Workers have no political home – Irvin Jim

2014-04-10 17:12

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Metalworkers union Numsa’s general secretary Irvin Jim says there is no party in South Africa that represents the workers and the poor, but he refuses to talk about plans for his own party.

Jim was part of a panel on political economy at the Daily Maverick’s The Gathering conference in Joburg today.

“There is no political organisation that represents the interests of the poor and working class in South Africa today,” he said. Jim said those who claimed to do so were either in Parliament or hoping to go there.

“[There’s] nobody who can represent the interests of the working class and the poor. We need to represent ourselves.”

Various trade union leaders are on the ANC’s elections lists ahead of the May elections.

During question time, Jim was asked by eNCA presenter Jeremy Maggs when he would be starting his party and what it would be called, but he refused to answer. He just shook his head.

Jim said workers loved the ANC, but the time had come for the working class to organise itself.

He said workers and the poor didn’t care about the ANC’s symbols and name, but rather about whether they had food and homes.

He admitted that many trade union members were middle class, but that they showed solidarity with the poor. He also said workers were involved in many projects in their communities.

Numsa is at loggerheads with Cosatu and the ANC about the suspension of Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. The ANC intervened yesterday after a court overturned Vavi’s suspension last week. The warring factions called a “ceasefire” to allow for mediation.

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