JOHANNESBURG, September 24 – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) will not support the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ (Cosatu) calls for a socio-economic strike on September 27.
“Cosatu called for all workers to go on strike against state capture and corruption. The irony is that the federation is very much a part of the system of ‘kleptocracy’ and ‘neopatrimonialism’ which has captured the ANC,” Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said in a statement.
Numsa viewed the calls for a socio-economic strike against the very government which Cosatu was in alliance with, as nothing more than the federation’s “desperate attempt to remain relevant”, he said.
Numsa – which was expelled from Cosatu and is now an affiliate of the recently formed South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) – had rejected the African National Congress because “the cancer of cronyism and corruption had begun to destroy the party, and also, because the ANC had become a champion for white monopoly capital”.
“Cosatu has been exposed as a hollow mouthpiece for ANC factions. It has failed to act in the interests of the working class. It has been reduced to simply rubber stamping the ANC’s neo-liberal agenda which is responsible for high levels of poverty, inequality, and unemployment in the country. The decision by Cosatu to go on strike is an attempt to distract from its glaring failure as a labour movement,” Jim said.
“When Cosatu calls for a strike against state capture, they are in fact calling for a strike against themselves because they are part of the very machinery which is being used to oppress workers every day. Their continued unwavering support for the ANC means that they are part of the same parasitic networks which are choking our economy. If Cosatu had even a shred of revolutionary consciousness left, they would make a clean break from the ANC. But their appetite for power and their dependence on patronage networks will keep them from taking this bold step.”
Numsa called on all its members not to participate in the strike. Workers should not give up a day’s wages to help the leadership of Cosatu “fulfil a narrow political agenda”. Workers should not sacrifice their earnings for a Cosatu leadership which had “sold out the working class just so it can have access to a corrupt ANC leadership and its patronage networks”, Jim said.