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The National Executive Committee (NEC) met on Wednesday 18 June 2014 to review progress in the preparations for the forthcoming Central Committee which is to be held on 2nd- 4th July 2014. A number of other issues were entertained is indicated below.In addition, the NEC familiarised itself with the State of the Nation Address by President Jacob Zuma delivered on 17 June 2014. While not responding to all matters contained in his speech certain areas invited NUM NEC support and concerns as outlined below.
2. CENTRAL COMMITTEE PREPARETIONS
NUM will be holding its Central Committee meeting on the 2nd to 4th July 2014 at Birchwood Hotel in Benoni. The NEC evaluated progress in this regard in ensuring a smooth flow of preparations.The theme of the Central Committee is ‘We are stronger together.' The NEC calls on all the regions and delegates to ready themselves in making positive and maximum contribution.
3. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
The NEC has voiced its concerns on the growing instability and violent killings in the African continent in countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia to mention a few.It sends its condolences to workers who continue to bear the brunt of vicious attacks in their respective countries; “We note that the trade unions are also affected adversely by these forms of conflict and wish to extend our solidarity with the workers in those countries," said Piet Matosa, Acting NUM President.
NUM believes that South Africa will be directly affected by these events and, therefore, calls on the national government to intensify peaceful resolution of all forms of conflict bedevilling the continent. The union has also sent its officials to the IndustriALL visit to Turkey on a solidarity mission to the mineworkers who perished underground.
4. STATE OF THE NATION ADRESS
4.1 FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) welcomes President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address last night when he committed himself to directly lead the implementation of the landmark Framework Agreement for Sustainable Mining Industry entered into by labour, business and government in 2012 which was initially led by the former Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe.
In the context of the new commitment by the new administration after the successful elections on 07 May 2014 to pursue stability in the mining sector the National Union of Mineworkers calls for full implementation of the Mining Framework which we believe will contribute immensely in bringing about stability and transformation in the platinum sector amongst other things.
NUM believes that failure to fully implement the agreement adds to the current turmoil in the platinum sector. We take the opportunity to remind the new administration that not all stakeholders had signed the Framework Agreement for Sustainable Mining Industry which remains a deficiency in the efforts to move together to a new progressive mining regime.
4.2 HOUSING AND DECENT ACCOMODATION
4.2.1 Housing and services
The NUM also welcomes government decision to implement the undertaking to build housing and other services to revitalize mining towns, as part of the October 2012 agreement between business, government and labour.
We also support the special focus being dedicated to the mining areas of Matlosana, Emalahleni, Sekhukhune, Lephalale, West Rand and Matjhabeng. This will indeed avert the likelihood of these areas degenerating into ghost towns.
4.2.2 Interministerial Committee
We have full confidence in the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities that has been established under the leadership of the Minister in the Presidency comrade Mr Jeff Radebe.
We have already seen symptoms of excitement by new Ministers who get into an action driven by leap of faith without acquainting themselves fully with the challenges faced by their department and later withdraw from processes having created expectations. In this context take this opportunity to advise this committee to patiently and adequately familiarise itself with the challenges at hand with due diligence.
"It is unacceptable that these companies have failed to have 40% of HDSA in their boards, executive, senior management and middle management levels. The failure to empower workers by companies is manifest in the failed or worst Esops which now require review in order to benefit workers “said Frans Baleni, NUM General Secretary.
The NUM has been in the forefront for many years fighting with mining companies to convert or upgrade hostels into family units, attain the occupancy rate of one person per room and also facilitate home ownership options for mine workers. We urge the mining companies to meet the 2014 deadline for these targets and extend this right to dignity to mine workers.
4.3.2 Mining Charter compliance
We are also encouraged to hear that government is monitoring compliance of mining companies in line with the 2014 Mining Charter targets which also relate to the improvement of the living conditions of the mineworkers.
NUM is however concerned that 2014 marks the second, fifth year of the Mining Charter and there is yet to be any tangible evaluation. It is clear that targets as set out in the mining charter have not been met by mining companies and, therefore, call on the state to review the mining licences of all companies and appropriate action be taken against those that fail the compliance test.
4.5 SHARE OWNERSHIP
4.5.1 Employee share ownership
The NUM leadership welcomes the commitment by government to promote employee share ownership.This will not only prop up productivity but will promote integration of workers in the growth, contribution efforts and benefits to all stakeholders within the value chain of the enterprise`s productive machinery. We believe that this will contribute immensely in alleviating the poor conditions faced by workers in a sustainable way in reinforcing their earnings.
4.5.2 Community share-ownership
We believe that community share ownership is also vital to ensure that the poor and working class communities will mainly benefit. We believe that the communal share-ownership will empower workers.
In the past, the communities have been on the receiving end of brutal displacement without due empowerment or appropriate forms of compensation by the investors. Indeed we expect government intervention to play a catalyst role in this regard.
4.6 KILLINGS AND VIOLENCE
4.6.1 Arrest and prosecute
The NEC welcomes President Jacob Zuma’s concern over violence in the mining industry specifically the platinum sector.NUM believes that effective and robust dialogue between employers and workers is key to dealing with inherent challenges at the workplace.
We believe that solidarity, unity, and discipline force of action amongst workers is the most effective weapon in challenging the might of employers in South Africa. The destruction of workers properties and the killing of five workers in the platinum sector create further gaps amongst workers which destroy solidarity.
In this context NUM calls for arrests and prosecution of all those implicated in the killing of workers, destruction property belonging to workers in the platinum sector. We call on the government to protect all workers who are not on strike and wish to exercise their right to go to work.The time has come for the wheels of justice to roll over those who continue to prey on innocent workers. Most importantly the NEC reinstates the call for NUM members to defend themselves.
4.7 Support energy mix
NUM supports the call and commitment towards a radical transformation of the energy sector in developing a sustainable energy mix which involves coal, solar, wind, hydro, and gas.
4.7.1 No-to-Nuclear Energy
However, NUM does not support any temptations to employ nuclear energy as part of the solutions for sustainable energy. We, therefore, encourage government to take out nuclear as part of the energy mix.The risks and dangers of this element of energy far outweighs the benefits experienced by humankind.
While Nuclear has the possibility of generating well over 9000 megawatts of electricity which will benefit business and human needs but Fukushima nuclear disaster is a Godly reminder about the inherent dangers to both the environment and the human race.
“Hundreds of thousands of Japanese have been negatively and permanently affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.We know today that 160,000 fled from their homes and have been kept away by radioactive. Furthermore, this year evidenced the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe which was one of the historic worst nuclear disasters in the history with long term impact. Thus, nuclear an expensive investment to national suicide” (Frans Baleni).
Furthermore, the economy of South Africa cannot afford to build a R1 trillion nuclear plant. Therefore, we call on the government and the ANC to review their pro-nuclear stance seriously.
4.7.2 Business leadership
NUM has also observed commitments by the President to inject capital and human resources. NUM believes that a part of building sustainability within the energy sector is to nurture stable stakeholder relations which are very imperative including respect for workers’ rights. Unfortunately, Eskom is eluded by this critical requirement.
4.8 LAND RESTITUTION
NUM supports the reopening of the period for the lodgement of claims for the restitution of land for a period of five years. While the time allocated for this process may not be enough given the history of land dispossession in South Africa. However, we hope that the current initiative is a move in the right direction in addressing this sensitive question.
4.9 Eradication of the bucket system
We support all efforts and commitment to eradicate the bucket system throughout the country. This system is an indictment on many positive interventions made in the last twenty years by the democratic government. This intervention will qualitatively intergrade the poor into the democratic dispensation and human rights victories including the promotion of their dignity.
5. JUNE 16 MEMORIAL
Furthermore, the NEC calls for efforts of job creation for young people to be intensified as a key memorial for 16 June 1976 student uprising.Companies must also commit themselves to providing training and skills development for young workers in the mining, energy, and construction sectors.
6. MESSAGES OF SUPPORT
The NEC noted the passing on of the widely respected radio personality Eddie Zondi who died on Monday this week and sends out its condolences to his family.
For more information, please contact:
Livhuwani Mammburu: 083 809 3257 Acting NUM National Spokesperson
Frans Baleni: 082 375 6443: NUM General Secretary
Piet Matosa: 0828093074: Acting NUM President
Mike T Fafuli: 0828036419: Presidency Advisor
7 Rissik Street. Cnr Frederick, Johannesburg
Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257