South Africa 15.4.2015 08:45 am

Workers’ party for 2016 poll

FILE PICTURE: National Union of Metal Workers in South Africa (NUMSA) secretary general Irvin Jim addresses members in Durban, 1 July 2014, during a nation wide strike. Picture: Phumlani Thabethe

FILE PICTURE: National Union of Metal Workers in South Africa (NUMSA) secretary general Irvin Jim addresses members in Durban, 1 July 2014, during a nation wide strike. Picture: Phumlani Thabethe

Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa), yesterday gave the strongest indication yet the union’s United Front will contest next year’s municipal elections.

The United Front is expected to be launched in June. The decision to establish a “political vehicle” would be debated at the Numsa central committee meeting next week.

“We are convinced the time has come for the working class to organise itself as a class for itself,” said Jim in Johannesburg yesterday. “The working class needs its own political organ which, in our view, must be a political party.”

Jim said there was nothing to stop the United Front from backing candidates rooted in the working class. “You don’t need to be a political party to have working-class leaders in particular wards,” he said.

“Together with the working class, United Front and Numsa, we can say in this ward we want this councillor because we know he is not after tenders.”

Jim said the union was convinced alternatives were needed. “Our people have had enough of poverty, unemployment and inequality. We are a union that is not beating about the bush.”

Several municipalities had collapsed, said Jim, because the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (Gear) programme imposed belt-tightening. “They have implanted this Gear thing and, as a result, those municipalities are collapsing.”

He attacked the ANC, saying: “The ANC defines it as a movement on the left. But what we have seen in the ANC for the past 20 years has been the deepening of imperialism. All the banks are foreign-owned. The land question is not being addressed.”

Numsa will hold a conference on socialism in Boksburg from tomorrow until Friday, to which the Economic Freedom Fighters, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, unions in trade union confederation Cosatu which support Numsa and expelled Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi have been invited.

ngwakom@citizen.co.za

 

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