It’s not a ‘holiday’: Numsa spends almost R40m for congress

Numsa, which has cash flow problems due to a variety of reasons, sponsored flights for over 1,000 delegates to the Mother City for its eleventh congress - going against its own resolution to spend moderate amounts on such gatherings.

FILE: Numsa president Andrew Chirwa. Picture: @Numsa_Media/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Numsa president Andrew Chirwa has defended the union's decision to spend close to R40 million to convene its congress at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Numsa, which has cash flow problems due to a variety of reasons, sponsored flights for over 1,000 delegates to the Mother City for its eleventh congress, going against its own resolution to spend moderate amounts on such gatherings.

However, when addressing the congress during his opening speech on Wednesday, Chirwa said this was justified as they were merely trying to comply with "COVID-19 restrictions".

Numsa, which has failed to submit its audited financial statements to the Department of Labour since 2018 as obliged by law, said those who viewed the Cape Town trip as a “holiday” were wrong.

“Because when we planned the conference, there was lockdown and we had to look for the best convenient venue to COVID-19 regulations.”

Members of Numsa are some of the hardest hit by business cut-backs in various industries.

However, Chirwa said the expense was justified. Delegates spent at least two days milling around the city after the congress was interdicted.

Numsa’s 2012 congress resolved that the union would dramatically reduce spending on expensive hotels by opting for guest houses instead.

However, at this congress, delegates are accommodated in four and five-star hotels.

They also said they would cut down on travelling costs by looking for cheaper and more central venues.