Numsa mired in scandal as woman abused during strike

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.

Published May 22, 2024


A woman badly beaten during a National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) strike in Meyerton has been identified.

South African Rainbow Alliance (SARA) president Colleen Makhubele has lambasted the grievous assault on a woman innocently travelling to work in Meyerton, south of Johannesburg. Makhubele, who was also a speaker at “The Star’s” political dialogue, blasted men and politicians who abuse women, use them for power and beat them up.

This follows a meeting between “The Star” and a visibly injured Zanele Nsibande. Nsibande, 27, alleged she was the victim of Numsa protesters who almost took her life on Wednesday morning.

“The Star” has seen her medical reports.

Nsibande said she was on the way to work to feed her family when the protesters stopped a moving minibus taxi and forced the passengers out.

“I didn’t know we were on strike. The other workers said a strike would be unprotected and I was on my way to work. The next thing I heard loud bangs and men pulled us out of the car. One male person pulled me by the breasts, threw me on the floor and started kicking me. The other men just watched. One screamed in a loud voice ‘mbethe’ (meaning, “beat her”) One of them was reaching for my private parts,” a distraught Nsibande said.

Numsa regional secretary Kabelo Ramokhathali was identified at the scene of the strike but took no steps to curtail the violent conduct.

“The Star” has learnt that Nsibande was one of the first beneficiaries of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s YES (Youth Employment Scheme) programme.

Nsibande sustained injuries to her neck, shoulders and face.

The incident occurred, strangely, only a day after Numsa released a statement condemning gender-based violence.

The strike took place after a series of events which resulted in industrial action in April 2024 following the new management of SA Steel Mills not agreeing to the personal demands of a number of Numsa shop stewards. The present strike relates to the dismissal of Numsa members who were axed in April.

SA Steel Mills was recently acquired by new management, which is in the process of restructuring SA Steel Mills to guide it out of its recent financial difficulties.

Nsibande said she was bashed because she was defenceless woman. “I don’t know why there is a strike and why some people were fired in April. But why was I beaten up? Must I join in and burn things? What did I do wrong?” Nsibande said.

Meanwhile, seemingly in a bid to dictate who voters should vote for, during the media briefing on Tuesday this week, Numsa called upon their members to vote for specific political parties at the expense of others.

The union identified Build One South Africa (Bosa), ActionSA, the DA, Freedom Front Plus, Patriotic Alliance, ACDP and the recently formed RISE Mzansi as undesirable political parties for thousands of its union members.

Called for comment, Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said: “The position of the union is that we will investigate. GBV is a serious matter and the allegations are deeply concerning."

The Star