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Numsa warns expulsion will mark beginning of new era

Numsa president Andrew Chirwa says even if the union is expelled it will continue its fight.

FILE: Numsa's leaders are attending a crucial CEC meeting at Cosatu House that could see the union being expelled from the federation. Picture: Numsa.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has warned the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) that its pending expulsion from the federation will mark the beginning of a new era of struggle in South Africa and will not be the end of the union.

Numsa's national leaders are attending a crucial Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting at Cosatu House that could see the country's biggest trade union being kicked out of the federation.

The union's leadership has refused to heed the call to change its congress resolutions

But despite this treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo says the union hasn't given up on Cosatu

"We shall continue to fight for Numsa to remain inside the federation."

Numsa president Andrew Chirwa says even if the union is expelled, it will continue its fight.

"If they think that the dismissal of the metalworkers union is the end of the road, they have something coming. That will be the beginning of a real struggle in South Africa.

Numsa's rejection of the National Development Plan and its opposition to union leaders serving in government positions has placed it firmly at odds with the African National Congress but it still continues to receive support from Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi.

Its motivation for why it should stay in Cosatu is more than 100 pages long and if the union is allowed to present, the meeting would most likely continue tomorrow.

CEC MEETING A 'SLAUGHTERHOUSE'

At the same time, Numsa says its potential expulsion from Cosatu has become a mere formality.

It has described the CEC meeting as "a slaughterhouse".

Speaking to supporters outside Cosatu House, Numsa President Andrew Chirwa said the outcome has already been decided.

"We are just passing to greet before we go to the slaughterhouse where Numsa shall be slaughtered today and of course be removed from the federation."

Chirwa also said he is attending today's meeting to send a warning to leaders who may think they own Cosatu.

"We are here today to send a message that Cosatu belongs to metalworkers like any other worker in South Africa. Those people who want to sell Cosatu to the highest bidder must leave because it belongs to the workers."