The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) held its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on 27 to 28 June 2019 at Elijah Barayi Memorial Training Centre in Midrand.
Among issues deliberated were the following;
1. Special National Congress
The NUM will hold a Special National Congress on September 4 – 6 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban. The Special Congress is convened to finalise the work of the National Congress held in 2018. Among the major tasks are issues pertaining to constitutional amendments. Congress will also deal with other policy matters. After the Congress, the union will host a rally at a venue still to be announced but in Durban.
2. The emergence of a new union
The NUM is aware of the establishment of a new trade union in the mining and construction sectors to compete in the space it occupies. We wish them good luck hoping that it is not another self-enrichment strategy in the name of a trade union. We hope that the Department of Labour has done all it is supposed to do to ensure that the requirements of the law are met at all times. The Department’s failure to act on pseudo-unions lead to poor workers being defrauded of their hard-earned monies.
3. LONMIN Agency shop agreement
The NUM applauds the Labour Court judgement by Judge Benita Whitcher on the case lodged by NUM, UASA, and Solidarity against a LONMIN/AMCU agreement to deduct agency shop fees from whoever is not a member of AMCU in that company irrespective of them being members other unions. The Judge has invalidated and rendered the agreement unenforceable. Both AMCU and LONMIN have been instructed to refund all agency fee deductions made from the members of the three unions.
4. Construction Industry Retirement Fund
The union is concerned about the possibility of abuse of monies in the Fund. An amount of R2.5 million has allegedly been spent to procure t-shirts. This was done without following proper procedure. The Fund has instituted a forensic audit to determine if there was no fraudulent activity and if service was ever delivered. Another investigation that we want to be pursued thoroughly is that of an R2,3 million which was paid to the printers but transferred to another account leaving only R200 000 in the printer’s account. The NUM is highly perturbed by the allegations of misuse of money in this Fund as it is a retirement benefit vehicle for the most vulnerable workers in our scope. Should anybody be found to have been on the wrong side of the law, we call for tough action against them.
5. The behaviour of Chief Executive Officers
The failure by the mining industry to fully support and implement mineral beneficiation is born out of the fact that for a long time the South African mining industry has been inundated by foreign nationals as CEOs. To them, the creation of jobs is none of their business. Theirs’ is to extract as much minerals as they can and export to their countries of birth. The creation of jobs cannot entirely be the responsibility of government alone – business must come to the party without demanding downward variation of conditions of employment. Their deafening silence on the fraudulent activities of their colleague, Markus Jooste is raising a concern about their morality. Jooste and his Steinhoff shenanigans cost this country billions of rand, yet we heard no condemnation from his peers in the business world.
6. Eskom Unbundling
The NUM is adamant that the unbundling of Eskom into three entities is not a solution to the problems that are facing this public entity. “If the engine of your car is giving you problems, you don’t chop your car into three. You either fix the engine or buy a new one and put it in the very same car.” Here we are just being confronted by greedy people who want to steel Eskom as they have stolen many other public entities before. We are fighting a peoples’ war here. Should Eskom be privatised, prices will become unreachable for many South Africans and they will ultimately be cut off the grid. Any bailout for Eskom that is derived from the national treasury is doing exactly what it is supposed to do – serve the people. People who want to get into the business of selling electricity are free to compete with Eskom, using their own infrastructure.
7. State of our municipalities
The report of the Auditor-General on the state of affairs in our municipalities is shocking, to say the least. This report gives the nation reasons why we had so many service delivery protests in the recent past. Only a handful of municipalities got clean audits. Year after year, the findings and recommendations of the Auditor-General are ignored and there is a growing level of misuse of public resources by municipalities. We call upon the government to take drastic measures to correct this situation.
8. Mining Indaba
The NUM is totally opposed to the so-called mining indaba which takes place yearly in Cape Town. This is a talk show that brings nothing in terms of new mining ventures. Instead of talking job creation, it seeks to govern the country outside parliament by questioning the laws of the country. It has been taking place for years now but no new mines have been opened since and instead, we see mines closing down. We see this as some kind of fundraising.
9. Role of the Reserve Bank
The NUM believes that the Reserve Bank has an important role to play in the economy of the Republic of South Africa. It has been doing well on its current primary responsibility but we believe it can do more in strengthening our economy rather than focusing only on inflation targeting. We are concerned about the differences in public by the ANC leadership on the role the Reserve Bank is supposed to play in the economy. Resolutions of the ANC must always guide us.
10. Attack on Chapter 9 Institutions
These are the institutions that are meant to strengthen our democracy. If in the execution of their mandate they commit mistakes, there are ways in the constitution to address such matters. Attacking them the way the Public Protector has been attacked in the recent past may just be an indication that we are not honest about being Democrats. It also gives the impression that we are not equal before the law. We must always uphold the law whether it suits us or not.
11. Violence in schools
Our centres of learning have turned into violent killing fields. Learners have been butchering each other and educators have been victims of crime right inside the school premises. We condemn this behaviour and call up the authorities to tighten security in our schools. Government and school governing bodies are not doing their work in as far as creating a safe working environment is concerned. The dangers of going to work as a teacher are today almost equivalent to the dangers of going to work in a mine where one is not guaranteed to return home alive at the end of the shift.
For more information, please contact:
David Sipunzi: NUM General Secretary: 082 883 7293
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257