Letter from South Africa: The Capture of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa by a US Capitalist

Introduction: Oaklandsocialist received the following letter, which is being circulated by concerned members, shop stewards and staff of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA). At the time of the Marikana Massacre, NUMSA was the main union to speak out against that. NUMSA then moved to establish an independent working class party. Partly due to the poverty in SA, there exists something of a tendency for unions to survive at least in part through outside funding. In the case of NUMSA, a tech millionaire, Neville Roy Singham, has played a particularly insidious role. Singham insinuated himself into NUMSA by offering to “professionalize” NUMSA’s online presence. A contact of Oaklandsocialist explained a year ago: “Roy works insidiously, apparently someone appeared in NUMSA to “help” on some work, suggested an alternative and suddenly a slice of the work within the union was undertaken “professionally” by them. The previous officials were not kicked out but just sidelined and new appointments made without any union process.

“Apparently he’d achieved a close financial relationship with the leader of NUMSA, Irvin Jim, and funded the preparation and launch of the union-based Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party with stalinist and public relations methods. People were flown into conferences of “experts” and press statements rolled out, getting the union rubber stamp only later. The latter contested the last election and failed miserably.

Neville Roy Singham. This former tech millionaire appears to have taken over NUMSA

Now that Roy has sold his company, Thoughtworks, he’s bought up a South Africa resort and is funding conferences and international political activities from there. He is active in South America through the MST and a magazine, I think, New Dawn. He also funds the Naxalite CP in India and the Socialist Party of Zambia. He appears to be actively starting a number of left groups in French and English speaking West Africa. I hear he is very hostile to criticism of the Chinese bureaucracy as he still has some financial connections there”

Singham is also implicated in a reported coverup of a sexual assault back in 2017. We also urge readers to see more about Singham’s global reach as reported in Newsline Magazine.

Update (July 7): I have since discovered that, contrary to my original impression, this letter is five years old. While the role of Singham is very negative within the working class and within the socialist movement, there seems to be further reasons why this letter is being circulated at this time. When I find out more, it will be reported here.

Oaklandsocialist encourages any workers/union members in South Africa to comment and/or contact us directly. 

NUMSA workers in action. This union and its members were once in the leadership of the world working class.

Numsa has been captured and must be saved and only the members of Numsa can save it. What are we talking about?
People who have a lot of money are using it to decide what happens inside a workers organisation. Who are these people who have taken over?

  They give some organisers cars and then mess up who must pay what and then the car is more expensive then if you bought the car yourself. They take a loan from Numsa for many millions but they dont want to pay it back.
If you are not wanting to sell their products then they speak to your chairperson over drinks to discuss how to get you fired.
Numsa is the only union where the Seta money for training goes to the union investment company. They want to decide for shopsteward councils what issues they must present to management. They are telling us to go and form black managers forums and sell their energy drinks in our canteens.
What must we do with a black managers forum as workers because managers – black or white – treat workers the same.
They throw braais and buy alcohol for some comrades of the CC to plan how to intervene in a democratic process at the Numsa national congress. They pay for birthday parties of some regional secretaries who speak on their behalf. Numsa is the only union where the investment company presents at a national congress which is suppose to be a workers parliament. They convene regional shopstewards councils about their business products.
Numsa is not different from any Cosatu union and in some cases it is worse than those unions in terms of business unionism. It is hard to see the difference between what is Numsa and what is the investment company. The NIC wants to take over the work of many departments in the union.
OUR VERY OWN GUPTAi The Thoughworks CEO – Mr Roy Singh[ham] – a very rich American who runs all over the world attending meetings to check out who he can get close to so that he can control their organisation to feel important. He employs a lot of inexperienced people with no politics that he can control. He sets up schools and trusts and then says they set up by Numsa.
He expects Numsa to attend all the things he decides because he gives Numsa money. He corrupts by flashing his dollars and dictating what must happen and who must do it. He spends a lot of time gossiping about everyone and deciding who in South Africa is an comrade and who is not a comrade.
He set up the Pan Africa today so that he can decide what happens in Zambia and South Africa politically. He is very dangerous and is largely unknown but yet Numsa is allowing him to dictate. There are many who think he may even have links with the CIA. He buys a farm in Limpopo and sets up the Nkrumah School and then says it is Numsa who has set it up. Numsa comrades are then expected to attend these political schools that focus on African nationalist with the weak Zambians who are happy to inform everyone that they business people. In these schools are also American who represent their own jackets who just talk English and know nothing.
Then he is calling conferences which are as weak as the schools and Numsa comrades go into these meetings not knowing anything but are told that they are co-hosting the conference. Also they don’t know what they doing as ask the comrades who went to the conference in Tunisa – they didn’t even have connecting flights.
An important strategy is for Mr Roy to employ people that he thinks is trusted by the Numsa GS – Irvin Jim – so that he can then say Numsa is planning all the things that he has already decided. His tactics are the same as the Guptas who have taken over the President of the country and try to influence everything happening in the state.
A key person as a link for Mr Gupta is a lecturer he employed from Rhodes university but who he is paying a corporate salary – Dr Vashna Jaggernath – Ms Gupta Junior. She and her husband are on leave from Rhodes university but they did not tell the university about the big fat salary she is getting to be in charge of the money that was put into the school and the pan Africa today organisation. She was suppose to do work at the school but then she decided that it is better for her to do work for Numsa so she is not based at the school so that she can do slides for Irvin Jim and write the Central Committee secretariat report that no one is understanding.
They have employed a number of comrades to work at the school so that they can tell everyone this is a Numsa school – like Cecilia from JC Bez who is no longer a shopsteward, Moeketsi from KZN who is the singer, Nkosinathi who was the Sumotomo Plant educator from PE, students from Rhodes university that Ms Gupta Junior and her husband are supervising. And before all of them Vusi from Cape Town was employed and then fired for sexual harassment but then rehired and sent to Zambia so that no one would know that he was rehired.
Ms Gupta Junior has never been in any organisation. When she was a student at the university of natal she did not even know what Cosatu was. She has always been interested in all things Indian and food. If you want to verify go check her blogs which are about Bollywood – Indian films – food, Mahatma Ghandi – a racist, India and everything that is Indian. She is speaking and writing in very big English which is impressing Irvin Jim. Mr Roy – the Gupta is knowing that she is not very political but he needs someone that Irvin Jim is impressed with so that he can control the office of the Numsa GS and then he thinks he is controlling Numsa.
Also check Ms Guptas facebook page where she is putting pictures of food she cooked, pictures of her sitting next to Irvin Jim, pictures of her leaning on Irvin Jim and such pictures. She is like a housewife with big English but no politics or activism. But do not underestimate her – she is very dangerous. She spies on activist and informs Mr Roy the Gupta and Irvin Jim about who has spoken and written bad thing about Irvin Jim so that those people are listed as enemies of Numsa. She is also good at lying about things and if she feels that you may take over from her she will make sure you are fired or your contract is not renewed.
Mr Roy the Gupta had a big wedding in Jamaica and he paid for people to come to this wedding – he got married to the pink lady who is also very rich. Irvin Jim was flown to Jamaica to this wedding. He has previously flown Irvin Jim to America but also paid for the girlfriend – Brigitte – to also come to America. Irvin Jim is getting laptops and phones from them and is feeling very important flying all over Latin America to meet people who are taking socialism nowhere.
Ms Gupta wanted to be employed as strategic support in office of the Numsa GS and going around telling everyone how she is busy at Numsa and how she is building radical politics. You only do this when you feel important through associating with a person or an organisation and when you are very good at marketing yourself.
The link with the take over of Numsa by big money and capital is the office of the GS – Irvin Jim. He is our very own Zuma. Irvin Jim must always be surrounded by consultants, academics and everyone except those in the union.
How does he operate? He never goes anywhere with his NOB’s [National Office Bearers– he takes all these young girls with no politics, no organisational experience that he likes to employ. He has no understanding of worker control and operates like he is the CEO of Numsa. He does not take workers serious and bypasses all the worker leaders except when he needs them in his factional battles.
He has a new PA [Personal Assistant] from NICii that was suppose to be on the NIC payroll but will now be on our payroll. She comes to work when she feels like it. Dresses and acts like the other women of NIC. How much will we be paying her. But she is not able to cope so Irvin Jim uses Ms Gupta Junior as PA no 2. Then there is the new acting spokesperson who does not want a Numsa salary so she was also suppose to be on the NIC payroll at a very high salary but who also serves as PA no 3.
Irvin Jim is desperate to remove all the HODs at the Numsa HO. He wanted to move the head of education in Saftu for fighting with NIC over the seta funds. He does not know what any department does so he runs around like a local organiser and HOD of all departments.
He runs meetings with the NIC CEO to determine who is loyal to him and who is working with the ‘enemy’. His head is full of conspiracy theories which he twists into facts for himself. He met all new Regional secretaries before their elections to determine their loyalty to him.
Irvin Jim’s office was the one suppose to deal with the united front but he and his advisors collapsed the united front they set up. He keeps saying the united front was highjacked – by who is the question because all the people in the united front was invited to the first meeting by the numsa GS.
Before the united front Jim was in charge of the Ideological task team which did no work and collapsed because of his lazy advisors that we pay.
Then Jim was suppose to fundraise for Nurpi which didn’t happen and the numsa Research unit has now collapsed.
And now Jim is in charge of setting up a party for the whole country – what do you think is going to happen THE CONSULTANTS AND THE PARTY The consultants are who? Azwell Banda – a lazy Zambian who like Gupta makes himself relevant by coming up with lots of conspiracy theories but does no work. Can we have the list of work Banda produced for any one month and from where does he work.
Banda was suppose to run with the Red 100 and the work from the socialist conference and we all know that went nowhere like all other work he is given. Banda has never paid any tax for all the years that he received a consultancy fee from Numsa and the union is not complying with Sars about this. Then lets not forget about the new advisor of the new Minister of Finance – Chris Malikane who did zero work for numsa but got a monthly consultancy fee. Numsa is saving the ANC cant be saved so the working class needs its own organ but Chris Malikane from the office of the Numsa GS is trying to save corrupted Malusi Gigaba and keeps arguing for the survival of black capitalist.
The people for the Party are all from Numsa (and Ms Gupta and her student has been included) and they are all the people who Jim appointed.

i NUMSA Investment Company (for profit union investment used to link workers funds to Singham’s companies, disbursing funds to anti-worker nationalist parties and pay holidays and presents to Jim Irvin himself).

Singham with his wife, Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans

Oaklandsocialist adds: Singham is married to Jodie Evans, the co-founder of Code Pink, which is probably the foremost “peace and justice” group in the US and is closely aligned with many socialist groups in the US. It is thought that Singham is the main source of funds for Code Pink, which would help explain Code Pink’s pro-Iranian government position,  among other things.

Update: We have just been made aware of the NUMSA leadership’s response to this letter. Here is the link. Note that it concentrates on attacking Ramaphosa, who is a fairly easy target. But it doesn’t refute any of the allegations of the letter itself.

i   The Gupta family worked with Jacob Zuma and the “Radical Economic Transformation” ANC faction to capture the SA state for a period by appointing Ministers, taking over departmental budgets, writing fake invoices, bringing in corporate consultancies to “advise” or run departments and state owned enterprises, looting and plundering public funds…they are now wanted by INTERPOL

ii NUMSA Investment Company (for profit union investment used to link workers funds to Singham’s companies, disbursing funds to anti-worker nationalist parties and pay holidays and presents to Jim Irvin himself).

Neville Roy Singham. This former tech millionaire appears to have taken over NUMSA

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