‘Numsa’s court order defiance an unwise move’ - Judge says as union denied leave to appeal

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Irvin Jim . Photo: Tebogo Letsie
Irvin Jim . Photo: Tebogo Letsie


The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) was dealt another blow on Thursday.

It was denied leave to appeal the interdict that halted its 11th national congress.

Labour Court Judge Graham Moshoana issued the ruling after a virtual hearing of the urgent application for leave to appeal on Wednesday evening.

It must follow that this application must fail. Before I conclude, I must deal with a disturbing revelation made during the virtual hearing that despite this court’s earlier order, Numsa has proceeded and is proceeding with its congress without full compliance with its constitution.

Forging ahead with the congress in defiance of the court order was an unguided and unwise move, he said.

The labour court order issued on Saturday was pursued by Numsa’s second deputy president Ruth Ntlokotse in a bid to lift her suspension and attend the workers’ parliament along with other suspended members.

The over 30 Numsa officials were barred from attending the national congress, which is the highest making decision body of the union where leadership is elected.

READNumsa forges ahead with congress in defiance of court order

Advocate of the 31 suspended officials Sinclair Nhlapo said Numsa’s conduct “was in total disregard of this particular court”.

Nhlapo argued that Numsa’s conduct was of concern because it suggested that it was driven by a mandate of lawlessness.

Suspension confusion

Fuelling tensions is the confusion over whether the members on precautionary suspension - as warranted by Numsa’s constitution - are on definite suspension.

Meanwhile, Numsa’s legal representative, Advocate Margaretha Engelbrecht, attempted to clear up the uncertainty. She said: “In a precautionary suspension, we accept as we must that there are benefits of membership that are lost. In other words, certain benefits cannot be exercised, and they are illustrated quite clearly in this application before it came to your lordship.”

Engelbrecht added that the precautionary suspension at the time had the effect of excluding certain people from participation in the national congress.

“Advocate Nhlapho tends to take the union’s constitution outside of the contractual realm. He takes you to the Labour Relations Act. We do not dispute that the constitution is a particular type of contract. Even Advocate Nhlapo cannot run away from the contractual nature.”

Leadership elected

Numsa elected new leadership on Wednesday.

Irvin Jim remains the general secretary.

Mbuso Ngubane, KwaZulu-Natal’s regional secretary, was elected as the deputy general secretary.

Mac Chavalala, the chairperson of Hlanganani [which covers the whole of Limpopo province, Tshwane and Rustenburg areas] was elected first deputy president.

READ: Numsa halted from proceeding with ‘metal workers parliament’

Puleng Phaka, Northern Cape’s chairperson, was elected second deputy president.

Mphumzi Maqungo was elected national treasurer.

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