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Numsa: ANC's Mantashe orchestrated expulsion

Irvin Jim says Mantashe should not act sad, but "look for the nearest cliff and jump."

FILE: Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - National Union of Metalworkers South Africa's (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim has blamed African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Gwede Mantashe and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande for the union's expulsion from Cosatu.

Jim launched another scathing attack on the tripartite leadership after his union was kicked out by 33 to 24 votes in Johannesburg at the weekend.

He says Mantashe orchestrated the move with the intention of liquidating the union.

"Like the ANC is reacting to the expulsion of Numsa, it's almost like people who are crying at the wrong funeral. Suddenly the issue of the dismissal of Numsa is a tragedy. Mantashe can look for the nearest cliff and jump."

Mantashe has admitted Cosatu unions may face tough opposition from Numsa and it's still unclear if its eight allies in the federation will follow soon.

He says the expulsion of Numsa has weakened the tripartite alliance and represents a significant shift in South African politics.

"It will weaken Cosatu and by implication weaken the alliance, but already Numsa has taken a stance of breaking the alliance."

Numsa's investment holdings company is reportedly worth R6 billion and Jim says if it were to leave Cosatu, they could invest heavily to recruit members in other sectors.

The union pays Cosatu close to R1 million every month in affiliation fees and if it does not return to Cosatu, that money will be spent on intense recruitment in the federation's sectors.

Jim says while their expulsion from Africa's largest workers federation marks a sad day in South Africa's history, it also presents an exciting opportunity.

"Indeed now that we are expelled, depending how our structures decide, we can employ many organisers. It's one of those things we look at and smile, but it's painful. It also means that we can employ more organisers."

NUMSA DECIDING ON PLAN OF ACTION

Meanwhile, Numsa plans to convene a special central committee meeting to determine whether it should appeal its expulsion from Cosatu.

He says Numsa's dismissal from Cosatu was unconstitutional and politically motivated with the federations president, S'dumo Dlamini leading the charge.

"S'dumo was in the police union as they were mobilising for the expulsion of Numsa. I've never seen people in leadership of Cosatu basically campaigning all out for the dismissal of a union."

Numsa president Andrew Chirwa says the central committee meeting will need to assess whether it is worth fighting to stay in the movement.

"Workers must decide whether we must be sitting in Cosatu, fighting of course for logos and for colours. Perhaps the time for a new path has arrived."

The union says it has not ruled out starting its own federation and admitted it is already speaking to independent labour movements.