Numsa is currently holding a five-day central executive committee meeting‚ during which it endorsed the formation of a new workers-aligned political party. The meeting‚ which ends Friday (24 April) comes just a week after the socialism conference mandated Numsa to come up with a strategy for the formation of the party.
Numsa indicated in the conference that the new party’s first mission would be to fend off an onslaught by the DA on the metro in Port Elizabeth‚ which Numsa’s deputy general secretary Karl Kloete believed was at risk of falling to the opposition because of the ANC’s weakness there.
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim told journalists in Newtown‚ Johannesburg‚ on Thursday that there was no guarantee that the new party will be ready to contest next year’s local government elections.
But Jim said if the elections arrive and the political party has not been launched‚ Numsa and the United Front (the union’s fledgling umbrella body of leftist organisations) would support independent candidates who are supporting its cause.
“I can’t say now we are contesting elections…but there is nothing that stops the United Front in working with civil society organisations‚ taking up struggles in strategic municipalities and say at ward level… ‘we are supporting this particular candidate’‚” Jim said.
The Nelson Mandela Bay metro is seen as having a large base of potential members for the party because of the auto-manufacturing sector in this city.
Jim said the central executive was now instructing various structures of the union to carry out mobilisation initiative and hold workshops to discuss what shape the new political formation should take.
He said the launch of the United Front in June would further clear the path for the new political party.
“We had not taken a decision up until this central committee to crystallize the political organ. This committee unanimously agreed that there is no turning back. We are forging ahead to crystallize the political organ. What the central committee has mandated us to contribute now going forward is the process of dialogue‚ running of workshops and the nature and form of political organ we are forming. Is it going to be a mass party? Is it going to be vanguard party? Are we forming an organisation of professional revolutionists?”
Meanwhile‚ Numsa used the opportunity to criticise the ANC over the xenophobic attacks that have troubled the country over the past weeks.
“The fundamental truth must be recognised. It is the failure of the ANC/SACP government to radically implement the Freedom Charter and thereby make fundamental changes to the economy and transform the lives of South Africans that is at the heart of the xenophobia and its violence‚” the union said in its statement.
–RDM News Wire.