UF West Rand launch in Roodepoort

First United Front West Rand regional launch in Roodepoort

Krugersdorp News

Chief Mogale Community Forum and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) held its first United Front West Rand regional launch at the Sanlam Centre in Roodepoort recently.

Chief Mogale Community Forum coordinator, David Sebogodi said to the delegates: “We are building a United Front of working class organisations whose task is to fight against neo-liberalism manifesting itself, and the immediate and radical implementation of the Freedom Charter.

“Our perspective is that the United Front is a form of organisation and therefore it is part of the tactics of the working class. The United Front has nothing to do with assembling so-called electoral combination of leaders in pursuit of one or another parliamentary aim, for now. The work of the United Front is in the communities and workplaces, not in government,” he said.

The assembly was facilitated by a national working committee member of United Front, Siyabonga Mbuqe and Gauteng United Front deputy chairperson Thembeka Baleni. The assembly elected an 11-person West Rand regional working committee.

Some of the organisation attending the assembly included Chief Mogale Community Forum, South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco), Numsa shop stewards, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and West Rand areas also attended.

Pretty Shilaluke alluded that many of the individuals playing a key role in the formation of the United Front already were engaged in issues of crime, water cut-offs, sanitation, billing system education, health, food, social security, energy/ electricity and housing.

For details contact coordinator David Sebogodi on 076 906 1212 or organiser Pretty Shilaluke on 078 299 6953.




Numsa to form workers’ party

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa will work to set up a political party to represent workers, said Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim.

But if next year’s local government elections arrive and the political party has not been launched‚ Numsa and the United Front umbrella body of community organisations would support independent candidates who are supporting its cause.

Jim said that in the 2016 municipal elections the union’s United Front would support individual working class leaders at strategic municipalities who would champion the struggles of the working class fighting against neo-liberal agendas.

“…there is nothing that stops the United Front in working with civil society organisations‚ taking up struggles in strategic municipalities and say at ward level… ‘we are supporting this particular candidate’” Jim said.

There could be a showdown between the African National Congress and the United Front as Numsa fights the Democratic Alliance. Numsa indicated that the new party’s first mission would be to fend off an onslaught by the DA because of the weakness of the ANC.

“Without a political organ that is loyal and committed to socialism to mobilize the working class, we are vulnerable,” Jim added.

“There is no turning back,” said Jim. “We are forging ahead to crystalise the political organ, but forming a political party is not easy. Part of what we must do is go back to the workers so that they participate in the process of shaping the political organ.”

Jim said the union would hold workshops to discuss what shape the new political formation should take.

“…going forward is the process of dialogue‚ running of workshops and the nature and form of political organ we are forming. Is it going to be a mass party? Is it going to be vanguard party? Are we forming an organisation of professional revolutionists?”

He said the launch of the United Front in June would further clear the path for the new political party.

Numsa has criticized the ANC for not doing enough to improve the conditions of workers in a country where one in four people is unemployed.

Jim blamed what he described as the ANC’s failure to improve the lives of South Africans and transform the economy for fueling anti-immigrant violence this month that claimed at least seven lives.

“The fundamental truth must be recognised. It is the failure of the ANC/SACP government to radically implement the Freedom Charter and thereby make fundamental changes to the economy and transform the lives of South Africans that is at the heart of the xenophobia and its violence” the union said.

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May Day Rally – Durban & Johannesburg

Numsa with its Cosatu allies are organising May Day rallies in Durban and Johannesburg separate from the Cosatu rallies.

The union is organising trains in Gauteng and busses in KZN which will be shared with United Front affiliates.


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* In Johannesburg the march will start in Joubert Park in lower Hillbrow and proceed to the Standard Bank Arena in Bertrams where the rally will be held.

In Gauteng, the unions who are working with Numsa have agreed that the United Front should speak at the rally.

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* In Durban, the march starts at the King Dinizulu park and moves to the City Hall.

The May Day events are to be a demonstration of the coming together of organized labour and broader civil society.

Please pass on the message and we will keep you posted on the transport and train schedules.

United Front a seven headed snake: Dlamini




By Shanti Aboobaker 10 April 10 2015 02:40pm

“We’ve got to identify the heads one by one and kill them one at a time until the whole snake is gone.”  Dlamini

Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini has described enemies within and outside the federation as a seven-headed snake.

“Call it a ‘United Front’ – I call it the seven headed snake,” he said in what could be understood to be the seven unions calling for expelled metalworkers union, Numsa’s, reinstatement.

Dlamini was speaking at a memorial service for slain-SACP leader Chris Hani who was murdered 22 years ago on Friday.

“There comes a time when an organisation must act. Everybody should come behind the decision of the organisation,” he added.

“what would you do if the CEO behaved in the way that the former general secretary did? Cosatu will stay in the Alliance.”

SACP general secretary, Blade Nzimande said Cosatu’s decision to fire its general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, was not an easy one.

“We will support unity of the federation. It won’t fragment,” Nzimande said.

Thembelihle residents to picket against “state of emergency”

The Citizen

3 April 2015 10.52 am

Following violent protests in Thembelihle informal settlement near Lenasia last month, residents led by the Thembelihle Crisis Committee will picket today against the undeclared, unofficial state of emergency experienced in the area.

According to the Right2Know campaign (R2K), the police “siege from 25 February involved deployment of various heavily armed police units including, Johannesburg Metro Police Department, Tactical Response Team, Crime Intelligence Unit over and above the Public Order Policing Unit amongst others.”

“During the clampdown, gross human rights violations have been experienced in the very same month marked for the celebration of human rights,” said R2K.

This has led to the picket which will take place opposite the police station in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.

“The community feels strongly that the SAPS should account for their transgressions and the picket will serve as a stepping stone towards a broader campaign to have those responsible brought to account for such unwarranted actions,” R2K added.

The picket will be supported by the R2K, the United Front and the Democratic Left Front.

“The siege will not stop the determination of Thembelihle residents to have the Gauteng MEC for Housing come to our community and account as per his long-promised commitments,” the crisis committee said.

FILE PICTURE: Protesting Thembelihle residents throw stones at the police as members of the SAPS and JMPD attempt to disperse them, 26 February 2015. Thembelihle residents took to the streets after a Lenasia man shot two protesters on Wednesday night who were threatening to burn electricity boxes in the suburb. The man was arrested. Twenty protesters were later arrested for public violence. Picture: Michel Bega

Press Statement: End the de facto State of Emergency in Themelihle

31st March 2015

The Thembelihle Crisis Committee, the United Front (UF), the Right to Know (R2K) Campaign and the Democratic Left Front call on all people of good conscience in South Africa to endorse the call for an end to the security siege of Thembelihle. Since the 25th of February 2015, Thembelihle has faced a de facto State of Emergency at the hands of the South African Police Services (SAPS) and other security agents. This undeclared, unofficial State of Emergency in Thembelihle is an attack on all our constitutionally guaranteed rights to and freedoms to organise, associate and freely express ourselves. We call for urgent action to put pressure on the SAPS to end the siege. We call for the creation of conducive conditions for free, open and democratic political activity in which the people of Thembelihle may express and exercise their right to protest, and have their demands for a decent life of dignity met.

We call for concrete and active solidarity with the people of Thembelihle. We call on all to join tomorrow’s Mass Solidarity Meeting (1st April 2015) to end the siege in Thembelihe which will held from 5pm at the “Park Station” community meeting area in Thembelihle.

For many years, the Thembelihle informal settlement (adjacent to Lenasia south-west of Johannesburg) has been a site of unyielding struggles for basic services of housing, water, sanitation and electricity. These are basic needs promised by our country’s constitution. Yet with every struggle the ANC government has never bothered to meet the demands of this community. Instead, it has increasingly opted to use the police as its response.

Since the 25th of February, Thembelihle has seen widespread deployment of heavily armed SAPS members and other security agents to patrol the township. In effect, Thembelihle is living through an undeclared, and therefore illegal State of Emergency due to the SAPS-led security operation with many local leaders in hiding as a result causing incalculable harm and trauma to them and their families. Gatherings of more than three people are broken up and there is harassment of individual activists.

On 25th February 2015, 36 people were arrested with a further 36 arrested a few days later. Of these 17 have been charged and the others released. The 17 facing charges have been granted R1,000 bail each. The DLF has contributed money to bail out two. For the second set of people arrested, R2K Gauteng contributed bail for 4 of them. Another two have been bailed by their families. There are still six who need bail money. Another six have been denied bail and remain in custody due to their being in South Africa ‘illegally’.

All these underline the fact that the Thembelihle crisis is a national emergency. The TCC, the UF, R2K and the DLF firmly believe that the Thembelihle siege represents one of the most severe cases demonstrating that the ANC government is now prepared to use repression and police brutality to stamp out social protest. cases of systematic and sustained police repression against public protest in our post-apartheid democratic South Africa. This is part of the ruling elite’s increasing securotisation of political, social and economic demands of the mass of the people that it has proved incapable and unwilling to resolve. As stated above, the Thembelihle siege goes against everything in a democratic society promised by the 1996 Constitution.

The TCC, UF, R2K and DLF also call on the public to make donations to set up a Legal Defence Fund to raise money for bail and other legal costs immediately for the Thembelihle comrades in custody and other activists who are facing and will face similar repression and action from the police. Donations may be made to this account:
• Account holder: The Right 2 Know
• Bank: Standard Bank
• Account Number: 07 022 865 5
• Branch Code: 020909
• Reference: Thembelihle Legal Defence

Needless to say, this de facto State of Emergency has effectively removed attention away from the service delivery and housing process, and has turned political demands into a security question.

End the siege of Thembelihle!

Siphiwe Segodi – Thembelihle Crisis Committee – 072 655 4177
Mzwonke Mayekiso – United Front Organiser – 074 991 6202
Godfrey Phiri – R2K National Working Group – 078 733 1236
Rehad Desai – Democratic Left Front – 0839979204

Numsa calls unions to join United Front and asks Vavi to make up his mind


by Khulekani Magubane 23 March 2015

THE National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) will meet eight Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) affiliates to convince them to join its United Front, Numsa leadership said on Saturday.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim also challenged Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to part ways with the 30-year-old federation at Saturday’s shop steward council in Katlehong.

Mr Jim told a hall filled with shop stewards that Cosatu had been subjecting its affiliate unions to “purges” and mass dismissals at a leadership level.

Speaking at a shop stewards council in Katlehong at the weekend, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said Mr Vavi should not continue associating himself with the “crippling” of the working class.

Mr Vavi’s woes began over an investigation into transactions surrounding the purchase and sale of the federation’s Braamfontein headquarters, along with an affair with a junior colleague.

Eight Cosatu unions have expressed support for Mr Vavi since his suspension from Cosatu.
Mr Vavi reportedly told a meeting of the South African Democratic Teachers Union in Port Elizabeth that he would decide on his future in Cosatu this week.

This comes before a key meeting of Cosatu’s top brass set to take place on March 30 and 31, at which the disciplinary processes against Mr Vavi are to be discussed.

“It’s understood Vavi will address a press conference this week,” Mr Jim said. “I don’t know what he will say but I know the more he is prepared to agitate workers, the more the leaders of Cosatu want to deal with him. There is no future for Vavi if it is up to (Cosatu president) Sdumo (Dlamini). Vavi’s future is in serving the working class,” Mr Jim said.

Since its expulsion from Cosatu, Numsa — which was the labour federation’s largest affiliate with 360,000 members — has sought to increase its membership by expanding into other sectors.

The union has spearheaded the United Front, and is researching the launching of a socialist or workers party in time to contest next year’s local government election.

Numsa was also set to meet eight Cosatu affiliates to convince them to join its United Front, the union’s leadership said.

United Front co-ordinator Dinga Sikwebu told Business Day on the sidelines of the shop stewards council that the eight unions had been invited to its national working committee meeting, scheduled for Monday, where they would be asked to join the United Front.

“The first thing we have to do is get our national working committee going. We have invited delegates from the eight unions (in Cosatu) to brief us on the state of the federation and for us to explain the progress of the United Front to them. The delegates have accepted the invitation and will see us in Johannesburg on Monday,” Mr Sikwebu said.

He said the United Front would be launched in June with a rally in Ekurhuleni.

Mr Sikwebu told shop stewards that the United Front’s launch rally had to be as big as the launch of the Economic Freedom Fighters in 2013.

The United Front wanted to unite other unions, as well as grassroots organisations, under its banner, he said.

Representatives of the eight unions could not be reached for comment. Communication Workers Union deputy general secretary Thabo Mogalane said he was not aware that a delegation from the union would attend the United Front meeting but said the union would have to be sensitive when considering its future.

“Firstly, I’m not aware of that meeting. We maintain our stance regarding Numsa. We haven’t discussed the possibility of coming under the United Front as yet but we will have to debate the issue in our constituencies and that would be something that we will have to discuss,” Mr Mogalane said.