Numsa will not be intimidated: Jim

By Drum Digital
18 December 2013

Numsa will not be intimidated by those calling for the union to be investigated.

Numsa will not be intimidated by those calling for the union to be investigated, general secretary Irvin Jim said on Wednesday. "There is a deliberate attempt to make sure Numsa is isolated," he told delegates at a special national congress in Boksburg, on the East Rand. He claimed there was a move to try and suspend the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) from Cosatu before the trade union federation held its special congress. Numsa was one of nine Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) affiliates which called on it to hold a special congress following the suspension of general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Numsa, a Vavi ally, had brought a court application against Cosatu because of Vavi's suspension.

At Cosatu's last central executive committee, its president Sidumo Dlamini said an investigation was being conducted into disruptions of the trade union federation's protests in some provinces. Dlamini said affiliates were bound by Cosatu decisions and had to participate in its programmes. Numsa was one of the affiliates which did not participate in the protests. At the time, Dlamini said Cosatu's office bearers would hold talks with Numsa. "They investigate everything, but no results you will find. We must tell them that we reject thisand we won't be intimidated by Sidumo and his investigations," said Jim.

He accused the SA Communist Party of continuously attacking Numsa, and said the gloves were now off.

"The party has clearly taken a decision to do whatever it can to try to divide Numsa in the build-up to our special congress," he said.

"The relationship has degenerated to the lowest levels in our history as a union."

Numsa and the SACP have been at loggerheads over the union's outspoken criticism of the African National Congress and Cosatu. On Tuesday, Numsa said it had invited the SACP to its congress, but that the party had decided not to attend. The SACP denied this on Wednesday, saying it had not received an invitation. "Had the party received an invitation, it would have positively considered to attend, and to engage with delegates at the congress," the SACP said in a statement.

Jim said there was a "lingering phenomenon" in the trade union movement that wanted to divide the labour movement from the ANC and the SACP.

"We should not be surprised that Zwelinzima Vavi is suspended," he said.

"The extended investigation of Zweli [Vavi] is a clear witch-hunt."

Jim said Numsa would continue to speak openly about its policy ideas.

-by Sapa

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