Metalworkers’ union Numsa has come out as the first alliance structure to say they should consider calling for the resignation of President Jacob Zuma over the Nkandla saga to preserve the late Nelson Mandela’s legacy.
Opening the four-day conference in Boksburg today, Numsa acting president Andrew Chirwa said: “Must we not ask that he (Zuma) must resign to preserve the legacy of Nelson Mandela” who taught us that the needs of the people must be prioritised over the personal needs of leaders.
Chirwa was referring to the more than R200 million in state money spent on security upgrades to Zuma’s personal homestead at Nkandla.
Leaks of a report by the Public Protector have suggested that Zuma and his family benefited personally from some of the upgrades.
“This Nkandla saga is an indictment on poor people swimming in poverty, who are told that the state does not have enough resources to deliver,” he said.
He was cheered as he made the call for Numsa to consider calling on Zuma to resign.
Chirwa lashed out at the SACP, which has called for government to convene a tribunal to investigate who had booed Zuma at Mandela’s national memorial service last week, instead of looking at the causes of the booing.
Chirwa also appeared to set the stage for a Numsa breakaway from Cosatu when he suggested that Cosatu is being used by “right-wing capitalists” to advance a neoliberal agenda.
He said Numsa would continue to lead the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle.
Numsa has called this conference mainly to decide about a possible breakaway, and commissions will be discussing the matter in the next three days.
It will also elect a new president following the resignation of Cedric Gina, apparently over Numsa’s anti-Cosatu stance.