THERE is nothing to stop the United Front from fielding councillor candidates in the 2016 local polls, says Irvin Jim, general secretary of Numsa.
“The local government election is coming up next year; why should we be expected to sit back when the working class is going through rough times.”
Jim said there was nothing to stop the United Front from backing candidates rooted in the working class. “You don’t need to be a political party to have working-class leaders in particular wards,” he said.
“Together with the working class, United Front and Numsa, we can say in this ward we want this councillor because we know he is not after tenders.”
Jim said the union was convinced alternatives were needed. “Our people have had enough of poverty, unemployment and inequality. We are a union that is not beating about the bush.”
Several municipalities had collapsed, said Jim, because the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (Gear) programme imposed belt-tightening. “They have implanted this Gear thing and, as a result, those municipalities are collapsing.”
“The ANC defines it as a movement on the left. But what we have seen in the ANC for the past 20 years has been the deepening of imperialism. All the banks are foreign-owned. The land question is not being addressed.”
Numsa says the ANC has not done enough to improve the conditions of workers in a country where one in four people is unemployed.
Numsa is hosting a conference for socialism this week, which expelled Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is expected to attend. Numsa has also invited the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, but neither has confirmed attendance. The SACP, also invited, has also not yet responded. The conference would “assess the strengths and weaknesses of socialist energy in the country”.
“We are convinced the time has come for the working class to organise itself as a class for itself,” said Jim in Johannesburg yesterday. “The working class needs its own political organ which, in our view, must be a political party.”
“The working class needs its own political organ, a party that will continue to raise levels of consciousness for working people.”
Numsa has been researching the formation of a workers party since it adopted a resolution to break ties with the ANC-led alliance in 2013. The two-year long process will conclude next week, when an announcement will be made on the new entity.
The establishment of a “political vehicle” would be debated at the Numsa central committee meeting on Monday where it will take a final decision on the worker party and the movement for socialism it is set to initiate.