The National  Union of metalworkers of South Africa(NUMSA) is in the process of gathering the views of its members in preparation for the union's extraordinary national congress to be held in December.The forthcoming congress of Numsa that will be held in Ekhurhuleni will give the union a mandate on how to deal with the ruptures inside the trade union federation Cosatu and will give the leadership directions on  the way forward.The Numsa congress will be held ahead of the Cosatu extraordinary congress to be held at a later date.Earlier the president of Cosatu,S'dumo Dlamini reluctantly wrote to the affiliates confirming that the congress will be held.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) will hold a special national congress to deal with divisions that have ravaged South Africa's largest labour federation for the last period. The announcement came on August 19th after the three day meeting of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting that was held in Johannesburg. This was after nine affiliated unions wrote to the CEC, requesting such a congress. This represents a step in the right direction for the federation. COSATU's constitution states that for a special congress to be held, at least one third of affiliates (seven) must make such a request. The president of the federation then has 14 days to deal with the logistics of holding the congress, including setting a date.

On Wednesday 14 August South Africa's biggest labour federation, Cosatu is scheduled to hold a special meeting of its Central Executive Committee to discuss the future of its General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. This is only the latest instalment of a series of divisive events that have engulfed Cosatu. At bottom, this reflects a struggle between the right wing and the left wing of the movement.

On Monday, September 3, most of the miners arrested during the Marikana massacre were released after an outcry of protest forced the state prosecutor to withdraw charges of murder against them. The strike at Lonmin continues as well as strikes and protests at other mines. The incident has clearly revealed the real content of the struggle between left and right in the run up to the ANC Manguang Conference.

Eighteen years since the end of Apartheid – and the dawn of ‘freedom and democracy’ -  the  brutal killings of 34 miners by the police in the Lonmin owned platinum mines at Marikana last Thursday has exposed the stark reality of the suffering and agony of the South African proletariat. This shooting is reminiscent of the harrowing Sharpeville massacre of sixty black protesters in 1960 by the then racist Apartheid regime.

On June 2nd the ANC won, as was expected, a landslide victory in South Africa's second democratic election. This article looks at the policies of the first term of the ANC government, the debates within the South African Communist Party, and the perspectives for the next five years.

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