Tripartite alliance dysfunctional - Numsa leader

2015-04-16 16:51
Irvin Jim (City Press)

Irvin Jim (City Press)

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Johannesburg - The tripartite alliance of the ANC, Cosatu and SACP has become dysfunctional and in the process workers have been used as "voting fodder" for the ruling party, National Union of Metalworkers' of SA (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim said on Thursday.

"It [the alliance] is paralysed and dominated by infighting and factionalism," he told delegates at Numsa's Conference for Socialism in Boksburg, on Johannesburg's east rand.

"It is used to rubber stamp neo-liberal policies of the ANC and not as a centre of power that debates policy issues and implementation."

He said the ANC had refused to reconfigure the alliance into a strategic political centre.

"Our strategy of swelling the ranks has not worked and the leaders of the alliance have implemented no significant resolutions of Cosatu congresses in relation to how the alliance should function."

Numsa was expelled from the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in November for resolutions taken at its special national congress held in December 2013.

Cosatu said Numsa's resolutions contravened the trade union federation's constitution.

In 2013, Numsa resolved to not support the ANC in last year's general elections and to expand its scope, which upset some Cosatu affiliates.

Cosatu and Numsa had been at loggerheads since the federation had suspended its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in 2013 for having an affair with a junior employee and for allegations of mismanagement in the handling of the buying and selling of Cosatu's headquarters.

Numsa took Cosatu to court to fight Vavi's suspension and last year the North Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg overturned the central executive committee's decision to suspend Vavi and he returned to work.

An ANC task team was established to help Cosatu sort out its internal battles.

Last month, Cosatu expelled Vavi after he had decided to boycott CEC meetings in support of Numsa.

Seven Cosatu affiliates have been supporting Numsa since its expulsion and some of them were attending the conference on Thursday. This included the Food and Allied Workers Union, the SA Football Players Union and the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union.

Vavi arrived at the conference after Jim had delivered his address.

Boycotting Vavi

Cosatu has warned its affiliates not to attend meetings addressed by Vavi.

Vavi and Numsa have been travelling around the country speaking to workers. There is speculation that they are looking to establish a new trade union federation.

The National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) was also attending Numsa's conference.

Former Cosatu national spokesperson, Patrick Craven, who resigned following Vavi's expulsion, was present. Ronnie Kasrils was also at the conference on behalf of the United Front, which has been championed by Numsa.

There were also representatives from workers' party WASP, the PAC and Azapo.

Jim on Thursday said Cosatu had succumbed to the "neo-liberal agenda" of the ANC.

"In this process Numsa was continuously vilified and smeared by those opposed to its Marxist-Leninist and militant approach, in Cosatu itself, in the ANC and in the SACP."

The SACP's leadership had also become embedded in the state and was failing the working class, he said.

"The chance of winning it back onto the path of working class struggle for working class power is very remote."

There was no way of winning the alliance back, he said.

Jim said it was because of this that the working class needed a political organisation committed to its policies and actions.

The conference had to determine what type of socialist political organ needed to be championed, he said.

"It is our sincere hope that this conference should begin the difficult job of laying the democratic foundation for the left and socialist formations in our country to engage one another for the purpose of advancing the struggle for the socialist world and a socialist South Africa."

Read more on:    sacp  |  cosatu  |  anc  |  numsa  |  zwelenzima vavi  |  irvin jim  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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