Numsa defends comments about ANC
Johannesburg - Metal workers' union Numsa on Tuesday defended its comments on ANC matters, saying it had a direct interest in the calibre of the party's leadership.
"A false political impression has been created as if Numsa [the National Union of Metalworkers of SA] has no right to comment on the political and economic developments in our country and the national liberation movement in particular," it said in a statement.
"The ANC allies...will always have a direct interest in its ideological posture and calibre of its leadership collective, given the alliance's shared strategic goals of the national democratic revolution."
Numsa was aware it was not an affiliate of the African National Congress. However, its membership had over the last decade been encouraged to swell ANC ranks to influence its policies.
On Monday ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe rebuffed the union for calling for new leaders. The union became the first organised formation to call for President Jacob Zuma and the rest of the ANC leadership to be changed at the party's elective conference, to be held in Bloemfontein in December.
It accused the ANC's leadership of failing to implement resolutions taken at the last ANC elective conference, held in Polokwane in 2007, at which Zuma was elected party president.
On Monday, Mantashe said the union was exaggerating its role. He questioned whether Numsa had enough members in ANC branches to influence the December elective conference.
"I think we need to make an appeal to everybody to never make that dangerous assumption that it's them who exist, and the ANC is at the mercy of everybody else," he said on Monday.
"It doesn't work that way. There is no delegation in the contract of the ANC called a Numsa delegation. There is no such a delegation at the ANC elective conference."
Mantashe said the union would be invited as a delegation of observers within the Congress of SA Trade Unions, which Numsa was affiliated to.
He warned that waiting in the wings to topple the ANC was a "tendency" that was "politically dangerous".
In its statement on Tuesday, the union said it was "crystal clear" only ANC branches could democratically decide on leadership in party structures.
"However, there is a need to defend the progressive Polokwane policies and therefore [Numsa's national political commission] directed metalworkers who are members of the ANC to ensure that we have a leadership in the ANC NEC who unapologetically execute the resolutions of Polokwane."
Numsa said its intention was to "retain the ANC's historical bias for the working class".