COSATU CEC left with no option but to expel NUMSA - SACP Political Bureau

Party says union deliberately courted expulsion in order to posture as the victims of a thumb-suck "witch-hunt"


Statement following Political Bureau Meeting of 10 November 2014

The SACP Political Bureau regrets that COSATU's CEC was left with no option but to take the drastic and unpleasant step of expelling NUMSA from its ranks. This expulsion has occurred in the context of a NUMSA leadership that for many months deliberately courted expulsion in order to posture as the victims of a thumb-suck "witch-hunt".

In soccer terms, we have had a case of repetitive "diving in the box". The NUMSA leadership has brazenly pursued its recalcitrant defiance of the founding principle of the federation - namely one industry, one union. Already, attempts to poach members from other COSATU affiliates has resulted in worker shop-floor divisions, factionalism and even homes burnt and cars destroyed.

For many months, throwing reckless insults in all directions, the NUMSA leadership has shown no inclination to seek constructive and unifying solutions to the many challenges confronting the organised working class. This was not a case of an externally manipulated witch-hunt, but a case of self-expulsion.

The SACP remains committed to the struggle for working class unity, including a respect for a diversity of views amongst the organised working class and the popular masses. The Party will do everything in its capacity to achieve this unity, and is currently working on a new programme to intensify the class struggle.

Let us prioritise the unity in diversity of the working class and poor in practical, on-the-ground work. Let us NOT elevate tactical differences amongst ourselves, while monopoly capital strengthens its exploitative grip on our country. We call on the great majority of NUMSA rank-and-file members, quite a number of whom are our own SACP members, not to follow the divisive path of their leadership. Let us re-build a united and militant COSATU.

Part of that re-building effort must be a collective discussion on the contemporary challenges confronting South Africa's working class. As the SACP's discussion document ‘Going to the Root' argues, the past 20 years have seen a massive monopoly capitalist-driven dismantling of our productive economy. The restructuring of the work-place has been monopoly capital's counter-offensive in the face of the important democratic advances made through working class struggle and the post-1994 democratisation process.

Casualisation, labour-brokering, increasing capital intensity, growing monopoly domination at the expense of more labour-intensive, medium-scale enterprises have been some of the key features that have hollowed out important working class gains achieved through legislation. Massive disinvestment out of our country, tax avoidance through tax havens, transfer pricing, collusive behaviour, and an investment strike have played a major role in the sustained crisis levels of domestic unemployment and under-employment. This is the strategic agenda that must be fought and defeated.

Whatever the weaknesses in the ANC-led government, and we are not in denial about them, over the past 20 years our democratic government has led a major and progressive fiscal redistributive programme. As even the recent World Bank study of middle income developing countries has conceded, South Africa's fiscal redistributive programme has, in its impact, surpassed the achievements of our peer group, including Brazil. The root of our problems lies, not in the absence of state-led redistributive measures, but in the growing dominance over our productive sector of an asset-stripping, financialised, global casino economy. The persistence of crisis levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality need to be laid primarily at the door of monopoly capital.

Let us strengthen the capacity and stiffen the willingness of the democratic state and our tripartite alliance to take on this critical battle. A re-invigorated and militant COSATU that refuses to be a simple conveyor belt, either for government or for the personal agendas of ambitious business unionists, is absolutely essential in this regard.

Statement issued by the SACP, Political Bureau, November 11 2014

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