No fair hearing for Numsa, says Jim

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim. (File photo)
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim. (File photo)

Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) is adamant it will not be given a fair hearing in Friday's Cosatu central executive committee (CEC) meeting, where the union's future in the federation will be discussed.

"[Numsa] has already been found guilty without being afforded the opportunity to present our case and we have raised that," Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said outside the High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday.

"We have no reason to believe that Numsa will be given a fair hearing in the CEC."

A Numsa application for an urgent court interdict stopping the CEC meeting, which was expected to expel the metalworkers' union, was postponed by the court on Thursday.

Judge Brian Mashile ordered that the matter be enrolled and postponed sine die (at a date to be arranged). An order on costs was reserved.

This meant the Congress of SA Trade Unions' central executive committee meeting would go ahead on Friday.

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Jim, his deputy Karl Cloete, Numsa president Andrew Chirwa, and Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini were in court on Thursday.

Standing on the steps of the high court, Dlamini said he was happy with the court order.

"The CEC tomorrow is going ahead, where matters will be discussed. Everybody, including Numsa, will be given an opportunity to state any concern they have," he said.

Numsa would be given an opportunity to explain to the CEC why it should not be expelled or suspended after being accused of violating Cosatu's constitution.

Dlamini would not comment on the charges against Numsa.

"We are not casting disciplinary processes here, we are having a central executive committee meeting that must be tasked with matters, among those, the extension of the scope by Numsa."

Numsa was facing five charges. One relates to Numsa's decision to extend its scope of operation to other sectors after being accused of poaching members from other Cosatu affiliates.

Jim said many other affiliates had taken the same decision before, yet were not taken to task.

"Many other affiliates have taken the same decision."

Jim said Numsa would address this during its presentation to the CEC.

Numsa faces charges relating to a decision it took at its special national congress in December not to support the African National Congress during the general elections in May, and over its call that Cosatu withdraw from the alliance with the ruling party.

Jim questioned whether this was a legitimate reason to expel Numsa or suspend it, again saying other unions had taken similar decisions in the past.

"We will not take workers' money to spend on the ANC that is driving a right-wing neo-liberal agenda. Indeed we will give them [the CEC] a run down of the neo-liberal agenda that's been running for the last 20 years."

Two of the five charges - Numsa's decision to organise a march to Cosatu and its decision to hold back on paying affiliation fees - had no standing because Numsa had not followed through with them, Jim said.

He said the union was an affiliate in good standing.

The final charge was based on Numsa's decision to not pay a levy to a political fund meant to benefit the SA Communist Party.

Jim said Numsa would attend Friday's CEC and defend itself against all the charges.

"We will be in the Cosatu CEC to workshop the CEC on how important are the five resolutions that Numsa has taken and why there is no basis why Numsa should be dismissed," he said.

"For now we will go and do a proper presentation to them in the Cosatu CEC and they must take a decision. On the basis of that we might have to come back to this court."


- Numsa expulsion: Cosatu meeting to go ahead
- Numsa breaks away from ANC alliance
- Cosatu adjouns special meeting
- Labour Wrap: Clarifying Cosatu confusion

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