them to support nationalisation when they own shares in the very companies that will be nationalised?”

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