“When workers demonstrate they should be allowed to sing revolutionary songs which they identify with, because racism has not yet been defeated in the workplace”, says NUMSA’s Irvin Jim.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has welcomed a constitutional court ruling, reinstating workers at Duncanmec.
The manufacturing firm fired nine employees in 2013 for singing a controversial struggle song during a strike.
The song is titled “uMama uyajabula mangishaya ibhunu”, which translates to “my mother rejoices when I beat the Boer”.
“We welcome the decision of the Constitutional Court. They confirmed that the struggle song was not racist and that it was not hate speech. It upheld the decision of the Arbitrator at the Bargaining Council for our members to be immediately re-instated, and for them to receive their back pay from when they were unfairly dismissed in April 2013”, said NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim.
The matter had been taken to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, the Labour Court – all rulings were upheld by the apex court.
The company had argued that the song was racist and a form of hate speech. NUMSA further rejected claims that struggle songs are racist.
“The workplace in South Africa is extremely racist and untransformed. The working class continues to sing these songs today because it is not free and they are still fighting for justice and equality in the workplace which was promised to them, during the battle against the racist Apartheid system”, said Jim.
He further said: It would have been bad if the Constitutional Court had found in favour of Duncanmec. It would be like the slave masters determining how the slaves should protest.
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