Numsa to explore its options

Numsa’s president says the union is currently exploring & learning how to strengthen its organisation.

Zwelinzima Vavi with Numsa leadership at its special congress on 18 December 2013. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Newly-elected National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) President, Andrew Chirwa, says the union is currently exploring and learning how other trade unions in the world have been able to strengthen their own organisations.

Last week, Numsa resolved not to support the African National Congress (ANC) or any other political party in the upcoming 2014 general elections.

The union also called on the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) to withdraw from the Tripartite Alliance, saying it plans to withhold an R800,000 per month affiliation fee to the trade union federation until a special congress is convened.

Chirwa says the ruling party has not benefited the working class in the last 20 years of democracy.

"What we've been doing since 1994 has not delivered anything fundamental for the poor people of this country and the workers of this country."

The SACP says it is unperturbed by Numsa's decision not to support the ANC in the elections.

Alex Mashilo says the SACP will remain loyal to their alliance with Cosatu and the ANC despite Numsa's call to break away.

"We will call on the workers and the poor in the country to continue supporting the ANC."

The SACP has vowed to continue campaigning for the ruling party, saying this forms part of its tribute to Nelson Mandela, who remained a loyal member of the ANC until the end.

Mashilo says the ANC has done a lot to improve the lives of the disadvantaged in South Africa.

"There have been many advances in housing, electricity, infrastructure, education and health."

Numsa says it will not hide its future plans, but says at the moment it wants to build itself into a progressive union.