Leaving Cosatu is last resort – Irvin Jim

2013-11-26 17:22

Metal workers’ union Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim has denied that his union plans to pull out of union federation Cosatu, saying doing so would be a last resort.

Jim was speaking at a press briefing to respond to accusations made against him by former Numsa president Cedric Gina, who has left in a huff. In his letter of resignation, Gina suggests that he had decided to leave before “my working relationship with him ... turns violent”.

His surprise resignation comes at a time when Cosatu leaders are investigating Numsa for disrupting its meetings with workers, and have called on the union to drop its court challenge to federation general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi’s suspension.

Jim expressed disappointment with Gina for suggesting that there was a move to take the union out of Cosatu when it convenes a special congress, saying none of its national leaders had said so.

“To leave Cosatu would be the last resort. Numsa has to do everything to make sure workers are united,” Jim said.

He said the meeting of Cosatu’s biggest union would discuss Cosatu and the performance of the ANC, which he said had not delivered on the calls to scrap e-tolls and the ban on labour brokers.

Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete also denied allegations that Gina had been muzzled, saying it was impossible to muzzle any national leader of the union or limit their influence.

“It is just not within the custom, practice and tradition within Numsa [to do so]. When you hold a minority view in Numsa, you will be availed the opportunity to fully engage and debate with others,” Cloete said.

Jim admitted that he went to Nkandla with Gina to meet President Jacob Zuma in April last year, but denied that he had tried to negotiate for Vavi to be elected deputy president of the ANC in Mangaung at the end of that year.

Cyril Ramaphosa was eventually elected to the position after he received the most votes at the ANC’s elective conference.

He said the Nkandla meeting was about workers’ issues such as manufacturing growth, and said he wouldn’t reveal what Zuma told them in confidence.

Numsa has also promised to approach the Hawks to lay criminal charges against a Gauteng Cosatu and police union Popcru leader for suggesting on Facebook that Jim should be “outrooted from society” and that he should be killed for his hostile stance towards Cosatu leaders.

A new Numsa president is expected to be elected at the special congress in Boksburg next month.

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