Numsa: United Front to tackle race and class divisions

The union is speaking at the people’s assembly of gathered workers unions and civic organisations.

Delegates attend the Numsa people's assembly on 13 December 2014. Picture: Emily Corke/Numsa.

JOHANNESBURG - National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) says the United Front will bring the democratic regime change that South Africa needs to free its citizens from neo-liberalism.

The union is speaking at the people's assembly of gathered workers unions and civic organisations convened to address the challenges facing the working class.

Among the challenges is race and class division which the workers union says is still very prevalent.

Numsa President Andrew Chirwa says it's the working class that should be empowered to build a democratic South Africa.

"The United Front is an organisational form for us not only for growing the popular power of the working class and the voices of the weak and poor in society but it must also be an exponential teacher of strong militants and profound democratic values."

Chirwa says South Africans can no longer wait for leadership to fix the class divisions in the working class encouraging members of the delegation to join the fight against neoliberalism.

"The working class can't be patient waiting for Jesus Christ to come."

The United Front is due to be launched early next year after a delayed start to the launch just days ago.

Former Treatment Action Campaign leader Zakkie Achmat says if the affiliates of the United Front don't act Helen Zille will soon have power over the rest of South Africa.

Achmat says working class freedom is blocked by neo-liberalism in a state without a political party to unite the working class.

"We have a moment of danger, a divided working class, no serious political movement, the rise of the EFF, the efficiency or so-called, of the DA. You live in the richest city on the continent, yet you are without water. If we don't watch out, Helen Zille will rule here, and that's the danger, the DA is coming."

Numsa was voted out of the Congress of South African Trade Unions last month by 33 votes to 24 and the decision has since exposed the rift between rival affiliates.

Eight of Numsa's allies in Cosatu subsequently refused to take part in the federation's meetings and have warned that if the metalworkers do not return to the fold, a mass walkout is on the cards.