THE country’s biggest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), has officially broken ties with the ANC.
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim yesterday announced that the union would not endorse the ruling party in next year’s election.
“Numsa as an organisation will neither endorse nor support the ANC or any other political party in 2014.”
The trade union, which has more than 340000 members nationally, said it would also stop paying contributions to the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and South African Communist Party (SACP).
The union pays Cosatu R800000 a month or R9.6-million a year and the SACP R1-million a year.
Eastern Cape provincial secretary Phumzile Nodongwe said the resolutions vindicated the province, which had said workers were angry.
He said all the provinces were now speaking with one voice, saying “enough is enough”.
Speaking to the Saturday Dispatch after the conference yesterday, Nodongwe said all nine regions had also voted in favour of holding back funding for both Cosatu and the SACP.
“We say Cosatu is paralysed and the SACP is dysfunctional and therefore we cannot continue giving them our levy.
“That’s the feeling of the delegates,” said Nodongwe.
The resolution has taken into cognizance the constitutional rights of union members – their right to vote.
Nodongwe said the resolution also makes clear that no union member would be allowed to campaign for any political party on the factory floor using Numsa resources.
Numsa has 33000 members in the Eastern Cape, with the biggest branch being Volkswagen South Africa, where more than 3000 of the 5000 workers are Numsa members.
At the Mercedes Benz South Africa plant in East London, the union has 2800 members out of the 4000 workforce.
Numsa office bearers have also been barred from accepting deployment.
Addressing delegates at the conference yesterday, Jim said: “Any individual member is entitled in their own time to be active in any political party, including getting elected to leadership positions.
“However, no Numsa office bearer is allowed to hold any office bearer position of any political party.”
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the ANC was not bothered by the Numsa resolution as all the union did “was take a neutral position to say they won’t campaign for any political party”.
“What is important is that there are ANC members in Numsa who will campaign for the ANC at the factory floor as individuals.
“All Numsa did was to take the most neutral position in these elections,” said Mantashe.
Jim said the root cause of the problems was that the ANC continued to undermine resolutions made at its conference in Polokwane in 2007, one of which was to make the Cosatu, SACP and ANC alliance a strategic centre of power.
He said the ANC “has just passed anti-working class law and policies, such as e-tolls, the Employment Tax Incentive Act … instead of banning labour broking”.
He said the ANC had abandoned the Freedom Charter, which was the basis of the alliance’s existence.
“The ANC has not only departed from the Freedom Charter but also from the Morogoro conference core values and reconstruction and development plan,” Jim said.
He was referring to the ANC’s conference held in Morogoro, Tanzania, in 1969.
“The ANC-led government continues to ignore and duck the question of how to fundamentally change property relations in the country.”
Jim said the ruling party had a track record of not delivering on its manifesto promises.
The Eastern Cape Numsa at the conference also attempted to recall Blade Nzimande from Parliament to serve full-time as SACP secretary. However, the attempt failed when the other eight regions did not support the move.
Nodongwe said the region’s call was for Numsa to withhold its levy, and recall Nzimande back to the SACP office.
“If they fail to do that, he must resign as [SACP general secretary]. But the view was that we have agreed that we have no business with them [SACP]. — Additional reporting by Sapa