Numsa congress: Abide by Labour Court and cough up for the cost, region warns leaders

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National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa members demonstrating in Johannesburg.
National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa members demonstrating in Johannesburg.
Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • The National Union of Metalworkers' Eastern Cape region urged the national leadership to issue a new national congress notice in line with the Numsa constitution.
  • This comes after the union's national congress, set to take place in Cape Town this week, was interdicted by the Labour Court on Saturday.
  • Numsa delegates gathered at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Monday morning, some of which had already begun traveling over the weekend.
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The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa's (Numsa) Eastern Cape region urged the union's national leadership to arrange new dates for its national congress in line with the Labour Court's ruling and carry the costs for delegates.

The region criticised national leadership for apparently going ahead with an interdicted national congress in Cape Town on Monday morning.

A letter from Numsa Eastern Cape regional office bearers, which Fin24 has seen, blamed national leaders as hundreds of Numsa delegates gathered at the Cape Town International Conventions Centre for the conference, which was interdicted by the courts on Friday.

The Labour Court in Johannesburg interdicted the conference from commencing after suspended second deputy president Ruth Ntlokotse sought the urgent relief of having her suspension lifted. The court declared her suspension, as well as that of 30 other officials, "unconstitutional, invalid, and unenforceable in law".

Ntlokotse, along with scores of other officials that were either suspended or barred from attending the congress, pending disciplinary proceedings, say their suspensions were a bid to sideline them from participating in the national congress and contesting for national office.

Ntolokotse is looking to stand for the position of Numsa president after being elected as the president of Numsa's umbrella federation, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), in May.  

READ | Over 50 officials banned from Numsa conference as shop steward drama worsens

A 13-point letter from Numsa's Eastern Cape region said if union leadership did not issue a new national congress notice in line with the Numsa constitution, the union would find itself "in contempt of court".

"It is a firm view the of Eastern Cape regional office bearers collective that cost associate with traveling, accommodation and everything else should or must be borne by individuals who failed to act on time, whilst they knew [of] the recent court order about the congress itself and the impact thereof," the letter said.

The letter said Numsa's national leadership should personally bear the costs associated with "travelling, accommodation and everything else" related to the now- interdicted eleventh national congress. 

They claim the national office "failed to act on time" when it was known on Friday that the Labour Court had ordered the congress not to go ahead.

Some delegations that have arrived in Cape Town from KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape left their regions on Saturday or as late as Sunday.

READ | Suspended Numsa officials head to court to lift sanctions or halt crucial conference

The letter also questions the legitimacy of "purported delegates".

Further claimed breaches of the Numsa constitution are also listed, along with claims that public statements in the name of the Eastern Cape region have been issued "without our knowledge, permission, and approval". 

The Numsa Central Committee and national office were given until 11:00 on Tuesday to respond. According to a letter that Fin24 has seen, Numsa plans to hold a special central committee meeting on Tuesday morning to discuss the implications of the court interdict.

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