Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Numsa loses interdict battle at Labour Court

Judge Graham Moshoana has ruled the decision to go ahead with the conference was 'unguided and unwise'.

The Johannesburg Labour Court has dismissed the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s (Numsa) bid to appeal a ruling that interdicted it from going ahead with its 11th national congress in Cape Town.

Numsa 11th national congress

Judge Graham Moshoana on Thursday morning ruled that the union leaders’ decision to go ahead with the conference on Wednesday was “unguided and unwise”.

On Wednesday evening, the judge heard an urgent leave to appeal application from Numsa, challenging its ruling on Saturday that declared the suspension of the union’s former second deputy president, Ruth Ntlokotse, and that of 30 other officials unlawful.

ALSO READ: Numsa congress re-elects current leaders amid Labour court appeal

Lawyers representing disgruntled Numsa members argued on Wednesday the decision to proceed with the conference – which has been marred by legal action and chaos – was in contempt of the Labour Court’s ruling.

Numsa constitution

Numsa’s special central committee (SCC) meeting on Tuesday resolved to convene the multimillion-rand conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from Wednesday to Friday.

The union said the court did not prevent it from holding the congress, but said it could do so in line with Numsa’s constitution.

However, Judge Moshoana on Thursday said Numsa was wrong to proceed with the conference, finding that “a trade union’s constitution is not to be interpreted like a commercial contract”.

“There is no place for implied terms in a trade union constitution. It is a statutory document subject to statutory requirements.

“The test for the granting of leave to appeal has not been met,” read the judgment.

Congress elects leaders

Meanwhile, the Numsa congress on Wednesday elected the party’s leadership, opting to keep its old leadership structures and only bringing in new blood to fill deputy posts.

The election of the leaders went ahead despite the Labour Court’s judgment on Thursday morning on Numsa’s appeal application.

The conference re-elected Andrew Chirwa as the metalworkers union’s president, Irvin Jim as the general secretary, and Mphumzi Maqungo was re-elected as the national treasurer.

The other elected leaders at the conference were Mbuso Ngubane, Mac Chavalala and Puleng Phaka as the deputy general secretary, first deputy president and second deputy president, respectively.

The leaders were elected unopposed despite some delegates storming out of the congress due to the Labour Court’s interdict.

With the court dismissing Numsa’s application, it remains to be seen what would happen to the conference and its election of the leaders.

NOW READ: Numsa to go ahead with national congress despite court interdict