\n \n \n \n Is the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) headed for a split at its elective national conference next week? That's the ensuing debate in the union and among outside observers as 30 suspended union members and officials and Numsa top brass face off in a power battle in the Labor Court in Joburg tomorrow. The disgruntled members are challenging their suspension along with the union's second vice-president Ruth Ntlokose - who is also asking the court to declare his suspension invalid. She said the move was aimed at preventing her from standing and being elected as... \n \n \n \nIs the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) heading for a split at its elective national conference next week? \n\n\n\nThat's the ensuing debate in the union and among outside observers as 30 suspended union members and officials and Numsa top brass face off in a power battle in the Labor Court in Joburg tomorrow. \n\n\n\nThe disgruntled members are challenging their suspension along with the union's second vice-president Ruth Ntlokose - who is also asking the court to declare his suspension invalid. She claimed that the move was aimed at preventing her from standing and being elected as Numsa president. \n\n\n\nObservers believe the infighting could lead to another split. If he does, he will be the second since the various unions of the steel, iron, metal, automotive and engineering industries were merged to form the militant Numsa. \n\n\n\nALSO READ: Numsa condemns the murder of the shopkeeper in Rustenburg\n\n\n\nPrior to this, the US Free Trade Union of Metalworkers broke away from Numsa and remained an affiliate of the US Congress of Trade Unions and Numsa was one of the founders of the new US Confederation of Trade Unions. \n\n\n\nThe tussle among the leaders is a sequel to a dispute by some members who protested the alleged failure of Numsa Investment Company (NIC) to account for funds it allegedly improperly spent on certain individuals. \n\n\n\nThe NIC had not provided financial reports for several years despite being required by Numsa's constitution to account for the Manufacturing Workers National Investment Trust, which is owned by the NIC. \n\n\n\n\u201cWe are going to court on Friday to ask for our suspension to be lifted. If this fails, we are asking the court to rule that the Numsa national conference, which is scheduled to start on Monday, cannot go ahead," said Kwanda Khanyile, the suspended chairman of Numsa Meyerton Local. \n\n\n\n\u201cWe will argue that the Numsa Central Committee, and other regional structures and leaders, acted beyond their powers. The constitution gives them no power to suspend us.\u201d \n\n\n\nHe said Numsa's decision to ban the entire Mpumalanga region from attending the national conference was unconstitutional. The central committee also violated the unions' constitution by failing to appoint a Credentials Committee to accredit delegates. But Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim rejected the allegations. \n\n\n\n"The suspensions took place within the constitutional structures of the union," he said in a statement. \n\n\n\nBut the 30 members, from five of the nine Numsa regions, believe that the suspensions are an attempt by Jim to prevent them from participating in the elective conference, which was due to start on Monday in Cape Town. They are asking the Labor Court to annul Numsa's decision to suspend them. \n\n\n\nThey accused Jim and his faction, known as "Amajita", of cleaning them up. But Numsa rejected what she called "an attempt to isolate Jim and paint him as a dictator". He said the decision to suspend the members was taken by the leadership, made up of the leaders of all the nine Numsa regions. \n\n\n\n\u201cWe reject attempts to reduce the democratic decision-making process in the union to a group. The same arguments that are being promoted in the media were made in the Special Central Committee and the special NEC and were defeated\u2026\u201d said Jim. \n\n\n\n\u201cThese rogue parties are trying to subvert a democratic process by appealing to the media. The media is not a union structure. They are trying to impose their will on the organization, using the media.\u201d \n\n\n\nNumsa could not confirm the exact number of suspended members. \n\n\n\n\u201cBut even if we accept that there are indeed 30, Numsa represents more than 350 000 workers across the country. The fact that a small number of around 30 people are being suspended, and described as a purge, is really insignificant when you compare it to the number of workers we represent," he said. \n\n\n\nJim said Ntlokose was suspended pending disciplinary action against her. He said she undermined the unity of Numsa and defined herself outside the collective national leadership.\n \n \r\nWill infighting in Numsa lead to another schism? Source link Will infighting in Numsa lead to another schism?