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article imageSouth Africa trade union calls on President Jacob Zuma to resign

By Layne Weiss     Dec 20, 2013 in World
Johannesburg - South Africa's largest trade union is calling on President Jacob Zuma to resign and says it will not support the African National Congress (ANC) in next year's election.
NUMSA, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, has been a long time supporter of the ANC. Its decision to withdraw that support and call for President Zuma's resignation stems from corruption scandals that have been rocking Mr. Zuma and his administration, the FT reports. Many are predicted that SA's 2014 elections will be the most aggressive since the end of apartheid in 1994.
NUMSA secretary general Irvin said the union has called for Mr. Zuma's resignation because his administration is "steeped in corruption, patronage and nepotism," The AP reports.
Jim said the ANC has not kept its promises to work closely with unions.
"It has just passed anti-working class law and policies," he said. Jim added that the union would not support the ANC in next year's elections.
"NUMSA as an organization will neither endorse nor support the ANC or any other political party in 2014," he said.
He called the union's alliance with the ANC "dysfunctional."
"The alliance operates only during election periods. It is used to rubber stamp neo-liberal policies of the ANC ... It is our experience that the working class is being used by the leader of the alliance as voting fodder," Jim said.
According to the NY Times, NUMSA announced after a special congress Friday that it plans to start its own socialist party aimed at protecting and strengthening the rights of the working class.
“It is clear that the working class cannot any longer see the A.N.C. or the S.A.C.P (South African Communist Party). as its class allies in any meaningful sense," Irvin Jim said.
NUMSA's announcement comes at the end of a 10-day mourning period for Nelson Mandela who led the ANC to victory in SA's first fully fair and democratic election in 1994. Many consider Mandela to be the "moral compass" of the party. His successors, most notably President Jacob Zuma, have faced allegations of corruption.
Several SA government agencies are investigating $20 million in renovations to Mr. Zuma's home including a swimming pool and amphitheater at government expense. These home "improvements" went under the guise of "security upgrades."
With 338,000 members, NUMSA is the biggest affiliate of COSATU, the Congress of South African Trade Unions. It is not clear how many votes the ANC will lose now that NUMSA has withdrawn support since members are still free to vote for whomever they choose, notes The AP.
The move could definitely have major ramifications and destroy the dominance of the ANC.
More about president jacob zuma, South Africa, African national congress, Trade union, Resign
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