Lunga Biyela
3 minute read
6 Jun 2012
00:00

Numsa accuses ANC’s selfish leaders

Lunga Biyela

Irvin Jim: Capitalism to blame for corruption and social ills; alliance riven by internal conflict

THE National Union of Metalworkers of SA believes the ANC is in trouble, because it has produced selfish leaders who are in it for material gain.

Numsa secretary-general Irvin Jim was delivering a secretariat report to 1 500 delegates attending the union’s congress in Durban yesterday.

“Our honest view is that the movement of Oliver Tambo is in trouble as it has not succeeded in producing a cadre of the movement that has revolutionary consciousness to serve for no material gain.”

Part of the reason for producing poor leaders, was that they lived in a capitalist society — one of greed and exploitation, Jim said.

“This system shapes and defines development out of its own image, it breeds corruption.”

“It is directly responsible for all the social ills that affect society, and indeed capitalism as a system does not have solutions for problems that confront humanity.”

Numsa would fight to replace capitalism with a system of socialism, Jim said, adding that the unions were realistic about this ideal.

“When we say this, we are not dreaming nor are we demagogues or populists.”

Jim said the ANC had a duty to look after the working class, which was its primary support base, and urged workers to swell the ranks of the party.

Addressing the congress earlier yesterday, ANC president Jacob Zuma again urged workers to aim for leadership positions, saying they should play a bigger role in the direction the party should take.

“The ANC is a broad church which takes everyone. We have nationalists, we have communists, herbalists, traditionalists. Everyone is there.”

The ANC could be influenced in any direction depending on who was at the helm, Zuma said.

The ANC was like a bus and those who were were closer to the front had a better chance of telling it where to go,” Zuma said.

In his speech, Jim said: “We are in full agreement with the ANC president … that workers must have an interest in electing working class leadership into the ANC [national executive council].

While Numsa enjoyed “warm relationships” with the ANC’s national leaders, “we can also say boldly that we have some difficulties at certain times with some key leaders”.

He said Numsa’s principled defence of a pro-working class ANC did not always sit comfortably with some of the ruling party’s leaders.

In particular, Jim criticised ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, a former National Union of Mineworkers leader.

“It is disingenuous for the secretary-general and others to attack this principled Numsa position when they are beneficiaries of working class ANC membership having delivered them — as trade unionists — into the Polokwane elected leadership.

“No amount of political blackmail shall make Numsa force itself into silence. Not yesterday, not today and certainly not tomorrow.”

Expressing concern at the state of the ANC’s tripartite alliance with Cosatu and the SA Communist Party, Jim said: “The alliance seems to be plunged into so much internal conflict and factionalism.”

He lamented the fact that this had happened when the three members of the alliance secretariat — Mantashe, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and his SACP counterpart Blade Nzimande — were “experienced communists”.

Mantashe and Vavi last night said they could not comment as they had not read Jim’s report, while Nzimande did not answer his cellphone.

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za