Numsa mulls over future with Cosatu & ANC

Important decisions are expected to be made during Numsa's special congress.

FILE: Striking Numsa members. Picture:Vumani Mkhize/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Important decisions are expected to be made this week during the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa's (Numsa) special congress which is currently being held in Boksburg in eastern Johannesburg.

The congress began yesterday after it was delayed for a week due to the 10 days of national mourning for former president Nelson Mandela.

The metalworkers union is holding the congress to decide whether or not it will back the African National Congress (ANC) in the upcoming elections and whether or not it will split from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Yesterday, Numsa delegates elected Andrew Chirwa as the union's new president after Cedric Gina resigned last month.

He was the only person nominated.

Chirwa said divisions within Cosatu are not being addressed and criticised the trade union federation for not living up to its original ideals.

He said Numsa wants to be affiliated to a Cosatu that possesses certain characteristics.

Chirwa also proposed that members discuss whether they should ask President Jacob Zuma to resign over the Nkandla saga.

Numsa, which is Cosatu's largest affiliate with 330,000 members, says the controversial upgrades at Zuma's private homestead in Nkandla, undermined the poor and working class.

Chirwa also warned the South African Communist Party and others, who have been pointing fingers at Numsa for their anti-Cosatu stance, that they are fighting a losing battle.

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

The congress continues today.