THE National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa has condemned the Zambian immigration authorities for their harassment and ill treatment of NUMSA members.
Meanwhile, NUMSA says only a united working class can remove “a corrupt tyrant like Zambian President Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front he leads”.
Meanwhile, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) says the launch of the Socialist Party is a landmark moment in Zambia’s history.
In a statement yesterday, NUMSA general secretary Irvin Jim stated that:
“The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) condemns the Zambian immigration authorities for their harassment and ill treatment of NUMSA members. Last Saturday, two NUMSA members who were flying to Zambia to attend the launch of the Socialist Party in Zambia were harassed by immigration officials at the airport who stopped them, and then sent them back to South Africa. Their paper work was in order and they were not carrying anything illegal. They were simply flying in on a one day trip to support their comrades who were launching the Socialist Party in Zambia last weekend. The Zambian officials prevented them from proceeding to their destination. Furthermore, they detained them for several hours, unjustifiably confiscating their phones and passports, and then sent them back home. Our members were treated like common criminals and yet they had done nothing wrong! A heavily pregnant woman was amongst those detained and she was denied water and food for several hours by the immigration authorities. This is unacceptable! We will be lodging a complaint with Zambian and South African authorities on this matter.”
And Jim congratulated the Socialist Party of Zambia on a successful launch, which was held over Easter weekend.
“This is indeed a landmark moment in the history of that country. The Socialist Party carries the hopes and dreams of the Zambian working class and their families. When workers and their families are united with a common goal, they are an unstoppable force of nature which has the power to transform society in their own interests. NUMSA 1st Deputy President Comrade Basil Cele attended the event and welcomed the official launch of the party on behalf of Metalworkers in South Africa,” he stated.
“Dr Cosmos Musumali is the General Secretary of the party and Dr Fred M’membe is Deputy General Secretary and Presidential candidate. The Socialist Party will champion the interests of workers and their families and support working class struggles in that country and also across the globe. Also present at the launch was Cuban diplomat Nelson Pages Vilas who gave a congratulatory message of support. Cuba has always been loyal to the struggles of the working class all over the globe, and in particular on the African continent. It has always been dedicated to the struggle for emancipation of the working class in Zambia.”
Jim stated that unfortunately, President Lungu was “a tyrant who viewed the presence of the diplomat at the event as a threat”.
“He has responded by expelling Comrade (Nelson Pages) Vilas from the country. Lungu is punishing the diplomat for attending the launch. The Zambian President is threatened by the existence of a militant, truly worker controlled party because he knows it is the only vehicle with the power to remove him from power. Only a united working class can remove a corrupt tyrant like Lungu, and the Patriotic Front (PF), which he leads. His irrational response proves that he knows his days in office are numbered and that is why he responded in such an outrageous manner,”
“We believe this was the reason why immigration officials harassed our members. They wanted to frustrate them and prevent them from participating and supporting an organisation which has the power to destroy Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF). NUMSA condemns Lungu and the Zambian government for this cowardly, spineless act! NUMSA will continue to support the Socialist Party and its goals in Zambia. Furthermore, we will continue to do all we can to mobilise our forces locally and abroad against the authoritarian regime of Lungu, the PF and all their corrupt cronies.”
Jim stated that NUMSA would not rest until President Lungu was removed from power.