Warning against ANC rhetoric

Zwelinzima Vavi and Numsa president Irvin Jim at the Durban City Hall during a May Day rally yesterday
Picture: Rogan Ward

Numsa slates radical economic transformation talk as lies

Talk of radical economic transformation by the ANC is pure lies being used as an electioneering tool, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said at the weekend.

In an exclusive interview during Numsa’s 30th-anniversary gala dinner in Durban on Sunday, Jim said the ANC rhetoric around radical economic transformation was “pure lies, electioneering and an attempt [by the ANC] to position itself as better than the DA and everybody else”.

He said conflict between new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and his adviser, Professor Chris Malikane, was also a sign that radical economic transformation was unlikely to happen.

Radical economic transformation was part of the agenda Numsa had used to push against the tripartite alliance before the union was booted out by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in late 2014, Jim said.

He claimed Numsa was expelled because the ANC was unwilling to implement radical economic transformation.

“We cannot believe that suddenly the ANC leadership believes in radical economic transformation.”

Jim said Malikane “used to be our economic adviser at Numsa and maintained a very solid line in speaking radical economic transformation”.

“Gigaba distanced himself from him and said he [Malikane] doesn’t know how government works.”

Jim said he agreed with Malikane that “if you talk radical economic transformation you have to nationalise, you will restructure the economy, you will deal with issues of ownership and control”.

However, he said he did not agree with Malikane that to achieve radical economic transformation South Africa’s economy needed to be destroyed, as had been the case in Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

Jim’s ally, former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, also cautioned against threats to destroy the economy to achieve goals.

Vavi, who has launched the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), said the country should not allow any situation that would be worse than currently.

“We are already [at] rock bottom. We should not allow ourselves to go down further than this,” he said.

Yesterday, Vavi took another swipe at the ANC, saying it had shunned workers as factions fought for control of the party.

Both the new federation and rival Cosatu led marches through the city of Durban yesterday as part of Workers’ Day celebrations.

Vavi‚ leading several thousand marchers, addressed the group at Durban’s City Hall.

He made a pointed jibe at Cosatu’s Bloemfontein celebration‚ which collapsed earlier in the day.

“They fight this titanic battle between themselves to sort out the eating queue for 2019.

“They are fighting for the person who distributes patronage and tenders‚ and they fight for who will feast first on the carcass of our democracy‚” he said.

Vavi also hit out at the Gupta family‚ accusing them of enriching themselves through their friendship with “political hyenas”.

“To the Guptas‚ you were so poor that you were selling clothes from the boot of your car and, today‚ Atul is No 12 on South Africa’s rich list.

“He must thank his friend Jacob Zuma and his network of thieves,” he said.

Jim said the national workforce was forgotten by the state.

“You are workers who produce wealth in this country. It is you who go under the ground to mine and you who are exploited every day.

“This government insults you and refuses to take your side with their minimum wage,” Jim said.

“Cyril Ramaphosa wants to take away the right of workers to strike. But we will protect your rights.”

Leave a Reply