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Beware, South Africa! Ignore viral statement claiming influential trade union has instructed members to vote for the MK Party – it’s a fake

IN SHORT: A viral statement circulating on social media just before the South African election is not from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa. The union has rubbished the statement, and directed voters to their official stance on elections.

“BREAKING: SA'S BIGGEST UNION ‘NUMSA’ HAS MANDATED IT'S MEMBERS TO VOTE FOR UMKHONTO WESIZWE,” a caption on a viral Facebook post reads, just days before South Africans head to the polls on 29 May 2024. 

With over 51,000 views on Facebook, and 92,000 views on X (previously Twitter), these and other posts making the claim have got South Africans talking. The posts claim to show an official statement from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, or Numsa, which boasts over 364,000 members. 

But the statement is fake. Here’s what we found. 

Document urges Numsa members to vote for the MK Party

According to the document, formatted to look like an official “mandate” from the trade union, the newly formed uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party “is the working class party”, who Numsa members should vote for to bring about “radical change”. 

Fake_Numsa

The Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP), created by Numsa in 2019, is not contesting the 2024 poll, after receiving very few votes in the country’s previous general elections. In the absence of the SRWP on the ballot, the statement says: “We have all debated around the issue … and agreed collectively to vote for [MK].” 

This, the statement goes on, is a better alternative to the Economic Freedom Fighters, one of the country’s main opposition parties, which is “not relevant for the working class”. The statement concludes with the signature of a Numsa organiser and dated 22 May 2024. 

Numsa issues ‘fake news’ alert

On their official X (previously Twitter) account, Numsa released a warning to its members on 22 May, saying “NUMSA has noted a statement which is being shared on social media. It’s is FAKE!”, along with a screenshot of the document circulating online. 

Text on the screenshot reads: “We would like to inform our members that this document is fake news. It is not an official NUMSA statement.” 

The X post includes a link to the union's official position statement on the 2024 election, on their website. In the statement the union does not instruct members to vote for any specific party by name but does mention specific parties “which the working class must not vote for”, including the Democratic Alliance, ActionSA and the Freedom Front Plus. 

The statement denounces what it sees as political agendas that promote or support xenophobia, spatial apartheid, “the genocide taking place in Palestine”, and “anti-worker union bashing” policies, among others. 

Be wary of online information that seems shocking or provokes strong emotions, especially during election season. Before sharing any statement claimed to be from an official source, make sure you first verify it by checking the supposed source’s website or social media accounts. 

 

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