ANC sold people like pap and vleis, says Numsa

2014-01-27 08:36

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The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says it loves the ANC, but feels like the governing party sold people on a plate like pap and vleis (porridge and meat), union president Andrew Chirwa has said.

“We love one another, we love our historic organisation, we love the alliance – or we used to love them – and we love the African National Congress,” he said.

“But what we don’t love is the African National Congress that sells the working-class people – and the poor – cheap to the bourgeoisie. That is what we are not happy about ... We can’t be sold on a plate like pap and vleis.”

He said he would not be apologetic about the union’s stance.

“As South Africa is today, the working class and the poor people are in trouble,” said Chirwa.

He was speaking yesterday at Isando in Kempton Park on the East Rand at the official opening of a week-long Numsa political school.

The political school will be attended by 150 shop stewards and other Numsa activists.

It is aimed at taking forward the resolutions adopted at Numsa’s December special national congress.

Chirwa said Numsa would not look back on its resolution last month that President Jacob Zuma had to resign immediately because of corruption and the policies his administration were implementing.

The union also resolved not to support the ANC in the upcoming elections.

Chirwa told the political school that Numsa had received support from “noble and credible people” for its call for Zuma to resign and could not look back.

“The hope of the poor and vulnerable is in our hands – we can’t look back now. The political school will help strengthen us more. Numsa must not look back now,” he said.

Numsa’s “enemies” had intensified their campaign against the union to be dismissed from the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) after the resolutions it took last month, he said.

On Thursday, Numsa said it had agreed to meet Cosatu to discuss resolutions taken at its national congress only if the trade union federation sent it an agenda.

“Cosatu is leaderless now ... It is time to engage with unions,” he said.

Numsa called for a special congress after the suspension of general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in August last year.

Vavi was put on special leave in August pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to his affair with a junior employee. In July, the employee accused him of rape. He said they had an affair. The woman subsequently withdrew the sexual harassment complaint.

After 20 years of democracy in South Africa, it was clear that capitalism has failed, said Chirwa.

“We are here because we want to change the world in favour of the working class,” he said.

“We want to destroy capitalism ... Capitalism has failed.”

Chirwa said the union had gathered because it wanted to destroy capitalism.

Numsa secretary-general Irwin Jim echoed Chirwa’s sentiments and said the conditions of the working class were becoming worse.

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