NUMSA's expulsion from COSATU disappointing and tragic - ANC

Gwede Mantashe says union's attacks on ANC unfounded, party remains committed to the implementation of the Freedom Charter


10 NOVEMBER 2014

The outcome of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of COSATU, specifically the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is disappointing and tragic. From its inception, COSATU was established to advance worker solidarity in order to unite and organise workers and the working class to improve their conditions. Our view as the African National Congress is, and has always been, that we must support COSATU in its historic mission to consolidate and advance worker unity.

As such, as an organisation we will resist any temptation to engage in the current dispute characterised by mudslinging and insults against individuals or components of the Tripartite Alliance. We reaffirm our position that the expulsion of NUMSA from the Federation is bad for the COSATU itself, it is bad for the ANC, bad for the Alliance, the progressive forces as well as for society in general.

Within this context and given the challenges faced by COSATU, the ANC had established a task team led by the Deputy President to mediate and assist to address some challenges facing COSATU and the differences amongst its affiliates. The intention was to persuade comrades to avoid a split in the federation at all cost. Given the not so easy task of building unity, the ANC Task Team met with all nineteen COSATU affiliates. The report of the task team to the COSATU CEC sought to provide suggestions on how to deal with the conflict within the Federation.

Amongst the suggestions offered was that NUMSA reverses its decision to extend its scope beyond its identified industry and subject itself to the discipline, principles and regulations of the Federation. In the context of seeking to preserve unity, COSATU was also advised to be sensitive to the political implications of the case facing its General Secretary. As such the Federation should not be mechanical in its approach but mindful of its long-term implications.

We don't believe that the challenges facing the Federation are insurmountable nor the differences irreconcilable. Allowing a split in the Federation can only help the historic enemies of the Alliance from both the left and right of the political spectrum. This development can never be celebrated, it in fact calls upon all of us to work hard to find each other. The ANC will continue to engage the Federation to conduct a detailed analysis of the impact of this decision. The ANC will further engage with all the affiliates with a view of consolidating unity.

The ideological and class character of the ANC has always been contested given different class interests. The ANC remains a disciplined force of the left, biased towards working class and poor. The working class, and workers in particular, remains a critical motive force of the NDR and the ANC prides itself as the champion of their rights and interests.

Constructive contestations are healthy and must always be appreciated within the context of the democratic character of the movement; equally we must protect the movement against any attack to its profound principles. As we work hard to find solutions we must be vigilant of any strategies and plans to destroy the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the Alliance at all costs.

The attacks on the ANC by NUMSA are unfounded. The ANC remains committed to and continues to pursue the implementation of the Freedom Charter. The ANC has scored remarkable achievements in the past twenty years and acknowledges that much more needs to be done.

In its 53rd National Conference, the ANC adopted the NDP as the framework to move South Africa forward and to increase investment, skills development, job creation and the elimination of poverty. Therefore, the NDP is by no means a neo-liberal ideological programme but a plan to implement the ideals of Freedom Charter.

The conflict in COSATU must be treated as a conflict inside the Federation in which the ANC Task Team remains available to assist in the resolution thereof and ensure reconciliation and the building of unity and cohesion in the Federation.

Statement issued by Gwede Mantashe, ANC Secretary General, November 10 2014

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