Numsa says it won't be divided

The union says its special congress will discuss whether to move away from Cosatu.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim. Picture: SAPA.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Tuesday said it refuses to be divided by other unions.

It says other unions within the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) are hell-bent on sowing divisions.

Numsa is holding a special national congress in Boksburg this week to decide whether or not it will back the ANC in the upcoming elections.

There will also be discussion about whether the union will split from Cosatu.

Delegates chanted, "Hands off Irvin Jim".

Jim, who is Numsa's secretary general, has been accused by the South African Communist Party (SACP) of being corrupt.

Numsa's acting president Andrew Chirwa says this is just a strategy to isolate individuals.

"We refuse to be divided by those who are making empty calls to our members to rise against our leadership."

Chirwa says the special congress was called to decide on a way forward.

Asking President Jacob Zuma to step down will also be discussed and if agreed to, will put Numsa at odds with the politics of the tripartite alliance.

Numsa, Cosatu's largest affiliate with 330,000 members, expressed concern over the controversial R208 million upgrades at Zuma's private homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

It believes the upgrades undermine the poor and working class.