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

Document 72 - Letter from R. T. R. Molefe to London comrades, 21 February 1938



Dear Comrades,

I am writing to you about the things which is said about com RL [Ralph Lee], which is absolutely lies. Towards the beginning of January last year, we workers of Steel Ceilings and Aluminium Works Ltd. formed our "African Metal Trade Union" which so far appointed com RL to be our secretary. Now as our fellow workers were so hasty we were bound to come out on strike. Com RL advised us several times that the best way is to organise more workers as many as possible from other metal works, we found that to be a hard task that will take years, while we were suffering on account of low wages. We - the committee instructed our secretary com RL to write our letter of demands to the manager of Scaw works.

1. Increase of 25% in wages

2. Two weeks paid holidays a year

3. A week notice in dismissal etc.

All were rejected.

We all signed the strike and on the 23rd. February 1937 we gave "one hour" notice to the bosses, and we left the premises patiently at 8.15 am. We marched through the town to the hall, and counting the group found that about four workers missing. We put our pickets we found that three left in the promises one is arrested. Comrade RL tried with means to trace which police station our member in, but all in vain, until he was released on £10 bail after a week before the magistrate.