What you need to know about the Numsa congress court battle

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A Numsa picket in Johannesburg.
A Numsa picket in Johannesburg.
Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images via Getty Images


The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) is embroiled in a legal battle over its alleged failure to fully comply with its constitution, ahead of its 11th national congress.

The 53 suspended members, including the union’s former second president Ruth Ntlokotse, lodged a contempt of court application after the union forged ahead with its congress despite a court order.

If the union is found guilty, the application demands the imprisonment of Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim and president Andrew Chirwa.

READ: Inside Labour | Numsa faces a doctrinal crisis

Judge Portia Nkutha-Nkontwana postponed the case to August 19 to allow her time to study both parties’ submissions.

The congress took place from July 27 - 29.

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

In a video, Numsa national treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo is seen addressing the union’s supporters.

He said:

We have a union to run. What we cannot agree to is to have the union processes run by the judge. The only thing we agreed on is that we postponed until Friday the 19th.

Irvin Jim’s affidavit

Meanwhile, Numsa contended that it complied with its constitution before proceeding with the congress, a condition of the court order.

Jim argued that in a bid to comply with the judgment, Numsa convened a central committee meeting whose intention was to remedy the constitutional defects before the congress began.

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“Maqungo noticed that the applicant, Ruth Ntlokotse, had not confirmed her attendance at the upcoming emergency central committee meeting. The treasurer then sent a message on the national office bearers’ WhatsApp group reminding her of the meeting and stating that he had even arranged a flight for her early the next day.”

Jim said Ntlokotse ignored the message.

After correcting all the constitutional defects pointed out in Judge Moshoana’s order, Jim said they proceeded with the congress.

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