NUMSA has now paid Castro Ngobese his settlement - Irvin Jim

GS says delay in payment was due to an effort to reintegrate former spokesperson into union

Former Numsa Spokesperson Castro Ngobese and Numsa

2 September 2016

It is with great disappointment, deep sadness and a real sense of anguish that Numsa announces the termination of our relationship with Comrade Castro Ngobese, our former Spokesperson.

Comrade Ngobese has served Numsa with distinction. We do not doubt his commitment to the cause of the working class in general and his love for Numsa. It was, in fact, precisely these qualities in him that made us headhunt and inevitably employ him.

Comrade Castro Ngobese absconded from work for a long time, at the beginning of this year.  This was in breach of our code of conduct and discipline.

Numsa instituted internal disciplinary processes against Comrade Ngobese, as is our practice in such cases. Comrade Ngobese personally and voluntarily aborted internal Numsa disciplinary processes, and took the matter to CCMA.

While the union was absolutely sure it had a watertight case against Comrade Ngobese, the union initially offered at CCMA, as Comrade Ngobese correctly states, to settle the matter by way of a payment to Comrade Castro, and termination of his services.

Upon further reflection in the union by Numsa National Office Bearers, we felt that the union and the South African working class needed Comrade Castro’s services and commitment to the working class.

The National Office Bearers of Numsa decided to try and approach Comrade Ngobese with a view to finding a resolution to the matter which would lead to Comrade Ngobese returning to the union, and continuing with his work. 

The General Secretary met with Comrade Ngobese and the matter was resolved. Comrade Ngobese could return to work, upon signing a document confirming the withdrawal of the decision from the CCMA, and committing to the new conditions negotiated with the General Secretary. 

The General Secretary duly complied with his part of the bargain, and sent Comrade Ngobese the document he was required to sign.  We have been waiting for Comrade Castro to sign and or speak to us regarding the new settlement of his matter. 

When the Numsa General Secretary sent Comrade Ngobese an SMS inquiring where things were at with the document he was supposed to sign, Comrade Ngobese resorted to use of public media to communicate his frustrations with the union, and resorted to the CCMA settlement.

In the circumstances, the union finds itself with no choice but to do as Comrade Castro Ngobese now wishes us to: terminate our relationship with him and settle on the basis of the CCMMA settlement. The union has accordingly, paid him.

We have suffered with Comrade Castro during the period of processing this matter.  We know what workers suffer when their matters are at CCMA. 

It was our desire to try and work things out between us and Comrade Castro so that on one hand, we do not set a bad industrial relations precedent in the union and on the other, we retain the services of a genuinely committed working class revolutionary. We have clearly failed and must accept to let Comrade Castro go.

The union will not engage in any public spat with Comrade Castro Ngobese; that would be an insult to the warm and productive relationship the union has had with him. It is our sincere hope that he should find work soon, and settle and continue to serve the working class.

Statement issued by Irvin Jim, NUMSA General Secretary, 2 September 2016