NUMSA (National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa) has launched the left-wing organisation called the United Front as a result of its disagreements with COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Union) and South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC.
It is not yet known whether it will become a political party. Whether that happens or not, ANC envoys will undoubtedly be scurrying to and fro in an attempt to heal the Tripartite Alliance (ANC, COSATU and South African Communist Party) that has dominated the country’s politics for 20 years.
Others will be hoping that NUMSA’s 338 000 members will inspire other unions to join the United Front and fragment the stranglehold the ANC has had on a very controversial parliament.
Where the United Front’s true path leads is made unclear in the public mind by the doubt caused by COPE’s implosion and the EFF’s leader’s conflicts with the law. Children of the ANC tend to act like children.
Will the United Front become an adult?
They have to even define a mandate. It has yet to define what socialism is to it. It is divided by whether to become a political party or not. Links to the ANC SACP and NUMSA remain the featured links on its website. All this makes its existence, for now, more a reaction than an intention.
Traditionally, in municipal councils, different parties have rarely meant individual thought. In my home town of Knysna, no matter the merits of a certain matters, opposition parties vote opposite to whatever the DA votes. There is certainly argument for senselessness underscored by race. Concepts of morality and what’s best for a town are too often interpreted by whether politicians are perceived to be black or white rather than right or wrong.
The United Front’s opening press releases contradict one another and insert irony into the organisations name. NUMSA’s National Spokesperson, Castro Ngobese, released a statement whose title would have made Cold War Russians proud: ‘Declaration of the Preparatory Assembly of the United Front’. In it, he says that, “The wealthy elite and the bosses – white and black – refuse to concede a single inch to the urgent needs of the majority. They view even the most basic reforms as a potential threat to their profit margins.” However, that racial union is diluted in his next paragraph where he says that, “The ANC government has refused to confront capital and white privilege and instead become an enabler of white monopoly capital and their junior BEE partners. ” Separately, NUMSA’s General Secretary, Irvin Jim, repeated the sentiments of the former with, “Begin the tough journey of uniting all South Africans, of all races.”
As with all intentions, only time will tell how and if they are fulfilled.
Real opposition and many trains of thought are needed so, although i express doubts, i am still hoping that the United Front finds its feet and helps lessen the divide not only between the rich and poor but fractures the dictatorial, beast-like nature of our selfish, hate-filled politics.
More immediately, as much pressure as possible has to be exerted on the Marikana Commission of Inquiry (the investigation into the Marikana Massacre) so that justice is served for the 44 dead, seeming killed by a collusion of state and empire.