20 May 2019

South Africa: End of the Road for the Socialist Revolutionary Workers' Party? and What Future for Numsa?

analysis

Despite the massive membership of its parent union, Numsa, the Socialist Revolutionary Workers' Party polled an embarrassingly low number of votes in the election. Is this because of rifts between Zwelinzima Vavi and Irvin Jim, or is it a true picture of the unions' popularity among their members and the SA public?

As the dust slowly starts to clear on the results of last week's elections, it is abundantly clear that for now, at least, the dream of a political party that is focused only on the needs of workers appears to be dead. The Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP), the party that was created by Numsa, received only 24,439 votes nationally, an embarrassingly small number, despite having resources and a massive union organisation behind it.

There are credible questions here about why this happened, and about whether any kind of political resurrection can take place in the future. The much more fundamental issue is whether workers, in the sense of people who take orders and do the work, will be able to achieve significant political power in the near future.

The scale of the humiliation the SRWP suffered at the hands of the voters cannot be overstated. The union...

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