Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim has called on members to support the formation of a new federation and Workers’ Party.
He said details would be revealed at an appropriate time.
Jim envisages the party as an instrument that will liberate those inside the ANC who are “economically marginalised and dispossessed”.
“We are going to call on Numsa members to swell the ranks of the United Democratic Front structures. We are not in a rush. We want genuine cadres of the working class,” he said.
“We want those who will go back to basics. Those who will tell others that we have had enough of poverty.
“We are going to defend the rights and the hard-won benefits of workers.”
Jim was addressing hundreds of Numsa members who travelled from all parts of the country to attend the Mbuyiselo Ngwenda memorial lecture at the Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton yesterday.
Ngwenda, a former Numsa general secretary, was born in Port Elizabeth in 1964. He joined the struggle in the 1970s. In 1984, he was arrested and placed in detention. He was released two years later and was then employed at VWSA where he was elected as a Numsa shop steward.
Prior to his death in March 1999, Ngwenda served in various structures of both the ANC and SACP.
Jim described Ngwenda as a fearless but humble leader.
He said there was now a concerted effort by employers to end workers’ fringe benefits such as medical aid and pension fund, which they regarded as expensive.
Jim urged shop stewards to defend this from happening.
“That is the first battle confronting us on the shop floor,” he said.
On the social grants debacle, Jim said: “The union has been firm that the ANC cannot avoid this. The minister [Bathabile Dlamini] must go.
“This chaos should not have been allowed.”
He also took a swipe at Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa over the R3 500 minimum wage, saying it was a “slavery wage”.
Jim also hit out at the government for wanting to “tamper” with the right of workers to strike.