The Zambia Congress of Trade Union has said it has taken great exception to the statement purpoted to have been released by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) in which it called for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Fred M’membe’s wife, Mutinta and all those detained.
In a statement released to the media and signed by ZCTU Secretary General, Cosmas, Mukuka, Zambia’s labour movement said that it has a rich and respectable history with their counterparts in South Africa and the region and that it was unacceptable for a national union as NUMSA to issue threats that are international in nature and touching on the sovereignty of another country without engaging stakeholders on the ground.
ZCTU further said that the mother body found the position taken by NUMSA as one in very bad taste and unacceptable in terms of how Trade Unions within and beyond the borders ought to co-exist especially on matters national sovereignty and the due process of law.
Below is the full statement
NUMSA’S THREATS TO CAMPAIGN FOR ENDING OF TRADE BETWEEN ZAMBIA AND SOUTH AFRICA TOTALLY MISPLACED
February 19, 2017
We take great exception to the statement purpoted to have been released by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) in which it called for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Fred M’membe’s wife, Mutinta and all those detained. Zambia’s labour movement has a rich and respectable history with their counterparts in South Africa and the region. It is unacceptable for a national union as NUMSA to issue threats that are international in nature and touching on the sovereignty of another country without engaging stakeholders on the ground. This statement is therefore a total departure from how unionism across borders must work.
We are persuaded to issue this statement because firstly the Zambia Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) was never consulted on this matter as the case ought to be. As a matter of fact, we know not of any other Union in Zambia that was consulted by NUMSA in this regard. We find this position taken by NUMSA as one in very bad taste and unacceptable in terms of how Trade Unions within and beyond the borders ought to co-exist especially on matters national sovereignty and the due process of law.
Had NUMSA consulted, they should have known that Trade Unions in Zambia and indeed from other countries in the region have never meddled in South Africa’s internal challenges because we have great regard for sovereignty. Trade unions in Zambia have the capacity to deal with issues existing internally and should there be need for solidarity, that call would be made expressly from our side and not externally as NUMSA has done. While trade unions should remain interested in matters of democracy and good governance, as Zambia has demonstrated from pre-Independence, we find it unacceptable to be the ones to demonise what is existing in another country minus consulting colleagues and comrades on the ground. ZCTU would have no justification whatsoever to condemn the South African regime without consulting its counterparts in that country. Consultation must never come as an after-thought in this regard!
NUMSA also ought to know that this matter is before the competent courts of jurisdiction in Zambia as it touches on tax avoidance and non-remittance of statutory taxes to the taxman, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) by the former Post Newspaper Limited. As such this matter is between ZRA and the Post Newspaper as far as we know unless NUMSA has information to the contrary. We therefore ask NUMSA, if indeed they did issue that statement, to respect Zambia’s due process of the law as well as our sovereignty as a Country.
We wish to remind NUMSA that our core business as Trade Unions is to defend and protect the interests of the working class. In this regard, we call on them to take interest in the welfare of the workers who have been affected due to the processes before the courts and whose interests the liquidation seeks to serve.
Lastly the Zambian Government will be committing an illegality if they are to interfere and stall processes at court and no union should be in the forefront to promote such tendencies. It is also irresponsible for anyone to threaten trade between Zambia and South Africa on account of matters rightfully before the Courts. Under what NUMSA is proposing, it is not just the Zambian worker but the South African worker who will suffer. They can do themselves a favour by understanding how much of trade exists between the two countries and which of them remains the greatest beneficiary.
ZCTU Secretary General
And National Union Of Public And Private Educators Of Zambia (NUPPEZ) has released the following statement in reaction to NUMSA statement
NUMSA’S STATEMENT AN AFFRONT TO ZAMBIAN AND SOUTH AFRICAN WORKERS
Lusaka, February 19, 2017 – The calls by the National Union for Metal workers of South Africa(NUMSA) to campaign for the stop of trade between the south African Government and Zambia over the matter of the post News paper in liquidation is misplaced and affront to the values of democracy and good governance.
The stance taken by NUMSA against the Zambia Government is a danger to the both Zambian and South African workers as their action if acted upon by the South African government will mean living thousands of workers both in the formal and informal sector jobless thereby perpetuating poverty among the working class.
The National Union of Public and Private Educators of Zambia (NUPPEZ) wishes to condemn the position taken by NUMSA, more especially that when the miners on the copperbelt lost jobs and the Zambian government was at pains to convince the mine owners from closing and retrenching the miners on the copperbelt, our comrades from NUMSA were too quite.
NUPPEZ would like to appeal to NUMSA to allow the dual process of the law to take its course and further advise our colleagues and comrades to assist the former workers of the Post Newspaper in liquidation to access their terminal benefits. NUPPEZ will remain committed to international solidarity that further the rights of workers and not protect the neo-capitalists.
NUPPEZ further appeals to NUMSA to consult widely with Zambian Sister Unions in future before taking such a stance on matters from sister governments.
NATIONAL UNION OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE EDUCATORS OF ZAMBIA (NUPPEZ)