NUMSA office-bearer “election” goes ahead despite interdict

Labour Court judge says decision to proceed with congress was “unwise”

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Irvin Jim, General Secretary of NUMSA. Source: GovernmentZA via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) says Irvin Jim has been re-elected general secretary at the union’s congress in Cape Town, in spite of a Labour Court interdict against the congress going ahead.

NUMSA’s application for leave to appeal Judge Graham Moshoana’s ruling in the Johannesburg Labour Court on Saturday was denied by the judge in a ruling delivered on Thursday morning.

As a result, Judge Moshoana’s interdict against the national conference going ahead remains in force. The judge interdicted the congress on Saturday, ruling that decisions by the union’s central committee to suspend a large number of members, including the union’s second deputy president Ruth Ntlokotse, and to place the Mpumalanga region under “administration” were “unconstitutional, invalid and unenforceable in law”. Mpumalanga is home to over 20,000 NUMSA members.

Last night, counsel for Ntlokotse and for NUMSA argued before Judge Moshoana.

NUMSA raised six grounds of appeal. Each one was dismissed.

In his ruling, Judge Moshoana called NUMSA’s decision to proceed with its congress despite its failure to comply with its constitution “disturbing”, and said proceeding with the congress in defiance of the court was an “unguided and unwise move”.

On Wednesday, as the congress continued in spite of the interdict, Western Cape and Gauteng delegates walked out. However, in a press release that night, NUMSA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola announced: “All candidates were nominated unopposed by all regions.”

According to the press release, the officials are: Irvin Jim - General Secretary; Mbuso Ngubane - Deputy General Secretary; Andrew Chirwa - President; Mac Chavalala - First Deputy President; Puleng Phaka - Second Deputy President; Mphumzi Maqungo - National Treasurer.

GroundUp understands that their “election” will be challenged, and contempt orders brought against the union and its leadership on Thursday.

TOPICS:  Labour unions

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