The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa's (Numsa's) formation of a new workers' party is still on course, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim says.
Since its expulsion from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in 2014, Numsa has been agitating for a new party. The union is disgruntled with the African National Congress, the South African Communist Party and Cosatu, often lumping them together when it criticises government's so-called neo-liberal policies.
"The current Cosatu leadership today unconvincingly complain about the new retirement amendment laws and about being sidelined, but they have ignored the evidence which made Numsa abandon the ANC and its alliance," Jim said.
Speaking at a media conference in Johannesburg, Jim said Numsa would align itself with "a crystallised" political organisation. He said the union's objective is to build "a mass based, democratically controlled, Marxist-Leninist workers' party which will destroy the whole capitalist system and replace it with a socialist society in which the country's wealth is owned, controlled and managed democratically by the majority of the people".
However, with local government elections months away, Jim could still not say when the workers' party would be formed. "At an appropriate time, we will make an announcement. At an appropriate time, you will know what we have been working on," he said.
Meanwhile, Numsa has added its voice in support of the struggle of students across the country for a free education. Jim said students have become the most visible activists in the class struggle. "Students need the support of sober South Africans. They are the detachment that must break new ground to realise the Freedom Charter," he said.
He commended students at various tertiary institutions for their solidarity with workers in the fight against outsourcing.