From: South Africa's Radical Tradition, a documentary history, Volume One 1907 - 1950, by Allison Drew

Document 19 - Communist Party of South Africa, Memo on S.A.F.N.T.U. (1930)


"S.A.F.N.T.U.: Three requests from this body (which had reopened its office at Feneira Street Johannesburg) were before the Executive. One was contained in a note from T.W. Thibedi to the Secretary asking for the use of a table and two chairs belonging to the Party, to which the Secretary had replied that he would bring the matter before this meeting. It appeared however that in the meantime Thibedi had taken the table and chairs without waiting for permission. A motion that the Federation be allowed this furniture received three votes for and three votes against, and the Chairman gave his casting vote against. The next was contained in a letter from T.W. Thibedi as General Secretary of the S.A.F.N.T.U. asking the Party to raise funds for the purpose of sending delegates to the All-in Trade Union Conference at Cape Town. On a motion to reply merely that the Party could not raise funds even for its own needs voting was again equal, and the Chairman, being taunted with wanting to vote in a way to please a particular member of the Committee, declined this time to vote.

The third request was put forward verbally by Com. Nzula", asking for the use of the Party Hall for a social to raise funds for the same purpose. Hitherto even during the present controversy the Federation had taken the hall without asking leave, still more without paying or offering any rent, and it appeared clear that all these requests were put forward in order to make propaganda against the Party among the Trade Unions in the event of their being refused. It was agreed that the hall be granted but in conveying this decision to state that the Party cannot ignore the serious fact that the Federation had appointed as its General Secretary a member expelled from the party on a serious charge and that until the intolerable situation thus created had been liquidated it was very difficult for the Party, ardently as it desired to assist the Trade Unions, to deal normally with them or the Federation, adding that for this reason no reply could be given to the request for funds and no permission for the removal of the furniture, which must be returned in view of the circumstances of the removal. The voting in favour of this formula was unanimous, the previous voting having been as follows: Coms. Sepeng, Sipobe and Nzula against Corns. Soreson, and R and S. P. Bunting."