The National Union of Mineworkers convened its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at the Elijah Barayi Memorial Training College on the 22nd to 23rd April 2021.  This was the NUM’ second scheduled NEC meeting for 2021 and had numerous challenges to mull over in charting the way forward for the rest of the year. In this regard several critical points were discussed and the NEC pronounced as follows:

  1.  The NUM Policy Conference in July

The NEC has resolved to go ahead with the planned NUM Policy Conference which will be held in East London, Eastern Cape,  on the 22nd and 23rd of July 2021.  The Policy conference is expected to be attended by 250 delegates from locally and internationally. The NUM will strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols and regulations.

2. The adoption of the NUM Collective Bargaining Conference Declarations and Resolutions.

The NEC has officially adopted the resolutions and declarations taken during the NUM Collective Bargaining Conference that was held virtually last month. The National Collective Bargaining Conference was convened on the 25th -26th March 2021 whereby the company must give us an offer.

3. NEC mandate on the Collective Bargaining Negotiating teams.

The NEC has mandated the negotiating team to go all out and negotiate for good wages in the upcoming wage negotiations in the Gold, Eskom and others. The Eskom Wage Negotiations will officially start on the 4th of May 2021.

4. Recalling of NUM leadership by Eskom.

The NUM is highly disappointed by the attitude demonstrated by Eskom to recall the seconded union leadership.  The NUM is calling for an immediate intervention from the government. The same arrangement, as it is being supported in the public sector, should take place in Eskom.

5. Community structures that act like trade unions

The NEC have expressed disappointments with regard to the way most community structures are behaving when it comes to trade union issues. Those structures are recently behaving like trade unions. They  barricade roads with a pretence of fighting tenders and unemployment. We do not have a problem with community structures that are representing issues affecting poor communities but there should be a line when it comes to issues that are and must be addressed by trade unions. The communities must know that workers do have the rights in terms of LRA.

5. Blyvoor Gold Mine

The NEC has called for the Department of Labour and Employment to deregister the union established by the management. The NEC is disgusted by the behaviour and attitude of Blyvoor management by forcing workers to join what is called Blyvoor Workers Union with the objective of continuously colonising, abusing and exploiting the working class. The NEC is also worried and disturbed that processes were not followed to establish the close shop agreement. The NEC is also disturbed by the union-bashing tactic tendency by the employer.

7. Lily Mine.

The NEC fully supports the reopening of the Lily Mine and to retrieve the three workers who are trapped underground. Those victims’ families need to find closure. The NUM together with COSATU and community structures around Lily Mine are preparing a massive march to take place on the 4th of May 2021. A memorandum of grievances will be submitted to the local Magistrate Court. We will be demanding the reopening of the Lily Mine and the retrieval of the three workers who are still trapped underground.

8. NUM’ support to COSATU Anti-Corruption Campaigns

The NUM is ready and available to support the COSATU campaigns on corruption. The NUM recently opened a corruption case at the Sandton Police Station against the merger between Seriti and South 32. The NUM has committed to fight corruption in all sectors where it organises (Mining, Energy, Construction and Metal).

9. South 32 retrenchments

The NUM is currently preparing for a massive march with communities around Emalahleni and Steve Tshwete Municipalities to stop the retrenchment of 1,650 workers at South 32 if South 32 continues with the retrenchments. The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy must not approve Section 11.

10.Harmony Gold and Sibanye Stillwater decision to withdraw from the Central Bargaining Forum 2021.

The Mineral Council of South Africa has informed the NUM that both Harmony Gold and Sibanye Stillwater have decided to withdraw from the Central Bargaining Forum for the 2021 wage negotiations. The NUM does not support such a move as proposed or raised by both Harmony Gold and Sibanye Stillwater. Instead, we are calling for the revival of the statutory bargaining council as per the Labour Relations Act. We don’t support decentralisation as it will disadvantage workers because wage offers and conditions of employment will be different from one company to another.

11. Just Energy transition.

On the issue of just energy transition, the NUM will closely monitor the capacity of the current power stations, and the mines that supply coals to those power stations. Our interest is to save jobs and we don’t want to see job losses, particularly in Koornfontein and Optimum coal mines.

We are against the privatization of the power utility, ESKOM as proposed by the government. We prefer an energy provider that is publicly owned and runs in the public interest and not for profit as this will make energy unaffordable and inaccessible to poor communities. We need an energy transition model that promotes industrialization, decent green jobs and the interests of workers and communities and ESKOM must be in the centre stage to take over Renewable Energy for Just Energy Transition.

We are also closely monitoring developments around what is called Powerships energy projects. Powerships are said to be fully self-sustained floating power plants operating on liquified natural gas which is stored and regasified onboard floating storage regasification units. We are already highly worried about the possible corruption on such projects.

12. ANC Local Government Elections

The NEC has reiterated its unwavering support for the ANC in the forthcoming local government elections on the 27th of October 2021. Twenty-seven years is a very short time for our people to have forgotten the pain and suffering caused to South Africans and the diaspora by the apartheid government that seeks to come back through a disguised form. The NUM will make resources available to make sure that the ANC win the elections with the biggest margins.

We are urging our members to vote for the ANC on October 27, 2021. Lest we forget that the damage ANC detractors expect the ANC to undo in just 27 years was done over a period spanning more than 300 years. The ANC government has managed, in a short space of time, to remove racially based laws that saw a Black person as sub-human. It is a pity that today those who supported those laws need our vote, probably to repeat the evils of the past. We are unshaken in our support for the ANC.

13. Public Workers Wage Increases.

The NEC believes that corruption and incompetence of the government are stopping public workers from receiving the well-deserved wage increases. The NEC, by all means, pronounced its support to the public workers. We believe that their demands  are reasonable and the government must give them what they deserve.

14. State Capture Inquiry

The NUM NEC fully supports the appearance today of the ANC President and also the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa at the Zondo Commission. All forms of state capture and corruption must come to an end. President Ramaphosa is leading by example and is showing a level of accountability and transparency. His actions demonstrate a commitment to lead a transparent government.

15.Lindani Myeni Murder.

The NEC was shocked by the silence of American people after Lindani Myeni was brutally shot and killed by the police from the Honolulu police department in the USA after they responded to an alleged “burglary in progress” at a home in Nuuanu. Where is that spirit of “Black Lives Matter”? Black South Africans supported our American brothers and sisters during the murder case of George Floyd. Why this silence now?

16. Civil War in Myanmar

The NUM stands in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and joins other trade union movements across the globe in a fight for democracy in the country. For the last few weeks, the people of Myanmar have resisted military coup, taking to the streets and demanding the release of those unlawfully detained. NUM will join the IndustriALL Global Union march to the USA embassy as organised.

For more information, please contact:

William Mabapa, NUM Acting General Secretary, 082 880 4439
Livhuwani Mammburu, NUM National Spokesperson, 083 809 3257
Luphert Chilwane, NUM Media Officer, 083 809 3255