|8. November 2014
ANC laments Numsa's 'tragic' expulsion from Cosatu
The ANC says the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa from trade union federation Cosatu is a tragic development.
“That development is a tragic event because we have done everything we thought we could,” spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said. “For us the unity of Cosatu is very important. We met with all the affiliates, including Numsa, and they committed [themselves] to that.”
Numsa was expelled during a special CEC sitting on Friday. General secretary Irvin Jim confirmed the expulsion on Saturday. “Yes, Numsa has been expelled,” he said in an sms.
The ANC set up a task team, led by party deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, in April to help the trade union federation overcome infighting. It met 19 Cosatu affiliates to canvass their views on tensions within the federation, and to get input on whether the tripartite alliance between the ANC, Cosatu and the South African Communist Party, should continue. The ANC had urged Cosatu to address infighting, amidst rumours of an imminent split. At its special congress in December, Numsa decided not to support the ANC in the May general elections, which went against Cosatu’s policy.
Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said: “The meeting ran into the early hours of this morning, we are still trying to digest what happened”. CEC members voted on whether Numsa should stay, with 33 votes for expulsion and 24 against it.
On Friday, Jim gave a presentation defending the union against possible expulsion from the Cosatu. Numsa went to court on Thursday to try and prevent its expulsion. The case was postponed and the CEC meeting went ahead.
Democratic Left Front (DLF) treasurer Brian Ashley said earlier the expulsion brought an end to Cosatu as a fighting trade union. “Cosatu will degenerate further into essentially a sweetheart and bureaucratised union.” He described it as a “sad day” and a “travesty of justice”. He said the working class would face greater and bolder attacks from the neoliberal state and predatory capitalism. “During this entire saga, we have seen Cosatu under the leadership of [Sidumo] Dlamini and [Bheki] Ntshalintshali capitulate before the youth wage subsidy, eTolls, NDP and perhaps most damning of all, defend the indefensible – the Marikana massacre.” “It will fight to regroup the remaining and best elements of Cosatu.