Numsa deny mobilising along tribal and regional lines

2013-12-23 00:00

NUMSA’S newly elected deputy president Basil Cele hit back at claims that his union leaders were “renegades” mobilised along tribal and regional factions in their opposition to the ANC-led tripartite alliance.

“They are narrow [in their thinking] and run away from facing the real issues facing the tripartite alliance.

“Our enemy is neo-liberal policy, nothing else. It is not about tribal affiliation,” Cele said in an interview with The Witness yesterday.

Cele, who hails from KZN, made the statements in reaction to statements made at a press conference convened by SACP KZN on Thursday where provincial chairperson Themba Mthembu said Numsa leaders were opposed to Zulu leaders in the ANC, SACP and Cosatu who came from KwaZulu-Natal where they believed power was too concentrated.

Although he did not say where “the renegades” came from, Mthembu said those from KZN were “homeland” leaders who wanted to be “politically correct”.

However, Cele insisted that Numsa leaders were neither tribal or regional.

“We take a look at the policies of the government and the challenges facing the working class,” he said.

“The ANC does not assist us as workers with neo-liberal policies.”

Numsa has been vocal in calling for the scrapping of labour brokers, the youth wage subsidy and e-tolls, and opposition to the National Development Plan.

Cele, who said he too was a Zulu, said, “When we complain about neo-liberal policies, it is not about who leads.”

He had until last week’s Numsa special congress been the KZN regional chairperson.

He took over as the deputy president after Andrew Chirwa became the president.

Chirwa replaced Cedric Gina, who resigned last month.

The former Cosatu provincial chairperson said he was humbled by his nomination without opposition.

“I wish to work with the collective leadership, respect the collective decisions that are taken. If a decision is taken, I will abide by it,” he said.

KZN Numsa secretary Mbusi Ngubane said they were honoured to have Cele elected to the national leadership with other regions agreeing to his election when there were other available candidates for the same position.

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