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7 April 2016

Presenter:  Dinga Sikweba, Education Officer and Coordinator United Front

In December 2013, the country’s biggest trade union -National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) - resolved not to back the African National Congress (ANC) in the 2014 national and provincial elections. At the same special national congress that decided not to support the ANC, the union also called for the withdrawal of the Congress of the South African Trade Union (Cosatu) from the Tripartite Alliance that the trade union federation constituted with the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP).

Numsa’s motivation for these decisions was that with the adoption of policies such as the National Development Plan (NDP) by the ANC and government, the prospects of radical transformation were becoming more remote and dim. Two years after Numsa took its decisions it is now time to assess how far the union has gone in charting an independent path of building a United Front that brings together into a coalition of trade unions and other social movements.  

Brief Biography:

Dinga Sikwebu is employed as a fulltime official by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa). He began to work for the union in January 1995. Presently, Numsa has seconded Dinga to work fulltime as a coordinator of the United Front; a coalition that brings together unions and community/social movements.

Before the secondment, Dinga was responsible for coordination of shopsteward training; political education; production of internal education material; leadership and staff development within the union. Although he joined Numsa in 1995, Dinga’s association with the union movement goes back to the early 1980s when he worked for a British multinational corporation – Metal Box - that operated in South Africa. Over the years, Dinga has written and published numerous articles; analysing the labour movement in South Africa and abroad.