Numsa: United Front structures registered to contest local elections

While the union has not yet launched its political party, it says it will after holding a workers summit.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says its United Front structures have already registered to contest the local government elections in the Eastern Cape, including Sterkspruit and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

While the union admits it's not yet launched its political party, it says it will do so after holding a workers summit that will support independent candidates.

Numsa abandoned its alliance with the African National Congress (ANC) in 2013 and after being kicked out of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) the following year, it's advocated for the ruling party's defeat at the polls.

The union has remained tight-lipped about its ambitions in this year's local government elections.

General Secretary Irvin Jim says the need for a political party is immediate.

"What is immediate for us is to build a political party in this country; that we must raise levels of consciousness of the working class."

He says while no decision has been made, the party to be formed will probably support campaigns by United Front structures.

"Numsa is busy crystallising the United Front. There is no reason why we should not support them, but as to whether we are going to take money and do all that, we will let you know."

The United Front is seen as possible challenger to the Democratic Alliance (DA), ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Port Elizabeth where Numsa maintains strong support.