National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Numsa logo.png
Full name National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa
Founded 1987
Members >338,000 (2013)
Country South Africa
Affiliation COSATU, WFTU
Key people Andrew Chirwa, president
Irvin Jim, general secretary
Office location Johannesburg, South Africa

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is the biggest single trade union in South Africa with more than 338,000 members, and the largest affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the country's largest trade union federation.[1][2]


The union considers itself to be Marxist-Leninist, but has had a fraught relationship with the South African Communist Party (SACP). Post-1994, NUMSA has become known within the Tripartite Alliance between COSATU, the SACP and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) for its refusal to remain silent on controversial ANC policies, especially its promotion of privatisation and its failure to end mass poverty in the country.

As of 2013, the union has over 340,000 members throughout South Africa. [3]

Rejection of ANC and SACP[edit]

At the conclusion on 20 December 2013 of a special national congress held in Boksburg, NUMSA withdrew support from the ANC and SACP altogether, and called for an alternative movement of the working class. The union stated that it would not endorse any political party in the 2014 South African general election, but that individual members were free to campaign for the party of their choice, provided they do so in their own time using their own resources. It called for COSATU to break from the Tripartite Alliance and form a united front of left-wing forces similar to the United Democratic Front (UDF) during the struggle against Apartheid.[4] As part of this, it called a conference for 2014 to explore the possibility of establishing a new workers' socialist party.[1] NUMSA remains a COSATU affiliate, although it has resolved to cease its R800 000 monthly subscription fee payments to the federation.[4] In December, 2013 the union also said it would also stop paying contributions to the South African Communist Party (SACP). Up until that time they had been paying the SACP R1-million a year. [5] It has issued a call for the resignation of Jacob Zuma as President of South Africa.[6]

Rejection of the EFF and WASP[edit]

The union also distanced itself from Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters citing concerns about corruption, authoritarianism and a limited conception of anti-capitalism. It has also been critical of the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP).[7][8][9]


  1. ^ a b Lydia Polgreen (20 December 2013). "South Africa’s Biggest Trade Union Pulls Its Support for A.N.C.". The New York Times (United States). Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  2. ^ SAPA (20 December 2013). "Numsa abandons ANC". Independent Online (South Africa). Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "NUMSA Breaks Official Link With ANC". Daily Dispatch. December 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Matuma Letsoalo and Mmanaledi Mataboge (20 December 2013). "Gatvol Numsa cuts ties with ANC". Mail & Guardian (South Africa). Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "NUMSA Breaks Official Link With ANC". Daily Dispatch. December 22, 2013. 
  6. ^ SAPA (20 December 2013). "Numsa wants Cosatu to split from ANC". Independent Online (South Africa). Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Numsa wary of ‘capitalist’ Malema, By SHANTI ABOOBAKER, Sunday Independent, 29 December 2013
  8. ^ NUMSA's assessment of the EFF, Politics Web, 9 January 2013
  9. ^ Full Marx at Numsa's political school, VERASHNI PILLAY, Mail & Guardian, 7 February 2014

External links[edit]