1

December issue of the Journal

In this issue:
Editorial:
Reinstate NUMSA in COSATU
Bosnia:
‘Dig Deep for DITA’ interview and appeal
Namibia:
WRP Election Manifesto
France:
Beefing up the Bonapartism.




Numsa and the question of a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist political organ of the working class in South Africa today

“It is obvious that the black capitalist class favours capitalism and that it will do its best to influence the post-apartheid society in this direction.  

It is obvious that the black middle and upper classes who take part in a broad liberation alliance will jostle for hegemony and attempt to represent their interests as the interests of all Africans.  

It is obvious that (like their counterparts in every part of the world) the black middle and upper strata, who find themselves on the side of the people’s struggle, are often inconsistent and vacillating. They are usually the enemy’s softest targets for achieving a reformist, rather than a revolutionary, outcome.”  (Joe Slovo, 1988)

It has become necessary, and quite urgent, to emphatically re-state and explain the December 2013 historic Numsa Special National Congress Resolutions, especially the ones that talk to the formation of the United Front, the Movement for Socialism, the ANC and its alliance, and the formation of an independent revolutionary socialist vanguard party of the working class and the role of Numsa in all this.

The Resolutions adopted in our Special National Congress were a culmination of more than 26 years of working inside the South African Liberation Movement (LM) in general, and inside and building the ANC and its alliance in particular.

Over more than two decades of struggle inside the LM and the ANC and its alliance, by December last year, Numsa came to the inescapable observation and conclusion that there is no chance of winning back the ANC led alliance to what it was originally formed for, which was to drive a revolutionary programme for fundamental transformation of the country, with the Freedom Charter as the minimum platform to transform the South African economy and society.

As for the South African Communist Party (SACP) it was clear that its leadership had become embedded in the state and it was failing to act as the vanguard of the working class. Nor, for that matter, has the SACP any revolutionary programme, post 1994, for the struggle for socialism for South Africa.

By December last year, we became convinced that the chances of winning back the ANC onto the path of radical implementation of the Freedom Charter and the SACP onto the path of genuine working class struggles for working class power had become very remote, truly, had actually evaporated!

We therefore correctly resolved to call on Cosatu to break from the ANC led alliance. We stated that the need for looking for a political alternative had arrived.

We then resolved that NUMSA was going to lead the establishment of a new United Front, which will coordinate struggles in the workplace and in communities, in a way similar to the UDF of the 1980s.

The task of this Front will be to fight for the implementation of the Freedom Charter and to be an organisational weapon against neoliberal policies such as the NDP. For this to happen, the Special Congress charged our members and shopstewards to be active on all fronts and in all struggles against neo- liberal policies, wherever these policies were being implemented.

Clearly, the United Front is not a political party – it is simply an organisational weapon against neoliberal policies and for the demand for the radical implementation of the Freedom Charter. The fundamental purpose of the United Front is to coordinate struggles in the workplace and in communities.

We have noticed that some creative journalists have gone so far as to announce for us that Numsa’s political party is called the United Front. Nothing could be further from the truth. In our Resolutions, we clearly stated that the United Front will be an organization similar to the United Democratic Front (UDF) – a democratic umbrella coordinating structure of the shopfloor and community struggles of the working class bringing together all sorts of working class and progressive community organisations and individuals.

Again and for the record, the United Front is not a political party!

Side by side with the establishment of the new United Front, we resolved that Numsa would explore the establishment of a Movement for Socialism, as the working class needs a political organisation committed in its policies and actions to the establishment of a socialist South Africa.

We said that Numsa would conduct discussions on previous and current attempts to build socialism. We resolved to commission an international study on the historical formation of working class parties, including exploring different type of parties – from mass workers parties to vanguard parties.

In our Special Congress we even mentioned countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Greece – as potential sources on socialist experiences we would study. We then said the whole learning process would lead to the union convening a Conference on Socialism.

We said that the work to explore the formation of a Movement for Socialism must be regularly reported to our Numsa constitutional structures and the work must be finalised by the first NUMSA Central Committee in 2015.

In the meantime, in all the work being done, whether on building a new United Front or exploring the formation of a Movement for Socialism, we said that we must be alert to gains that may present possibilities of either the new United Front, or any other progressive coalition or party committed to socialism, standing for elections in future. We charged the NUMSA constitutional structures to continuously assess these developments and possibilities.

It is in pursuit of this objective that we have recently announced that we will consider the possibility of the working class fielding candidates in Metros and Municipalities, in 2016  Local Government Elections, such as in the Nelson Mandela Metro.

The “Movement for Socialism” is not the name of a political party Numsa has formed. The name of such a political organ (could be a broad coalition of revolutionary socialist formations) or party (could be a straightforward revolutionary socialist workers party – not necessarily of that name!), and how such an organ or party will be formed, all will be determined in the theater of struggle – the working class, once sufficiently mobilized and united behind the demand for socialism, will determine the programme, form and name of such a structure.

From the above, a few things that are very important must now be very clear.

Numsa is and will remain a trade union, inspired by Marxism Leninism. It will not convert itself into a political party. It cannot do so, anyway.

Numsa sees itself playing a leading role in the formation of the United Front and a revolutionary and catalytic role in the formation of the revolutionary socialist organ of the working class – it is theoretically and factually wrong to assert that “Numsa will form a political party” or more ridiculously and quite incorrectly, that “Numsa has formed a political party” in the same way that Julius Malema or Bantu Holomisa formed their parties!

The political organ to logically arise out of the processes outlined above (whether it be a socialist movement or a socialist workers party, and called by whatever name) cannot be about “beefing up, or providing credible opposition to the ANC” precisely because the process we have outlined above are processes of the immense majorities – the South African working class, both black and white, in all their workplaces and communities!

All other previous and historic political formations, including the birth of the ANC itself, were movements of minorities!

The ANC and SACP are everyday reminding Numsa that the working class organised in Cosatu unions and Cosatu itself will always remain in the ANC and its Alliance. This is arrogance of the highest order, and it reveals shocking ignorance and abandonment of Marxist-Leninist class theory and analysis, on the part of the leadership of both the ANC and SACP, about why the working class both organized in Cosatu unions, and those not organised in any union, have tolerated a clearly dysfunctional and anti-working class alliance for more than 20 years!

Simply stated, the working class, are not the political property of either the ANC or the SACP – their presence in the ANC and SACP is premised on the sole fact that these organisations are able to protect and advance the class interests of the working class. As more than 27 years of our Marxist-Leninist analysis and revolutionary work has shown, both these organisations no longer champion the interests of the working class or socialism. And the advanced working class has, and continues to, abandon these organisations.

The revolutionary strategic objective of all these processes is for the advanced detachment of the working class to rally the immense majority in order to win economic and political power for the immense majority of South African working class in all its manifold manifestations, for a socialist South Africa as the only solution to the human crisis in South Africa, and the world, today.

There are no individuals among the Numsa national leadership who harbor illusions of personal grandeur, or who want political power in order to advance their personal economic interests.Only a malicious and extremely ignorant imbecile would make such a mischievous and unashamedly false accusation.

Numsa as a revolutionary trade union inspired by Marxism-Leninism, will play its revolutionary part in solving the human crisis in South Africa by advancing the cause for the only alternative and solution available to us: socialism.

Writing in 1988 at a time when many left and revolutionary socialist formations condemned the SACP’s strategy of working inside the ANC led Alliance for many reasons, including the possibility of the SACP abandoning the struggle for socialism in favour of the struggle for bourgeois nationalism, Joe Slovo then SACP General Secretary warned the working class thus:

It is obvious that the black capitalist class favours capitalism and that it will do its best to influence the post-apartheid society in this direction.  

It is obvious that the black middle and upper classes who take part in a broad liberation alliance will jostle for hegemony and attempt to represent their interests as the interests of all Africans.  

It is obvious that (like their counterparts in every part of the world) the black middle and upper strata, who find themselves on the side of the people’s struggle, are often inconsistent and vacillating. They are usually the enemy’s softest targets for achieving a reformist, rather than a revolutionary, outcome.” 

Twenty years into our neoliberal capitalist democracy, it has become clear to us, the working class, thatsections of the black petit-bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie who took part in the broad liberation alliance are viciously jostling for hegemony and attempting to represent their interests as the interests of all Africans by claiming that the Black and African working class will forever remain in the ANC and the SACP, and in the neo-liberal and capitalist ANC led Alliance. 

The SACP, when it was still led by Marxist-Leninists, further warned the working class about these tendencies of the vacillating strata among Black people, in its 1989 Programme:

“In the period after the seizure of power by the democratic forces, the working class will need to continue the struggle against capitalism. It will need to strengthen its organisations and build the bases of working class and popular power in the economy, in all sectors of the state and in the communities where the people live.

A deliberate effort will have to be made to prevent attempts by the bourgeoisie and aspirant capitalist elements – and their imperialist supporters – to dominate state power and divert the revolution. Constant mass vigilance will also have to be exercised and action taken against such negative tendencies as the stifling of popular democracy, the bureaucratisation of the state and corrupt practices in government or in society as a whole.

In order to prevent the emergence of a seed-bed for capitalist resurgence and ensure an advance to socialism, the working class must win to its side other sections of the working people, both now and after the popular seizure of power. The landless rural masses, sections of the intelligentsia, students, large contingents of youth and women (as social groups) and some small businessmen and other forces stand to gain from the victory of the socialist revolution.

The transition to socialism will be neither completely separate from nor contradictory to the tasks of the national democratic revolution. On the one hand, consistent implementation and defence of the national democratic programme constitute a major guarantee for progress towards socialism. On the other hand, many of the major objectives of the national democratic revolution will be fully accomplished in the process of socialist construction. Among these tasks are complete national liberation and equality, elimination of sex discrimination, and, more significantly, the elimination of monopoly domination over the economy.”

As Numsa we have consistently maintained that the NDR is not on track. The only track for the NDR is towards socialism because we believe many of the major objectives of the NDR can be fully achieved in the process of socialist construction.  Our call for a United Front of the working class and a Movement for Socialism is precisely a defence of the national democratic programme, the Freedom Charter, which remains the only programme that is capable of laying the basis for socialist transformation of South African society. 

There is no turning back, for us in Numsa. We will do whatever it takes to contribute to uniting the working class behind the demand for the radical implementation of the Freedom Charter, for the struggle against a neoliberal capitalist post-Apartheid South Africa, and for Socialism. As the Marxist-Leninist SACP said in 1989; “in the aftermath of the democratic forces assuming political power, the working class has the duty to continue the struggle against capitalism, for socialism”.

Irvin Jim,
Numsa General Secretary
20May 2014.

Contact:
Castro Ngobese
National Spokesperson
Mobile (1): 083 627 5197
Mobile (2): 081 011 1137
Tel (dir): 011 689 1702
Email: castron@numsa.org.za
Twitter: @castrongobese

 




Calling On All Workers Demanding a Strong and United COSATU!

7 April 2014, Originally posted here

Come and Welcome Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi back to COSATU House from 8.00am Monday 7th April at COSATU House at 110Jorrisen St, Braamfontein (near Civic Centre)

The historic High Court ruling last week confirmed that Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi had been wrongly suspended for eight wasted months by the current leadership faction of COSATU. Friends and comrades are gathering outside COSATU House to say:

• Welcome back to work Comrade Zweli! Provide the dynamic leadership we need!

• End the paralysis in COSATU! Give workers a strong and independent voice once again!

• Forward to a COSATU that challenges corruption, exploitation, inequality and unemployment!

• Call the Special National Congress! Stop the victimisation of NUMSA and other Unions!

• Out with factionalism! Build a United, Independent, Democratic COSATU under Workers Control!

Issued by the Nine Affiliates : Secretariat Comrade Radebe Mike Bonile Sikani : education @saccawu.org.za : cell 0823368296Comrade Stephen Faulkner : steve.faulkner@samwu.org.za : cell 0828175455




Half a million people to take to the streets on Wednesday 19 March in demand for youth jobs

17 March 2014, Posted in Press Releases

Yesterday Sunday 16 March many of you woke up to posters on lampposts announcing that “Numsa declares war”.Unfortunately, little did the posters tell you what the war was all about. Also not properly explained was the fact that the battle that made yesterday’s newspaper headlines involved not only the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) but hundreds of community groups, faith-based organisations, other unions, numerous women’s groups, taxi associations and a number of youth formations.This coming Wednesday (19 March 2014) close to 500 000 people will take to the streets to demand jobs for young people. After Greece and Spain, South Africa has the third highest unemployment rate in the world for people between the ages of 15 to 24. Half of the people between the age of 15 and 24 are unemployed in this country. About 71% of all unemployed people in South Africa are between the ages 15-29. Most of them are women; the majority of which have never had a job in their lives.As workers and parents, we are no longer prepared to fold our arms while our children remain jobless. We are also tired of political parties and business organisations that often refer to youth unemployment as a ticking time-bomb but do little to address the problem. As workers we also cannot continue to use our meagre wages to send our children to schools, colleges and universities to only find them wallowing in hopelessness as they cannot find employment after completion of their studies. Youth unemployment is a real problem in South Africa. It is time for those with power to act!On Wednesday 19 March 2014, we as a coalition of trade unions, community groups, faith-based organisations, student groups, organisations of unemployed people, taxi associations, women and youth formations; we will march in seven towns (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Emalahleni and George) to highlight the issue of youth unemployment and demand real solutions to the problem.

Youth unemployment demands real and not false solutions:

When presenting his Budget Speech on 26 February this year, the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan announced to a great applause in the Houses of Parliament and from the press gallery that since the introduction In January 2014 of the youth employment tax incentive, there have been

56 000 beneficiaries of the scheme. Little did the Minister tell us that the Employment Tax Incentive Act that President Jacob Zuma signed in December 2013;

  • made it possible for employers to backdate the claims for the subsidy to October 2013. So many of the 56 000 people that the Minister referred may have been employed last year.
  • for the 56 000 beneficiaries there will be no mandatory training.
  • that for those in his 56 000 beneficiaries where there is no bargaining council agreement or sectoral determination or collective agreement; there will be no enjoyment of benefits such as provident fund and other benefits.
  • No figure is given for actual jobs created since the Act was signed.

Why are we opposed to the Employment Tax Incentive Act? 

The first thing that South Africans must note with the Employment Tax Incentive Act is that what is being proposed is something broader than a youth wage subsidy. The Act proposes two additional categories of workers to be subsidised:

  • workers who work in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) as envisaged in the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act that was recently passed in Parliament.
  • workers in industries that the Minister may designate by notice in the Government Gazette.

In both these additional categories of workers, there is no age restriction. Subsidised workers in designated industries and in SEZs could be older than 29 years. The Minister has the power to move beyond the 18-29 years bracket through designation.

This means that employers in SEZs get an extra “bonus” benefit in the zone together with the other benefits in the act.

The second thing that we need to note is the hypocrisy of the whole thing. While we hear everyday about how social grants create “a culture of dependency” among the poor and that there has been the rejection of the demand for a Basic Income Grant, employers seemed happy to accept handouts from taxpayers in the form of tax concessions or subsidies for them to open factories and create jobs. It looks as if the philosophy that underpins the legislation is that; handouts to the poor are bad but good for the capitalist class!   

As this coalition we remain opposed to the Employment Tax Incentive Act for the following NINE reasons:

Reason 1The Act asks the working class to subsidise employers.

As the Act says no incentive will be paid in respect of employees who earn more R6 000 a month. The bulk of qualifying employees in terms of the Act pay no income tax as the current tax threshold (2013) is R67 111. This means that an employer can withhold the subsidy he is entitled to from the general tax deductions. Tax which workers pay for schools, hospitals etc can be used by the employer as his subsidy!

This in effect means it is coming from workers and to an extent the middle class.  It is they who will work to subsidise the capitalist class.

Reason 2The philosophy of the Act is that ‘handouts’ to the poor are bad but good for capitalists!  

The philosophy of the Employment Tax Incentive Act is that grants to the poor are bad but good for capitalists. The government is prepared to forego revenue to entice the capitalist class to create jobs. This is the same capitalist class that speaks about how social grants create dependency and that grants are unsustainable. The Act is also being implemented by a government that has thus far refused to implement the Basic Income Grant and which makes no effort to pay current social benefits at anything near a decent level.

Reason 3The Act is based on the assumption that it is ‘high’ wages that are causing unemployment and not the refusal of the capitalists to invest that leads to joblessness.  

The idea behind the Employment Tax Incentive Act is that it is ‘high’ wages that are the cause of unemployment; which is why we must subsidise wages. Unfortunately for capitalism even it supporters in the World Bank no longer believe this. In its 2013 Development Report, the Bank argues that youth wage subsidies have not worked.

The architects of the Employment Tax Incentive Act are however silent about the “investment strike” by the private sector that has been going on in South Africa for many years. No-one seems to be able to put a figure on this but there is little disagreement that it exists. It is the problem of the refusal to invest on the part of the capitalist class that government refuses to tackle head on. It is this avoidance of the real problem that leads them to false solutions such as the tax incentive scheme.

Reason 4Even sectors with agreements are not immune from abuse.

The drafters of the Act do not seem to know the distinction between ACTUAL and MINIMUM wages. In the implementation of the Employment Tax Incentive Act, eligible employers can bring in qualifying employees and pay them minima in the agreements. The implications for a two-tiered labour market therefore remain with one group of workers on actuals and subsidised workers on minimums.

In collective bargaining this will have an inevitable downward push on wages in general. This is not “greedy” workers trying to protect their own conditions. Each worker in South Africa supports many more who are at home and unable to find decent work. In reality the vast majority of workers in this country, have no bargaining protection and don’t even negotiate their wages!

Reason 5: The dangers of displacement of older and permanent  employees are not totally eliminated 

Although the Act states that an employer will be deemed to have displaced a worker if the “order of court or otherwise, reveals that the dismissal of that employee constitutes an automatically unfair dismissal”, for us this is not good enough.  For a start the employee must prove that he or she was displaced because of the subsidy.

The worker must then wait for the Labour Court to decide that the dismissal was caused by displacement.  Employers are never likely to announce that a worker is being dismissed to replace him or her with a subsidized employee. Workplace reorganization will cover a multitude of sins! An employee could be dismissed, or leave in one unit and be replaced with a worker from another unit. The job of the replacement worker could then become subsidized. No new job has been created, the number of jobs remains the same.

But more serious in relation to any potential unfair dismissal case is that in the case of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and industries that the Minister may designate, there is no age limit. So we cannot use age as the basis of an “automatically unfair dismissal” case.

Reason 6:  Fraudsters are not disqualified!

In the original bill an employer who committed fraud would be disqualified from receiving the subsidy. In the Act that was passed although, there is a new penalty of R30 000, the automatic disqualification for receiving the subsidy in respect of other employees has been removed.  According to the Act, a fraudster employer may not be disqualified if the Minister feels that the effects of the disqualification may directly or indirectly have an impact on employees of the employer.

Reason 7: There are still no mandatory training provisions in the Act.

Although there is some talk about regulations for training, these are very weak. The key word to watch in the Act is “MAY”; which is a very weak commitment. The Minister may or may not prescribe regulations requiring training or skills development.  Don’t believe what is in the ANC Election Manifesto. The law says the Minister “may” pass regulations! They are not there. 

Reason 8: The Minister of Finance still has wide ranging powers. 

Except the consultation with the Minister of Labour on the training regulations that may be prescribed, the Minister of Finance still retains too much power. The Minister does not have to consult with other Ministers or stakeholders when designating industries for qualifying employees and eligible employers. Nor is there any provision for criteria that would guide the Minister’s decision. 

Reason 9: The Act bypassed NEDLAC. 

As this coalition we still maintain our view that the Act should have been tabled in NEDLAC as it is a socio-economic policy. This is what the NEDLAC Act requires. This was also the commitment in the Youth Employment Accord.

Don’t believe what truth twisters say!

Last Monday 10 March, members of the ANC’s Economic Transformation Committee (ETC) attacked our opposition to the Employment Tax Incentive Act and accused Numsa of speaking with “forked tongues”. Leading the pack was the architect of the employment tax incentive scheme Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and unfortunately Numsa’s former general-secretary Enoch Godongwana. Both claim that Numsa is dishonest in opposing the tax incentive scheme because “tens of billions of rands worth of government incentives have over the past years gone into the auto industry and that such incentives have kept the auto industry alive”.

Displaying the buffoonery that characterises what he says or does these days, the Secretary-General of the ANC Gwede Mantashe was blunter than Gordhan and Godongwana. According to Mantashe, “Numsa accepts incentives for the capitalist class in the automotive industry but refuse government subsidisation of unemployed people”.

In the workshops that we have run in all our 52 locals since January 2014, we have dismissed as disingenuous the criticism that as union we accept incentives for the capitalist class, but refuse subsidisation of unemployed people. As indicated above it is not all incentives that NUMSA is opposed to.

We are opposed to schemes where the working class is forced to subsidise capitalists. The APDP works differently from the employment tax incentive scheme. Yes, through the duty-free import credits the state foregoes some revenue for the fiscus but this is different from asking the working class to subsidise capitalists. The incentive scheme in the Act uses PAYE and avoids touching profits.

Gordhan, Godongwana and  Mantashe conveniently forget that the APDP, through Numsa ’s intervention has other components such Vehicle Assembly Allowance (VAA) and Production Incentive (PI) that promote local production and local assembly. Our support for APDP and opposition to the Employment Tax Incentive Act is not double speak or opportunism. Our support for the MIDP and now APDP is premised on our overall objectives of job creation, localisation and creation of decent jobs.

What are we then demanding?

In place of the false solutions that government is putting forward, WE DEMAND:

  • A repeal and scrapping of the Employment Tax Incentive Act.
  • Macro-economic policies that increase the demand for labour such as a tax system that penalizes companies who pay out dividends instead of reinvesting in job-creating activities.
  • Credit and the lowering of the cost of capital for job-creating companies and sectors.
  • A move beyond public works programmes to public-sector employment programmmes.
  • Training of apprentices, learners, experiential learners and interns to achieve qualifications.
  • A job-seekers grant or a basic income grant instead of a subsidy for employers.

Our strike is protected: 

The strike on 19 March is protected in terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) as the unions have served notices to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC). Every worker can join the strike without fear of dismissal or victimisation.

STRIKE FOR YOUTH JOBS

AGAINST FALSE SOLUTIONS!!!

Contact: Irvin Jim, NUMSA General Secretary, 0731576384

Or

Karl Cloete, NUMSA Deputy General Secretary, 0833890777




Numsa launch new paper

Numsa News: We say No to handouts, we need real jobs

Highlights include:
Numsa congress: Breaking new ground
Parliament: So, what is the state of the nation when it comes to policy and direction?
Numsa striking for youth jobs against false solutions
ANC vision: An Assessment of Vision 2014
Shop floor: Eskom salary report
Benefits: Will the government take workers’ pension fund money?
The meaning of Marikana tragedy

Issue One here!




NUMSA President Opening Speech: “Numsa National Bargaining Conference’

10 March 2014, Posted in Press ReleasesSpeeches

“The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionising themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirit of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle cries and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language…” (Karl Marx, 1984, Eighteenth Brumaire).”

 NUMSA President Opening Speech: “Numsa National Bargaining Conference’

Central Committee members

The officials of Numsa present here

Our invited guest

Most importantly the delegates of the Bargaining conference, Numsa shop stewards

On behalf of the National office bearers of our red Union I greet you all and welcome to the Numsa National bargaining conference 2014. Once again the time for ear to the ground in preparation for the 2014 class war against the bosses in our Engineering sector and house agreements like Eskom has arrived. Collective bargaining remains central to our revolutionary work to reclaim the surplus value that is stolen daily by the bosses at the point of production, as part of our program to take war to capital.

The National bargaining conference take place in the context of the:

  • State of the Nation address
  • The Budget speech
  • The coming election
  • Cosatu in the intensive care unit
  • The working class under seige

Political developments

The bargaining conference takes place at the time when our country is still facing difficult challenges, the devils of unemployment, poverty and inequality, the truth of the matter is that no matter how many times we keep on talking about the triple crises, it will not go away unless if our country takes a new political and economic path to address this challenges. The old solutions no matter how many times they get recycled they are not capable to deliver the required results which is a new economic path, in these regards i do wish to borrow from Karl Marx on the Eighteenth Brumaire;

“The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionising themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirit of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle cries and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language…” (Karl Marx, 1984, Eighteenth Brumaire).

The results of the failure to implement the freedom charter is the stubborn triple crises we facing today, all what is left is to lie to our people that we have a vision  2030( a good story to tell) and south Africa will be a better place (wokers and the poor in these country have a bad experience and story to tell). We have a bad history of shifting goal post in defence of the right wing agenda that our movement have accepted. Today we want to tell our people that they must forget about vision 2014 that we all supported and even refuse to make an honest assessment of ourselves.

The truth of the matter is that we only replaced white man with a black man, the system is still the same, and the South African capitalism continues to flourish with cooption of few black capitalist, whilst majority of our people continue to be excluded from the economy. The Anc government continues to be the supervisor of white monopoly capital, and that’s why they will fail.

The Sona provides nothing as part of taking forward the second phase of radical transition and the budget speech was even more decisive giving the bosses free grants with a an illusion that they will create jobs.

The developments in Cosatu

The enemies of our people and our revolution have intensified their campaign to isolate and defeat us; the forces of capitalism are now plotting to dismiss us from cosatu, under the pretext that our congress resolutions are not consistent with that of cosatu, as if we are not an independent trade union with all rights to take decisions.

Numsa has been given 7 days to respond why we should not be suspended or dismissed and we complied last week Friday. The letter from cosatu was very clear that the CEC has resolved to dismiss us to complete their master plan.

  • To paralyse cosatu
  • Get rid of Vavi
  • Dismiss Numsa

Finally you have cosatu of your dreams and aspirations but not cosatu of the workers, a conveyor belt of the Anc alliance, while the Anc is clear about serving their masters which is capital, while Cosatu of Sdumo grouping is paralysed the Anc government is forging ahead with anti worker policies.

This grouping does not care about workers issues anymore, the CeC of casatu is now a circus, and for the whole year now cosatu is still stacked on the same old matter.

They are now resorting to tribalist divide due to their desperation to divide workers for their selfish ends.

The Sacp was quick to go all out in defence of misuse and theft of tax payer’s money used at Nkandla project but is quite like an Egyptian mommy on zwelinzima vavi and cosatu.

Ours at this moment is to mobilise the base of the working class to stand up and reclaim their federation from this power hungry grouping that has no regards for Cosatu constitution.

The court date for our long awaited trial on the unconstitutional suspension of Vavi is on the 27and 28 march, we call on all workers and activists who care’s about the unity of the federation to join us on the picketing line in South Gauteng high court.

The battle lines are clearly drawn now.

Socio Economic context in which the takes place

Indeed comrades we still bedevilled by the stubborn crises of capitalism, and we shall not pay for the crises.

More than anything else, what makes the current systemic and structural global crisis of capitalism more dangerous and frightening than in the past is the total intellectual, ideological, political and moral bankruptcy of the world capitalist leaders and their capitalist theorists: they have no answer to what increasingly appears to be the world’s relentless progression towards mass poverty, worldwide unemployment, growing extreme global inequalities within and between nations of the world, vicious and extremely violent civil and international wars, global warming, environmental destruction – all pointing to the eventual destruction of our Earth and all life on it.

Today 26 million South Africans who live in abject poverty, 25 million are Africans

  • Unemployment grew from 36% in 2007 to 37% in 2012; among Africans it grew from 40% in 2008 to 46% in 2012
  • For every 1 unemployed white workers, there are 80 unemployed African workers.
  • Between 2008 and 2012 the number of “discouraged work-seekers” nearly doubled (from 1.2 million to 2.3 million)
  • 71% of those employed are not unionised,
  • 54% of  workers do not receive regular wage increases,
  • 24% of workers work for more than 48hrs a week, average working time is 44 hours a week
  • According the General Household Surveys, 77% of the unemployed rely on employed workers for survival.

This is just part of the state of the working class in this country; it is a bad story to tell.

Collective Bargaining

Numsa has begun our Ear to the Ground Campaign in workplace to develop our demands for 2014

In collecting these demands our key and strategic objective is to improve the benefits and conditions of employment. The demands from our 9 Numsa Regions shall be consolidated and tabled for discussion in this Numsa National Bargaining Conference.

We must be upfront that we are preparing for the mother of all battles as we shall champion the struggle for a living wage for workers in the Engineering Industry and Eskom in particular and other house agreements.

The union will use this round of negotiations not only for wages but also take up a very important campaign of defending existing jobs and to fight for more jobs. In extending our work beyond the factories,

We shall on the 19th of March 2014 embark on a national strike to demand the scrapping of the employment tax incentive act or the so called youth wage subsidy. We shall do so in defense of existing jobs as we have reason to believe that the current spate of retrenchments notices across various sectors are directly linked to this senseless incentive scheme.

We refuse that the working class of SA must be forced to pay for the global crisis of capitalism.

With respect to Eskom, Numsa shall not rest until workers at Eskom receive a fair increase. We view the arbitration award that imposed 5,6 % as an insult that constitute a wage freeze.

We do need equity of pay. Currently white workers sit at the top of their pay grades while many black workers still languish at the bottom of their grades.

We can no longer tolerate Eskom and Government hiding behind Nersa to justify paying lip service to a negotiation process while the power (the only power) of workers to withhold their labour is removed.

We calling on all workers at Eskom to unite behind their legitimate right to demand a living wage if in these round of negotiations Eskom management doesn’t move swiftly to make a real offer that will settle workers’ demands and hide behind essential service but pay workers peanuts, they would have to take full responsibility of the consicoensies.

Workers continue to receive low wages as there is no National Minimum Wage that can guarantee them a living wage.

Workers are taking loans from loan sharks in-order to make a living.

There is poor or virtually no assistance from the employers.

Unemployment which makes those who are working to support those not working imposes a heavy burden on our members as a result of the triple crises poverty and inequalities.

It is not in the nature of capital to give, the working must be prepared to wage a class war to advance their interests.

In conclusion 

We must use this moment to mobilize for unity of the working class and even recruit those workers who are still non Union members to Numsa.

  1. 1.      History has imposed on Numsa a huge responsibility as can be seen from the outcome of our ground breaking Special National Congress
  2. 2.      Forces of evil are plotting and planning to destabilize Numsa from within and from without
  3. 3.      All Numsa Regions are expected to rally the broadest possible support for our S77 national strike action on 19 March 2014
  4. 4.      The Numsa Moment calls for absolute maximum unity

Forward we go and backward never.

Amandla




NUMSA Sedibeng statement on SACP Gauteng futile exercise!!!!

We are therefore calling on the SACP to swallow its pride and accept that we are no more within their alliance , and do not regard them as vanguard of the working class and the poor anymore ,and we are forging ahead to establish a United Front that will be the vanguard of the working class and the poor South Africans.

7 March 2014, Posted in Press Releases

The current action and so called mobilization exercise of the Gauteng Province of the SACP is another attempt to discredit Numsa and a distortion of facts.

The SACP is moving around companies organized by Numsa in what they term as mobilization to encourage Numsa members to vote for the ANC in the coming national and provincial elections.

Numsa Sedibeng region view this as nothing but another attempt to create confusion amongst its members and discredit us. These dirty tricks will not succeed; our members have taken the decision and are firm and running with speed to see implementation.

We are aware that the SACP will be in Sedibeng from Monday 10th March 2014 where meetings have been arranged with our members in Arcelor Mittal Vereeniging Works. We are further aware that towards our Special National Congress, the same SACP tried in vain to use the same members who are employed by a labour broker called Workforce and PPO to rebel against Numsa through a fabrication on unsubstantiated lies. Those attempts drastically failed as we marched through our Special National Congress and took resolutions that are to emancipate the working class and the poor from neo-liberal economic exploitation they are currently faced with.

We want to set the record straight especially for the attention of the SACP in the District of Sedibeng and Gauteng Province. The Numsa Special National Congress resolution is very clear and says “Numsa as an organization is not going to endorse any political party going to elections in 2014, we are not going to release any funding and any of our resources to mobilize support for any political party, but however, our members have the right to vote for any party of their choice in the coming elections”. Finish and klaar!!!

We are therefore calling on the SACP to swallow its pride and accept that we are no more within their alliance , and do not regard them as vanguard of the working class and the poor anymore ,and we are forging ahead to establish a United Front that will be the vanguard of the working class and the poor South Africans.

Contact:
Mokete Makoko
Sedibeng Regional Secretary, 083 297 8784    

 




Numsa on the United Front and the possibilities of establishing a movement for Socialism

4 March 2014, Posted in Press Releases

Numsa convened a press briefing on Sunday 2nd March 2014, for purposes of presenting our 2014 statement on a range of issues and to report the outcome of the historic Numsa Special National Congress held on 17-20 December 2013. 

The media on Monday 3rd March 2014 ran with headlines screaming that Numsa is establishing a new political party. Given the many media enquiries we received we opted not to do a multitude of interviews, but to offer this brief statement which is in line with our 15 page statement of 2 March 2014, wherein we reiterate the following;

  1. The Numsa Special National Congress concluded that the ANC led-Alliance has become dysfunctional and incapable of defending working class interest in the midst of the implementation of anti-working class policies such as;
  • The National Development Plan (NDP) which seeks to postpone the resolution of poverty, unemployment and inequality to 2030;
  • Implementation of the e-tolling which is nothing short of the privatization public roads;
  • Failure to ban Labour Brokers;
  • Introducing a National Youth Wage Subsidy which is a tax incentive/subsidy to the rich but a promises of an investigation into the modalities of a National Minimum Wage;
  • Etc

2. The Alliance springs into action every 5 years when it is time for elections, but would otherwise not address pertinent issues agreed upon in Alliance Summits since 1994.

3. For all intends and purposes, the Freedom Charter, which is the minimum program which glued together the Alliance, has been abandoned in favour of GEAR and the NDP.

4. In the current circumstances we see leaderless services delivery protest of about 37 per day furthermore illustrating that the vulnerable and the poor in our society are left to their own devises.

5. The United Front Numsa resolved upon in its Special National Congress is a mobilising tool to organise and coordinate working class struggles. It is no different to what Cosatu had attempted in its Civil Society Conference. It is not “A Party”.

6. Numsa is on record as saying that we shall explore and internationally research the possibility of a Movement for Socialism and report back to our Numsa Central Committee in March 2015 on the international experience in the struggle for Socialism. This remains our position as taken in the Special National Congress.

7. In a question posed in the media briefing on Sunday 2nd March 2014, Numsa NOB’s did indicate that exploring a Movement For Socialism and the report-back on our international research report to the Numsa Central Committee of March 2015, shall invariably lead to the establishment of a working class party the form, shape and content shall be determined in consultation with left and progressive formations in our country. Whether such a working class party contest elections in 2016 or 2019, the Numsa March 2015 Central Committee shall resolve.

 

8. Numsa provincial and national consultative conferences shall be convened to enable Numsa National Office Bearers to share with left and progressive formations in our country the meaning of the Numsa Special National Congress resolutions. This Numsa position is no different from the one taken by Cosatu’s 1993 conference in Shaft 17 which was never acted on by Cosatu but also never rescinded.

9. The idea that Numsa is forming a political party to contest 2014 elections is false and baseless.

10. Whereas Numsa shall not endorse nor resource the ANC’s elections campaign, the SNC resolved that;

  • Numsa shall not endorse any political party in the 2014 national and provincial government elections;
  • Numsa members and officials have a right to vote for a political party of their choice.

We hope that this brief statement clarifies the Numsa Special National Congress position and resolutions

Issued by:
Karl Cloete
Numsa Deputy General Secretary
On behalf of the Numsa National Office Bearers

Contact: Karl Cloete, Deputy General Secretary, 083 389 0777 




Numsa Views on the state of Class Struggles in South Africa and the Crisis in Cosatu

“Numsa is calling ALL South African workers, Black and White and African, to join us in our United Front to demand the immediate and radical implementation of the Freedom Charter as the only basis for a truly democratic South Africa and in our fight against all neoliberal manifestations.”

Numsa Headquarters, Johannesburg

People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.”

Lenin in “Three Sources and Three Component parts of Marxism”, March 1913

“Nothing demonstrates better the increasing rigor of the colonial system: you begin by occupying the country, and then you take the land and exploit the former owners at starvation rates. Then with mechanization, this cheap labour is still too expensive. You finish up taking from the native their very right to work. All that is left for the Natives to do in their own land at a time of great prosperity is to die of starvation.” (Jean Paul Sartre, 1964)

A.  The world we live in today and our 20 years of “Democracy”

It is impossible to deny that the world has seen the most severe crisis of the global capitalist system.  And, there is no end in sight, to this crisis.

More than anything else, what makes the current systemic and structural global crisis of capitalism more dangerous and frightening than in the past is the total intellectual, ideological, political and moral bankruptcy of the world capitalist leaders and their capitalist theorists: they have no answer to what increasingly appears to be the world’s relentless progression towards mass poverty, worldwide unemployment, growing extreme global inequalities within and between nations of the world, vicious and extremely violent civil and international wars, global warming, environmental destruction – all pointing to the eventual destruction of our Earth and all life on it.

The neoliberal “Washington Consensus” has been completely discredited and confirmed dead especially by the 2007/8 global financial capitalist crises.

There is no alternative to discarding the theories and practices of capitalism, if we must save the Earth and its living systems.  No amount of cosmetic reforms either in the centre of the global capitalist system nor anywhere in its periphery can hide the most obvious fact today: at a time when humanity has the most profound knowledge and technology, the world capitalist system of private greed risks all our lives and the very Earth we live on.

Mankind today is faced with one choice: abandon the capitalist system or perish by it.

We at Numsa have no illusion that only a total destruction of capitalism and all it represents can save the Earth and give birth to a new civilisation, a new reordering of common and democratic ownership, production and consumption patterns along a higher human life and Earth respecting human civilisation. Such a civilisation is Socialism.

A.1. The South African “Democratic Transition” and squandered opportunity

We at Numsa have taken the trouble of reading the South African economic and political history, ultimately focusing on the imported capitalist revolution in the 20thCentury and our “negotiated settlement”, and their impact on the South Africa we live in today.

We have come to the following conclusions, very well captured in our policy papers and resolutions of our December 2013 National Special Congress, also found in the SACP “Path to Power” document of 1989:

a.  The South African capitalist state did not emerge as a result of an internal popular anti-feudal revolution. It was imposed from above and from without.

b. From its birth through to the present, South African capitalism has depended heavily on the imperialist centers.

c. Capital from Europe financed the opening of the mines. It was the colonial state that provided the resources to build the basic infrastructure – railways, roads, harbours, posts and telegraphs.

d. It was an imperial army of occupation that created the conditions for political unification. And it was within a colonial setting that the emerging South African capitalist class entrenched and extended the racially exclusive system to increase its opportunities for profit.

e.  The racial division of labour, the battery of racist laws and political exclusiveness guaranteed this. From these origins a pattern of domination, which arose in the period of external colonialism, was carried over into the newly formed Union of South Africa. From its origins to the present, this form of domination has been maintained under changing conditions and by varying mechanisms.

f.  In all essential respects, however, the colonial status of the black majority has remained in place. Therefore we characterise our society as “colonialism of a special type”.

The 1994 “democratic transition” was supposed to lay a foundation for destroying colonialism of a special type in South Africa, a form of colonialism characterised by the existence side by side, of the colonial subjects and the local agents of colonialism and imperialism in the same geo-economic and political space.

Today, 20 years after the “democratic transition” nothing best confirms the fact thatin all essential respects, however, the colonial status of the black majority has remained in place than of the 26 million South Africans who live in abject poverty, 25 million are Africans.

Further, all economic policies since 1994 have been incapable of defeatingColonialism of a Special Type and the effects of Apartheid capitalism, which condemned the South African black working class to a life of misery and hardship.

The South African government own 2011 Census so well captures this ugly fact, the fact of the continuing colonial lives of millions of Black and African South Africans, post 1994.

Any shallow class analysis of the “negotiated settlement” in South Africa easily reveals the most obvious fact: the “negotiated settlement” was secured on the basis of abandoning the Freedom Charter and the land and property claims of the “natives”.

These devices of protecting white property rights in the “1996 negotiated constitution” effectively guaranteed white property rights and therefore, white economic dominance, and the logical and inevitable continuation of imperialist economic and political domination of South Africa.

A.2. The Freedom Charter and the Negotiated Settlement

At Numsa we are convinced that the abandonment of the property clauses of the Freedom Charter by the ANC and the SACP formed the basis for the “democratic transition”.

We now know that while Cosatu was busy putting together the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), ANC and SACP negotiators, together with representatives of South African white monopoly capitalism and their imperialist counterparts were busy stitching together a neoliberal post-Apartheid South Africa.

We are not surprised, therefore, that the RDP was quickly discarded in favour of GEAR, which has now formally become the National Development Plan (NDP).

It was inevitable that in 2012, in the ANC Mangaung Conference, GEAR mutated into the neoliberal National Development Plan, and, in the ANC, the matter of expropriating land and the commanding heights of the economy without compensation was formally buried.  Effectively too, was buried any prospects of a worker friendly “National Democratic Revolution” and all hope of a seamless transition to a Socialist Republic of South Africa.

Today in South Africa, black and African poor people must wait for the profits to grow of white people and their sprinkling of a tiny filthy rich black and African middle class for any changes in their mass poverty and widespread unemployment.

It is this cruel reality, post 1994, and 20 years into our “democracy”, which caused Numsa to hold its historic 2013 Special National Congress, and to take the resolutions it did, prominent among which is the recognition that the ANC led Alliance no longer serves any revolutionary purpose in South Africa today.

A.3. The State of the South African black and African working class

At Numsa we are, following the class analysis above, not surprised that in all black and African communities there is a state of restlessness, there are widespread protests now increasingly turning violent, against the bitter and cruel conditions of life in these communities.

We are not surprised that 20 years after the negotiated settlement, very little real wealth has been redistributed and as a result, education, housing, water services, sanitation, electricity, distance from quality social and economic productivities activities and so on continue to be disastrous problems for black and African people of this country.

We are not surprised that South Africa, post 1994, has become the most unequal and socially violent place on Earth today.

We are not surprised that the white population continues to dominate in the economy, society and culture, today.

It is against this background that we examine the President of South Africa’s State of the Nation Address of 2014, and the ANC government 2014 Budget Speech.  Further, we examine the election promises using this background.

We in Numsa understand the crisis in Cosatu as simply a reflection of the on-going class struggles in the wider South African society in general and inside the ANC led alliance in particular.

B.  State of the Nation Address (SoNA)

There is nothing in the State of the Nation Address that even remotely indicates that the ANC and its government are embarked upon a “radical transition” for full social justice in South Africa.

Nor does anything in the SoNA remotely signal the fact that the ANC is worried that virtually ALL Black and African communities, 20 years into democracy, are at war inside themselves!

While the SoNA correctly recognizes the ongoing extreme burden of unemployment, mass poverty and extreme inequalities, the SoNA simply treats all these as products of the failure of the South African economy to grow fast enough post 1994, and on the global crisis of capitalism.

The SoNA lamentably fails to locate the real roots and causes of the South African crisis of unemployment, poverty and extreme inequalities – the ongoing economic and social domination of South Africa by white capital and its black and imperialist surrogates.

The SoNA celebrates liberal democracy in South Africa without any shame at the exclusion of more than 25 million South Africans from this system that is black and African.

We see that the 2014 Budget Speech takes its cue from the SoNA, and also wastes time singing praises of the neoliberalism of the past 20 years.

C.  ANC’s Elections Manifestos: a look at the ANC’s 2014 Vision

In 2004, the ANC launched its “Vision 2014”. The 2004 Manifesto was framed within this vision.  We have now reached 2014, and the ANC has produced another Manifesto and yet another vision, which is now called “Vision 2030”.  It is therefore propitious that we evaluate the ANC’s performance in relation to its “Vision 2014” and in relation to its subsequent Manifestos.

In its 2004 Message from the President, the ANC called for “A People’s Contract to Create Work and Fight Poverty”.

The combination of some of the most important targets and objectives making up Vision 2014, together with our findings, are as follows:

  • Reduce unemployment by half through new jobs, skills development, assistance to small businesses, opportunities for self-employment and sustainable community livelihoods.

Today, unemployment has in fact increase beyond the 2004 levels today, self-employment has dwindled, and, more dangerously, Black and African communities are reeling from violent crimes and daily violent protests!

  • Reduce poverty by half through economic development, comprehensive social security, land reform and improved household and community assets.

Precisely because unemployment has in fact increased beyond the 2004 levels, we see today that more than 26 million South Africans are classified as extremely poor!

  • Provide the skills required by the economy, build capacity and provide resources across society to encourage self-employment with an education system that is geared for productive work, good citizenship and a caring society.

Marikana sums it all: the bulk of the population remains poorly educated, unskilled, living in abject poverty and in a very uncaring society. Today we are being conditioned to accept that every community protest will lead to deaths of some protestors!

  • Ensure that all South Africans, including especially the poor and those at risk – children, youth, women, the aged, and people with disabilities – are fully able to exercise their constitutional rights and enjoy the full dignity of freedom.

Violent crime and crimes against women and children are still intolerably high. An African child in South Africa today is many times more likely to be borne in a poor household than before 2004.

  • Compassionate government service to the people; national, provincial and local public representatives who are accessible; and citizens who know their rights and insist on fair treatment and efficient service.

Again, the Marikana massacre speaks volumes about where we are. It is an open secret that the system of local government has collapsed, with very few of them having clean audits. So-called service delivery protests are the order of the day everywhere in the country. South Africa in fact leads in the number of violent community protests in the world today. 

  • Massively reduce cases of TB, diabetes, malnutrition and maternal deaths, and turn the tide against HIV and AIDS, and, working with the rest of Southern Africa, strive to eliminate malaria, and improve services to achieve a better national health profile and reduction of preventable causes of death, including violent crime and road accidents.

While there have been some improvements in these variables, the quality, levels and efficiencies in the health system, especially the public health system, are pathetic. TB cases have actually increased. 

  • Significantly reduce the number of serious and priority crimes as well as cases awaiting trial, with a society that actively challenges crime and corruption, and with programmes that also address the social roots of criminality.

Unemployment is globally recognized as a “significant contributor” to all crimes, including violent ones.

The fact that unemployment has in fact increased since 2004 is experienced by black and African communities through the high incidence of violent crimes, today with an increasing incidence of extreme forms of violence even among teenagers.

The failure to implement the property clauses of the Freedom Charter is the most profound root cause of violent crime in South Africa, in our opinion.

  • Position South Africa strategically as an effective force in global relations, with vibrant and balanced trade and other relations with countries of the South and the North, and in an Africa that is growing, prospering and benefiting all Africans, especially the poor.

The xenophobia that has engulfed post 1994 South Africa is the best test of just how badly positioned South Africa is globally, especially in the South. None of the rhetoric on balanced trade and other relations have materialized precisely because the ANC government has no real economic levers, because it has not implemented the property clauses of the Freedom Charter.

D.  The ANC 2014 Budget speech

Numsa has carried out the only comprehensive and detailed class analysis of the National Development Plan (NDP). Our conclusions are that the NDP is simply GEAR dressed up as a populist document.

Not only does the NDP fail to tackle the economic and social structural and systemic foundations of South African colonial economy and society, it quite pathetically promises wholly unrealistic and totally unachievable goals, just like its father – GEAR.

Numsa has consistently argued that South African National Treasury Department has been post 1994, the home and custodian of neoliberalism in the South African government.

Pravin Gordan’s 2014 Budget Speech announces that it locates the 2014 medium term budget in the NDP.

Like the SoNA, the 2014 Budget is littered with some self-praise, and the false promise of jobs, more housing, more water, more social security, better health and so on, all of them to be done within the NDP framework.

It is impossible to ignore Lenin’s words in 1913:

People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.”

The sweet coated promises contained in this Budget, including the pathetic increases on the social grants do not succeed to hide the fact that this is a budget designed to please South African white capital and its local agents and imperialism and their rating agents.

There is nothing in this budget which signals a “radical transition”. This is why the bosses and their political formations have received it very well.

A most blatant betrayal of the Black and African working class is the bribery to white and black capital the budget gives in the form of the Youth Employment Incentive Tax. This has been done without exhausting the NEDLAC process and actually by contemptuously bypassing NEDLAC.

Rather than abolition the colonial and apartheid wage as demanded in the Freedom Charter, the budget instead bribes capital with free money, to divide the working class!

This budget, more than anything else, confirm the rightwing shift in the ANC/SACP government.

E.  The crisis in Cosatu

We understand Cosatu’s launching principles and values as being the following:

a.    Cosatu is a worker controlled and democratic trade union federation.

b.    Cosatu is a Revolutionary Socialist Federation.

c.    Cosatu is an anti-imperialist federation; it fights against foreign capitalist domination.

d.    Cosatu rejects all forms of cultural, male chauvinist and racist prejudices.

e.    Cosatu is a militant federation.

f.     It is a transformative federation.

g.    Cosatu is a champion of working class democracy.

h.    Cosatu believes in working class power, and advocates worker control not only of the progressive trade union movement, but of society as well.

i.      Cosatu believes in the revolutionary power and unity of the working class, which is why it champions the formation of one union in one industry and one federation in one country.

In our opinion, it is these values and their articulation, which is at issue in Cosatu today.

On one hand, there are those among Cosatu leaders who see a Cosatu guided by the values above as a threat to their potential careers in the ANC or its government. These leaders have long abandoned Socialism and are only paying lip service to the struggle for Socialism.

On the other hand, there are those leaders such as in Numsa and the affiliates Numsa is working with, who are determined to defend and advance the ideals for which Cosatu was founded, including defending a Socialist Cosatu.

Given the abandonment of a radical NDR by the ANC and the cooptation of the SACP into the ANC and its government, it is inevitable that Cosatu must be plunged into a crisis by the fight to the death between these two class positions in Cosatu – one for a Cosatu that simply transmits the wishes of the right wing ANC nationalists among the working class and the other which wants to fight for a Cosatu with its original values.

Numsa has thus become the “enemy within” among the Cosatu leadership clique that is imbedded in the ANC and SACP.  It so happens that this clique is numerically strong in the CEC of Cosatu.

This pro rightwing ANC and SACP clique in Cosatu wants to engineer the expulsion of Numsa from Cosatu. It has already engineered first the paralysis, and later the suspension of the General Secretary of Cosatu – Zwelinzima Vavi.

This right wing Clique ignores the Cosatu Constitution at will. It has refused to abide by the Cosatu Constitution that demands that when a third of Cosatu affiliates demand the convening of Cosatu Special Congress, the President of Cosatu must convene such a Congress or be replaced by a convener.

This rightwing clique, knowing very well that its positions have no mandates from its own members, is very scared of a Special National Congress because it knows the Special National Congress, besides exposing this right wing, may also trigger leadership removals in their unions.

Numsa’s positions are very clear and quite simple:

1.    Zwelinzima Vavi’s unconstitutional public humiliation, harassment and suspension must be lifted immediately.

2.    All mischievous and unconstitutional efforts to frustrate and expel Numsa from Cosatu must stop forthwith.

3.    A Cosatu Special Congress as requested by the appropriate number of unions must be convened immediately, to resolve all the causes of the crisis in Cosatu.

4.    Numsa will do everything possible to achieve these objectives, including using the courts to stop the violations of Cosatu Constitution.

5.    Numsa is calling upon all members of Cosatu affiliates to defend their federation from being swallowed into the ANC/SACP right wing camp.

In the meantime, Numsa continues to run with its section 77 campaigns.

F.   Progress on the United Front and the Movement for Socialism

In order to understand Numsa, especially in order to understand our resolutions on the United Front and Movement for Socialism, one has to understand what Numsa is first.

Numsa is a revolutionary formation, a red trade union, playing a leading role in the struggle to defeat capitalism and the exploitation that is associated with it. In that role we are unashamedly Marxist-Leninist, rooting ourselves in the traditions of Marx and Lenin. So we defy the boundaries between nations that are set up to divide workers as we proclaim ourselves as proletarian internationalists. That tradition also gives us democratic centralism, that combination of robust, vigorous and democratic debate with the discipline of marching together when we have made a decision. That combination makes us what we are proud to be – a red union.

The leadership of the national liberation movement as a whole has failed to lead a consistent radical democratic process to resolve the national, gender, and class questions post 1994. This leadership is predominantly drawn from the Black and African capitalist class; it kowtows to the dictates of white monopoly capitalist and imperialist interests. It is nothing more than parasitic and crony capitalists.

It is half-hearted and extremely inconsistent in the pursuit of a radical democratic programme and has completely abandoned the Freedom Charter.

It is these circumstances, combined with the worsening situation of the South African working class as a whole post 1994, which has lead Numsa to rethink and revisit its relationship with the ANC and its Alliance.

Work is well underway to mobilise the working class in all their formations, into a United Front for the radical implementation of the Freedom Charter and against neoliberalism.

During our January Numsa Marxist-Leninist Political School we met with the leaders of some of the social movements and community structures, to begin the process of mapping out how we will work together.

In order to reach out far and wide, Numsa shall convene Provincial and National consultative meetings to share the content of our resolutions on the United Front and Movement for Socialism.

We are happy to note that many social movement organisations and community organisations are joining us in our Section 77 campaigns starting with a national strike on 19th March 2014.

During the course of this year, work will be done to assess the state of the world socialist movement and its formations, to inform our work towards the Movement for Socialism. The Numsa Marxist Leninist School in the first week of April 2014 shall receive representatives of Workers and Communist Parties from countries such as Brazil, Greece and Venezuela to share experiences and to lay the basis for our international research.

G.  Engineering and Eskom negotiations in 2014 – The Numsa National Bargaining Conference (NBC)

As always, Numsa has begun our Ear to the Ground Campaign in workplace general meetings to listen to the aspirations of Numsa members with respect to collective bargaining demands in the Engineering industry and Eskom.

In collecting these demands our key and strategic objective is to improve the benefits and conditions of employment. The demands from the 9 Numsa Regions shall be consolidated and tabled for discussion in our Numsa National Bargaining Conference scheduled for 10-12 March 2014 in Saint Georges Hotel, Centurion.

Without pre-empting anything, we must be upfront that we are preparing for the mother of all battles as we shall champion the struggle for a living wage for workers in the Engineering Industry and Eskom in particular.

The union will use this round of negotiations not only for wages but also take up a very important campaign of defending existing jobs and to fight for more jobs. In extending our work beyond the factories, Numsa shall on the 19th of March 2014 embark on a national strike to demand the scrapping of the employment tax incentive act or the so called youth wage subsidy. We shall do so in defense of existing jobs as we have reason to believe that the current spate of retrenchments notices across various sectors are directly linked to this stupid incentive scheme.

We refuse that the working class of SA must be forced to pay for the global crisis of capitalism.

That is why we calling on the mining bosses and government to quickly resolved the current strike in the platinum belt. It has become abundantly clear there is a joint pack between government and mining capital to destroy union activity outside of the NUM.

With respect to Eskom, Numsa shall not rest until workers at Eskom receive a fair increase. We view the arbitration award that imposed 5, 6 % as an insult that constitute a wage freeze.

We do need equity of pay. Currently white workers sit at the top of their pay grades while many black workers still languish at the bottom of their grades.

We can no longer tolerate Eskom and Government hiding behind the skirt of Nersa to justify paying lip service to a negotiation process where the power (the only power) of workers to withhold their labour is removed.

We calling on all workers at Eskom to unite behind their legitimate right to demand a living wage if in these round of negotiations Eskom management doesn’t move swiftly to make a real offer that will settle workers’ demands and hide behind essential service but pay workers peanuts, they would have to take fully responsibility for a load shedding that would come as a result of workers insisting that their demands must be met.

Eskom now has a shareholder compact with government, but it does not call for fair wages rather it focuses on profit targets. Profit targeting mean Eskom is under pressure to moderate wages.

Our members are victims of high standards of living as a result of administered prices that continue to rise and affecting negatively their basket of food and all aspects of their lives.

They continue to receive low wages as there is no National Minimum Wage that can guarantee them a living wage.

Workers are taking loans from loan sharks in-order to make a living.

There is poor or virtually no assistance from the employers.

Unemployment which makes those who are working to support those not working imposes a heavy burden on our members as a result of the triple crises poverty, unemployment and inequalities.

It is our members who are victims Privatization and Commodification of basic needs/services.

H.  What is to be done?

As Lenin so well said, in 2013:

People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.”

Twenty years into our “democracy”, we the Black and African South African working class are sick and tired of listening to the same stories about us having to wait for the rich to grow their profits for us to see some minor improvements in our lives.

The working class can only be defeated because it is not united. United, no force on Earth can defeat us.

As immediate tasks, we state the following:

  • Numsa is calling ALL South African workers, Black and White and African, to join us in our United Front to demand the immediate and radical implementation of the Freedom Charter as the only basis for a truly democratic South Africa and in our fight against all neoliberal manifestations.
  • We are calling on all members of affiliates of Cosatu to demand that their national leaders explain where they stand today, on the ongoing crisis in Cosatu.
  • We call on all members of affiliates of Cosatu to stand up and defend their federation from the vultures who want to turn it into a toy telephone of the ANC and the SACP.
  • We call on all mineworkers to stand together, united against the mine bosses and the government who are both fighting mining workers in their just struggle for a living wage.
  • As Numsa, we fully support the just demands for a living wage for the mineworkers.  We remain convinced, however, that with the increasing marriage between the ANC and its government and the mine bosses and shareholders, no just wage will be secured by mine workers.

We therefore call upon all workers to intensify the struggle to nationalize South African wealth, including the mines and land.

Our consistent Marxist-Leninist inspired class analysis of the world and South Africa today informs us that we have no option but to fight to the bitter end, for a Socialist world and Socialist South Africa.

Issued by:      Numsa National Office Bearers

March the 2nd, 2014.

Contact:

Castro Ngobese

National Spokesperson

Mobile: 081 011 1137 or 083 627 5197




NUMSA 2nd Deputy President Comrades Basil Cele on jobs for Youth demonstration

Read this here:
http://www.numsa.org.za/article/speakers-notes-numsa-2nd-deputy-president-comrades-basil-cele-jobs-youth-demonstration/