For The People

NUMSA’s new political party likely to contest 2019 elections

The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) has registered the country’s youngest political party with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party (SRWP) was registered after it won an appeal against the IEC’s decision earlier to reject its application.  The IEC initially rejected SRWP’s first attempt to register as a political party. At the time the commission said “The application was rejected by the chief electoral officer in terms of the Electoral Commission Act. It was rejected on the basis of the party’s name bearing a close resemblance [to] existing registered parties. The party logo resembles that of at least two other parties.  According to the commission, the name Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party (SRWP) could confuse voters because it was too similar to other parties, such as the Workers’ and Socialist Party (WASP), and the logo was too similar to that of the South African Communist Party.

Since its expulsion from COSATU the metal workers’ union has been on a new trajectory of opposing the African National Congress (ANC) and its Alliance partners. In 2016 the union entered electoral politics through the United Front of Eastern Cape, which won 1 seat in the Nelson Mandela Metro council.

“The SRWP is a revolutionary party which will drive a Socialist programme for the formation of a Socialist South Africa. Our formation is a result of the historic decision taken by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) Special National Congress in 2013 to establish the formation of a Workers Party to champion an agenda for the working class, a social grouping of people who are employed for wages, especially in manual or industrial work. We are a Marxist-Leninist political party fighting to overthrow the brutal Capitalist system” NUMSA’s spokesperson and member of the SRWP’s interim committee, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, said.

In an interview with the media NUMSA’s General Secretary, Irvin Jim said “you must know that launching a Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party is a declaration of war and that’s not an easy thing. But we have got democracy in South Africa. We also know that democracy is not a bag of oranges. So, we have no choice, but to start from the beginning. Launching a party is not just an idea. The party must be launched in the theatre of struggle. We are waging a struggle, we are setting up structures and we are taking up campaigns. Remember NUMSA is a union and we are very firm that it will remain a union; it will not be turned into a political party. It is a catalyst in realizing an alternative. But it is not the alternative itself.”

The new political party’s interim chair, Zanoxolo Wayile, told the media last week that  the SRWP will hold its inaugural congress in December, when they will decide on  whether to contest the 2019 election and at which level (provincial or national) and “the policy platform on which the party would be contesting the election.”

In a statement released after the registration of the new party NUMSA said the economic policies of the ANC government is the cause of the majority of people still living in extreme poverty and inequality. The SRWP will have to compete for votes of  the same constituency as that of most of the left leaning political parties such as the  ANC, EFF, AIC, etc. The entry of a new political party is good for democracy and surely more political parties will register   to attempt to get a seat at one of the legislatures.

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