Numsa boss calls for unity

Ntwaagae Seleka

The outgoing president of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, Mtutuzeli Tom, has called for unity in the ANC and its alliance.

Tom was speaking during Numsa's eighth national congress at the Emerald Casino inVanderbijlpark, where the union's new leadership will be elected.

Tom earlier announced that he was not available to contest for the union's presidency, ending 17 years at the helm of the union.

He said he had attempted to step down from his post in 2000 and 2004 but the union refused.

"I leave the organisation in the safe hands of the national office bearers. I am about to enter into a new life and face a new future."

He urged Numsa members not to get involved or take part in factions that had surfaced in the ANC. "Don't be part of a groupie that divides the ANC. Let us not categorise the movement into former president Thabo Mbeki and president Jacob Zuma camps. We must not use their names to pursue our own interests," said Tom.

He said there was a looming split in the ANC. "What will the alliance be like when the ANC is divided? Who is going to benefit when the movement is divided?"

He said in every organisation there were differences - members and people will not agree on everything. Workers should make sure that the party won next year's general elections.