The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) ended its conference on Thursday with a renewed commitment to form an independent labour federation and socialist party.
Deeming the ANC to be in terminal political decline, the union expelled from Cosatu in 2014 said events since had vindicated its resolve to implement these aims, set out at its Special National Congress in late 2013.
“Delegates affirmed the historic decision of the 2013 Special National Congress to end Numsa’s support for the African National Congress, build a new independent, democratic workers’ federation, a United Front and a revolutionary socialist party,” Numsa said in a 100-point declaration issued at the close of its four-day conference in Cape Town.
“Events over the past three years have confirmed the correctness of our Marxist-Leninist analysis of the crisis in the ANC and its alliance and fully vindicated our Special National Congress Resolutions. The ANC and its alliance are in a terminal crisis. Numsa will move with speed to implement, fully, all the SNC Resolutions.”
Numsa’s expulsion from Cosatu arose from its decision not to support the ANC in 2014, in a move that went against the constitution of the labour federation, which had played a key role in bringing Zuma to power.
The union called for President Jacob Zuma to face 783 corruption charges, withdrawn in 2009 in a decision since set aside in high court, but added that it viewed corruption not as an ill limited to the public service, a group of politicians and “a few ‘rogue’ capitalists like the Gupta family” but one inherent in the capitalist model.
“In the public sector it is invariably a result of collusion between public officials and companies in the private sector, which are just as steeped in corrupt and illegal practices.
“Hundreds of billions of rands are leaving the country as capitalists put their cash where they will make the quickest and biggest profits, with no regard for the welfare of the national economy, our people, our environment and least of all the conditions of their workers who produce the wealth.”
The country’s single biggest trade union said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who as a guest speaker on the opening day of the conference, had called for common cause on the economy, represented the views of white monopoly capital and it therefore opposed him as it had all his predecessors in the portfolio.
It added: “Zuma and the Guptas and Gordhan and the Ruperts are just one consequence of the ANC’s capitulation to racist and colonial capitalism in the negotiated settlement.
“They sold the dream of a racism-free, equal and just society and the full implementation of the Freedom Charter for a neoliberal capitalist society, complete with the corruption that comes with that package.”
On the formation of a “revolutionary socialist” party, Numsa resolved to confine itself to continuing as a labour union while recruiting and campaigning for the party.
“Numsa will remain a union and not turn itself into a political party. However, all our shop stewards and officials should maintain an activist role and take responsibility for the party we are building.”
The union would work with leftist, Marxist forces everywhere “including those who are traditional ANC allies” to unite the working class movement around a socialist agenda.
– African News Agency (ANA)