About Us


The Unity Movement is part of a long and proud tradition of struggle against all forms of injustice and inequality. We remain implacably opposed to the system of capitalism-imperialism which is the foundation-stone upon which rests the mass exploitation of workers in this country and the rest of  the world. We stand for the liberation of society from all forms of discrimination, whether “racial”, gender, religious, patriarchal or any other. Our struggle is predicated on the understanding that the eradication of all these evils can only be achieved under a socialist order. 

The New Unity Movement (NUM) was launched as the successor to the Non European Unity  Movement ( NEUM ) in 1985.

The NEUM, which was formed in 1943, operated until the 1960’s when it went into decline largely as the result of state repression. Between 1958 and 1960 virtually the entire leadership of the NEUM  and its affiliates, including the editor of the Torch newspaper, were banned under the Suppression of Communism Act.

The NEUM was a united front with a “three pillar structure”. It was constituted by the All African Convention (AAC), ANTI Coloured Affairs Department (Anti-CAD) and the Anti-Segregation Council (ASC). Organisations affiliated to the NEUM were: The Teachers League of South Africa (TLSA), The  Cape African Teachers Association (CATA), the Society of Young Africans (SOYA).

THE NEUM : key policies and principles

  • The Ten Point Programme of Minimum demands
  • Policy of Non-Racialism
  • Policy of Non-Collaboration and the Boycott as a weapon of struggle
  • Policy of anti-Imperialism
  • Emphasis on importance of theory and principled approach to struggle

The NEUM’s policies and principles were propagated in the following documents and publications:

  1. The Ten Point Programme
  2. Declaration to the People of South Africa and Declaration to the People of the World issued in 1952
  3. The Torch Newspaper  
  4. Pamphlets, conference papers and Bulletins

In 1958 the NEUM split into two sections.  One section, under the leadership of IB Tabata, formed the African Peoples Democratic Union of South Africa (Apdusa) in 1961.The leadership of this section went into exile and formed the Unity Movement of South Africa (UMSA).

Adherents of the leadership of the second section continued operating in organisations like the TLSA, the Federation of Cape Civic Associations (FCCA), a number of Educational Fellowships and in the South African Council on Sport (SACOS)


The NUM was established in 1985 after a process of reconciliation, starting in 1980, between members of the two sections was concluded. It  was officially launched in 1985 being formed by groups and individuals who owed allegiance to the polices and principles of the NEUM. The New Unity Movement sees itself as the successor to the NEUM, dedicated and committed to its founding principles and policies.


  • The New Unity Movement sees itself as an heir to the rich heritage of the arsenal of ideas bequeathed by the founders of the NEUM in 1943.
  •  The NUM has contemporary relevance especially amidst calls for the building of a united front and the building of a movement for socialism.
  • An exposition of the NUM’s characterisation of the current conjuncture is set out in the  preamble to the updated Ten Point Programme (TPP) of 2012.
  •  We see the building of a united front for the socialist transformation in our country as a major objective.
  • We see a programme of transitional political demands as a tool  in raising political and class consciousness amongst the oppressed against the system of capitalism-imperialism which  is our primary enemy ,. We believe that political and economic freedom will only be  achieved with the total annihilation of capitalism-imperialism.

NUM publications:

  • The Bulletin
  • The Worker
  • Presidential Addresses
  • Position statements
  • Conference papers analysing various topics relevant to the struggle in South Africa


The New Unity Movement has seven (7) main aims on which the main policy document, the Ten Point Programme, is based. These themes form the thread, which binds the political programme of the organisation together into an integrated and inseparable whole.


To build a single, undivided, independent, non-racial, democratic and socialist South Africa in which the interests of workers and the rural poor shall be paramount.  

  1. This is firstly a tacit acknowledgement that a South African nation with all its features of “nationhood” does not yet exist and has still to be established. Secondly, it is an admission that we come from a history of divide and rule and a major task is to identify and confound  the myth that we are different, belonging to different “races” or ethnic groups and that our cultural backgrounds should separate us. The truth is that all of humankind belongs to one race, the Human Race, and that all cultures are part of human culture. This is the single most important impediment to us developing a South African nation.
  2. The insistence on a non-racial policy has always been the basis of the Unity Movement programme. This is in stark contrast to the multi-racialism that is currently being practised. For example, in terms of the multi-racial policy all sports teams should reflect the “demographics” of the country – have a few “whites”, “Indians”, “coloureds”, “africans”, etc. The same policy is practised in the workplace where this is passed off as “equity”.  
  3. The poor are not confined to the rural areas only, thus one should speak of the rural AND urban poor. As the poor and workers make up the vast majority of our country and in fact most countries in the world, it makes sense to ensure that their basic needs are met. When this is done,the needs of more than 80% of the population has already been served. In any case, those not in these two categories (workers and poor) are able to fend for themselves because of their privileged position – money, work, housing, luxury, etc.
  4. Socialism is the highest form of democracy; some would say it is the only form of democracy. Many countries have a “democracy” where one can vote on a regular basis every few years, but have little else besides. Poor people remain poor or become even poorer and rich people remain rich and become even richer. The voters are used as voting cattle who exercise the right to vote for representatives who sit for a term of office but are not accountable to those who voted for them. These representatives are only accountable to the party and no one else!  


To build the unity of workers and the urban and rural poor under the leadership of the working class in the struggle for the national liberation and freedom from both national and foreign domination.

  1. The workers and the poor are the largest and most important groups in society and therefore in our programme. We are required to develop these sectors of society to enable them to take the lead in directing the struggle towards a more egalitarian future.   
  2. This development process involves the political education of these sectors. They need to  know how to organise themselves – on the shop floor, on the farms, and where they live and how to analyse social and economic situations, and  are able to identify the real enemy viz. capitalism.
  3. The NUM does not proclaim itself as the political party of the working class; it views itself  as a vehicle to facilitate the establishment of such an organisation.


To rid society of all forms of “racial”, colour, gender and class discrimination, including in the political, economic, social, educational and cultural areas of our lives.

  1. These forms of discrimination are aimed at causing division amongst communities in order to allow social oppression and economic exploitation to continue unabated.  
  2. We should be vigilant in ensuring that the organs of society that influence our daily lives –  schools, churches, customs, etc. – are freed of all these forms of discrimination.
  3. We must strive to make all of these organs non-racial, non-sexist and anti-class. Indeed, our daily lives – work, family, entertainment – should epitomise these beliefs.  
  4. We are to be reminded that the “strong” in society are in fact the economically strong and that they are in charge! They determine what happens in our education system, our economic system, our churches, etc. They are directly responsible for shaping our lives.  
  5. We cannot just accept everything dished out to us. We have to question, critically analyse and formulate our own opinions of what is summarily fed to us as education, religion and economic “reality”. All of these are susceptible to manipulation! This is how “our” culture is developed, without our consent, by the dominant (economically) group in society.


To establish a truly democratic government in a united South Africa and to resist the schemes to set up separate race-based enclaves or kingdoms to perpetuate division and strife in society.

  1. South Africa is one country and it cannot be divided into various “independent” areas such as is being attempted in Orania and in the various tribal enclaves around the country.  
  2. These “neo Bantustans” with their respective kingdoms/chiefdoms are another example of the types of divisions that are perpetrated in the name of democracy. All this creates confusion and perpetuates an anachronism that is being kept alive to mask the undemocratic nature of our society.   
  3. The “new” South Africa still has many vestiges of the colonial days of “divide and rule”. There has been a vigorous and sustained revival of the barbaric system of tribalism and chieftainship – “apartheid” in patched garb.
  4. As already stated, this is designed to create a diversion. Instead of us focussing on the real problem – capitalism – we spend our energy jealously guarding our “kingdoms” and our “culture”.  


To subordinate the state and the economy to the leadership of the working class, so that the scandalous social deficits existing in our society, which are actively promoted by the policies of the current ruling class, might be rapidly eliminated.

  1. Only the working class will ensure that they get what they should as full citizens of the  country. The ruling class will always try to short-change them and therefore cannot be trusted to ensure true democracy and the benefits, which come with it.
  2. The levers of state and the economy therefore have to be under the control of the workers to ensure that they are able to deliver the benefits, which derive from the franchise. These benefits would include, but are not limited to,  access to potable water and energy, free education, adequate housing, the right to work, free and comprehensive medical care and a just taxation system.


To end foreign domination – political and economic – and to wage a relentless battle against  all local agents who serve the cause of foreign domination and exploitation.

  1. The age of colonialism saw the looting and rapacious destruction of the colonies – economically and socially. Vast sums of money and goods were “repatriated” to the home countries – the Star of South Africa diamond still adorns the royal crown in Britain!
  2. In fact, the strength of the pound in Britain is a direct consequence of this rapacious behaviour.  All the colonies, e.g. South Africa, India, Northern (Zambia) and Southern (Zimbabwe) Rhodesia, America, etc., contributed handsomely to the creation of British wealth and still continue to do so through the myriad business interests dating back to the colonial time and are protected by Roman Dutch law. Neo-Liberalism is a refinement of this.  
  3. The current government of South Africa is clearly acting as agents of big capital. South African government leaders regularly ensure governments and business leaders in Europe and America that their investments in South Africa are safe.
  4. This manifests itself in the great difference in the treatment afforded to individuals and  companies – companies pay a much lower percentage of taxation than individuals;, pay much lower tariffs for water and electricity than individuals and are generally supported more through government regulations than are individuals.


To forge alliances with like-minded movements both in South Africa and abroad in order to promote the aims of the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle

  1. The NUM realises that there are other progressive political and social organisations in South Africa. It is prepared to work with these organisations on the basis of a minimum programme of demands such as those that are enshrined in our TPP.
  2. In recognition of the fact that “socialism in one country” is doomed to failure, the NUM will seek to identify and work with international organisations that share its aims and objectives of striving for a democratic system for ALL HUMANKIND.  

In line with the above aims or and objectives the NUM advocates a transition to a socialist order.

And to this end we propose that a movement for socialism such as was proposed by NUMSA in 2016, be brought into to being. Such a movement we believe, should adopt a programme of minimum transitional demands as reflected in our TPP and implement an action programme underpinned by the slogan:”Towards a People’s Democracy”

We posit a people’s democracy as an alternative to the current parliamentary system.

We conceive a people’s democracy as being one where local communities build united,  independent, democratic “people’s structures” with the view to self empowerment i.e. “Direct Democracy”.

Direct democracy is the only viable way to empower the working class in the anti-capitalist struggle. 

Building a movement for direct democracy at grassroots level is a vital precursor to the working class entering parliament, where the purpose will not be to participate in it but to destroy it and replace it with a genuine socialist democracy.