JUST TAKE IT: Numsa has called for the nationalisation of Sasol and ArcelorMittal to ‘redistribute wealth’. Picture: Thapelo Morebudi
The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has reiterated its calls for nationalisation of the country’s resources.
Debating the socio-economic report during the Cosatu national congress ending in Midrand yesterday, Numsa called for petrochemicals company Sasol and steel giant ArcelorMittal to be nationalised in order to “take control of our economy”.
Calling for labour brokers to be banned the union, seen to be sympathetic to Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, said tax must be imposed on all exported minerals. About 80% of chrome produced in South Africa was exported to China, said the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which called for more tax to be imposed on the metal.
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said: “When we call for nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy, we say we must take ownership and control to redistribute wealth and champion industrialisation. We must impose export tax on minerals.”
The exportation of scrap metal must be banned, he said, adding: “We support the ANC Youth League on the expropriation of land without compensation.”
Regarding yesterday’s Constitutional Court decision to lift the suspension on the implementation of e-tolling on Gauteng’s highways, Jim said: “We must take the federation back to its rolling mass action to fight e-tolling and labour brokers.”
Cosatu organised a nationwide strike against e-tolling and labour brokers in March. The SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), which also supports nationalisation, called for government to exercise land grabs as the willing-buyer willing-seller concept had failed.
“We need to just take the land.
“But we must be able to use the land efficiently. The Reserve Bank should be nationalised,” said a Satawu delegate.
Satawu also called for mass industrialisation, with the African continent as a market.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the number of black farmers was on the rise. But production was a challenge due to limited resources, Mantashe said.
He said: “Subsistence agriculture is on the decline. Even the limited land we have in rural areas is lying fallow.”
Mantashe called on the Food and Allied Workers Union to be “visible” in struggle for food production and its security.
In the socio-economic report, Cosatu said they were “escalating” their resolutions on land ownership to “call for state ownership of all land in this country.
This will empower the democratic state to break the power of white capital, strengthen the capacity of the state to regulate land use and to abolish speculation”.
Once the state owned the land, it could decide on a lease basis regarding who should use it and for what purposes, the labour federation said.
“Land should be the heritage of all South Africans, owned by the democratic state and shared in use, not in ownership, among those who work it.”
Cosatu said this was the best way in which the state could secure food security and reduce land under-utilisation.
“Thus the question of defining property rights to land ownership falls away.
“What remains is the administration of land use and allocation, including the determination of rent that should be paid to the state for land use.”
Meanwhile, it had been said that the decision to re-elect Cosatu’s leadership into office was an effort to unify the organisation ahead of the ANC elective congress in Mangaung in December, where President Jacob Zuma would seek a second-term.
The ANC had put a lid on the leadership debate until next month.
But the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) at the last day of the Cosatu national congress suggested that the delegates “reflect on Mangaung”.
Jim said: “We second Sadtu that we must take a decision on this (Mangaung) matter here.”
The NUM said: “Let Numsa be clear on whether we must open the debate on Mangaung.”
The idea, however, was shot down by Cosatu first deputy president Tyotyo James, who was chairing the debate on the socio-economic report.
He said Numsa had “evaluated” the Polokwane leadership. Zuma was elected president of the ANC during its 2007 national congress in Polokwane.
Jim is seen to be supporting Vavi, known to be against Zuma’s bid for a second term. Vavi had been critical of Zuma’s government and the ANC.
Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini, viewed to be too close to Zuma, spoke in favour of the “second phase of the transition”, which is Zuma’s campaign ticket to serve a second term.
“We must make it (transition) to be our own Lula moment. The Lula moment must mean there’s education, skills development and training (and) healthcare, he said.
The delegates burst into pro-Zuma songs after lunch.
Those supporting the president showed it by raising two fingers, a peace sign, while those against Zuma’s bid for a second term, made a rolling hand motion football fans normally do when calling for a player to be substituted.