Irvin Jim: Mandela warned us against ANC's betrayal

2013-12-17 17:49

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Metalworkers' union Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said former president Nelson Mandela had warned the labour movement to be vigilant against betrayal by the ANC.

Jim quoted Mandela's message to Cosatu's special national congress in 1993, where he said: "If the ANC does not deliver the goods, you must do what you did to the apartheid regime."

Jim said the union would be following Mandela's advice when deciding on its road forward at its special conference, which started in Boksburg today.

Delivering his secretariat report at a special four-day conference called by Numsa to decide whether it should remain in Cosatu, Jim said Mandela's death marked "the end of a political era in our journey towards full liberation".

"If we are to truthfully and fully honour Mandela and his comrades, his passing on must herald the birth of our renewed commitment to intensify the struggle for full economic sovereignty, for complete economic freedom of the working class and the rural poor," he said.

He said Mandela's passing should inspire the union to fight for the ideals he stood for. "Not to do so will be to betray him and his comrades," he said.

Jim told a packed hall of cheering delegates this afternoon that the conference was taking place soon after Mandela's funeral on Sunday, and at a time when a "triple crisis is ravaging the working class".

This triple crisis is unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Jim reminded conference that Mandela had warned Cosatu in 1993 that the labour movement should be vigilant because there are many examples in Africa where labour was betrayed by the liberation movement after liberation.

Numsa was supposed to have its conference this past weekend, but postponed it because of Mandela's death and the subsequent 10-day mourning period.

The union is set to decide by Friday whether it wants to remain part of Cosatu.

It has accused the labour federation of having a political agenda when it expelled its general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi.

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