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The National Union of Mineworkers held its National Executive Committee meeting from 25 to 26 February 2016 at Elijah Barayi Memorial Training Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg.
1. Impala Platinum mine brutality
The NEC is appalled at the manner in which Impala Platinum is conducting itself. Our former shop stewards at the company who lost their status as shop stewards due to the NUM losing majority representation are being treated as skunks, not only by the newly formed sweetheart union but by the employer itself. The company has even suspended its disciplinary code and procedure so that they cannot apply it to the culprits who happen to be belonging to the new union. Some of those who benefitted from this behavior by the employer have literally walked away with murder as they have been cited in cases of attempted murder. It is common knowledge that there have been killings in the Platinum belt for some time, but those who are cited as perpetrators of such acts are still working for the company as if nothing has happened. The NEC has resolved to take whatever legal recourse is available, including approaching the Public Protector, to investigate the conduct of Impala.
2. Union bashing at Lonmin and Harmony Kusasalethu
The NEC is highly disturbed by the behavior of Lonmin. One of our member has been suspended from work for merely distributing NUM calendars. This is indicative of a company that is hell-bent to please their newly formed sweetheart union at the expense of justice.
A similar attitude is displayed by the employers at Kusasalethu in Carletonville. It is a shame that there are allegations that management in this operation used to get a mandate to bash the NUM in favour of the yellow union from the former CEO of Harmony. If that is true we condemn such behaviour and appeal to the new CEO of Harmony to correct the wrongs of his predecessor for the benefit of the company and all its employees.
3. Recapitalisation of UBANK
Management of the bank has for some time raising the issue that Ubank needs funds for recapitalization. The amount has been keeping on varying from R200m to R800m. We are told that if the bank cannot raise this amount, it risks being sold or have its license withdrawn. Our reliable sources have informed us that all that is needed is R70m to meet the requirements of the Reserve Bank. At the moment, the bank has more than R5b in depositors’ money whom the majority happens to be our members. Those who want to sell the bank want to sell it for a mere R300m. It is against this background that the NUM cannot agree to any notion of trying to sell that bank, especially to dark forces whose intention is to take our members to the cleaners. We are duty-bound to protect the savings of our members. The shareholder of reference is TEBA TRUST which is composed of equal representatives from the Chamber of Mines and majority union, which since the inception of the Trust has been NUM. It is imperative the two stakeholders meet and resolve the issue of the TRUST which seems to be representing its own interest. We also call upon the government to intervene and save the only Black-owned bank in the country from falling into the hands of vultures.
4. Local government elections
The NEC has resolved to mobilize resources to ensure that the ANC gets a resounding victory in the forthcoming local government elections. Over and above the COSATU election program, the NUM will seek a meeting with the ANC Secretariat to see what more the NUM can do to strengthen the campaign. We encourage our people to register where they reside.
We note that our membership has drastically declined from plus minus 206 000 in June 2015 to plus minus 198 000 at the end of January 2016. This is caused mainly by the shrinking mining industry. The mining companies have deliberately decided to embark on a job destruction spree. Mining is on a downward spiral. Our potential growth as a union lies in the Construction sector. This is where we need to focus our energies especially that this is the most vulnerable sector. The President has implored all Regional Chairpersons to move out of offices, go out there and recruit members. Over and above this we have a program to deal with the Platinum belt. Members are waiting for us there.
The NEC has noted with disgust the huge number of retrenchment notices that have been issued by various companies in the mining sector. A conservative figure of workers who are likely to be retrenched within the next 3 months is about 32 000. However, after the announcement by Anglo American that they have decided to dispose of some of their assets, the figure is likely to reach 100 000. In various areas, we are already participating in the CCMA facilitated processes which are aimed at reducing numbers to be affected and seeing to it that retrenchments are done in a fair manner where they cannot be avoided.
We have noticed that De Beers has embarked on a retrenchment process which is based on nothing but racism. The LIFO list they have issued at their Venetia mine has a column which shows the race of the affected person and among those affected, there is not a single White person out of the more than 100 affected employees. We condemn this blatant act of racism and have written to the CEO of De Beers to reign on this mine’s management.
7. Health and Safety
Notwithstanding welcoming the reported decline in mine fatalities in 2015 as compared to previous years, the Lily mine incident reminds us of how vulnerable mine workers are. It is totally not acceptable that the company could not detect the possibility of a sinkhole in the area before the accident happened. In 2012, there were 112 fatal accidents in the mines, 94 in 2013, 84 in 2014 and 77 in 2015. The NUM will continue commemorating mining disasters like the ones in Coalbrook, Kinross, Vaal Reefs and Rovic. We call upon all mineworkers to rise above petty differences and pay respect to those who fell whilst in the line of duty some of whom their remains were never recovered. The NEC welcomed the moves to integrate COIDA and ODMWA which are two pieces of compensation legislation. We believe that this will go a long way in addressing the backlogs in the system and benefits workers.
8. Recall of NUM members.
The NEC believes that the decision by companies, especially Sibanye Gold is influenced by their (companies) desire to destabilize the industry. Although the union and the employers might be seen to be adversaries, the fact is that our leaders at regional level play a huge role in stabilizing employer/employee relations at the coal face. This is a benefit not only to the union but also to the employers. The NUM is calling on employers to rethink their stance.
The NEC condemns the resurgence of racial undertones from certain sectors of South Africa’s population. We believe that the reconciliatory nature of those who suffered under apartheid should not be abused. We call upon the relevant authorities to hasten legislation which will criminalize racism. Our members in all our sectors are subjected to racism on a daily basis and the perpetrators face no consequences.
10. Protests in Tertiary institutions
The National Union of Mineworkers supports genuine struggles for transformation in our universities. We, however, condemn any destruction of property in pursuit achieving any goal. We call upon all affected parties to deal with the situation in a matured manner that will allow for studies to continue as we try to find solutions to the problem.
11. International Political trends
The NUM NEC is concerned about the unending conflict in Palestine. On a daily basis, Palestinians are killed and to the international community that is not important enough to warrant sanctions against Israel. The war in Syria shows how far the West is prepared to go in supporting terrorists who want to overthrow democratically elected governments by force. Civilians have died in hundreds of thousands since the beginning of the war and to the West that is not an issue. We call on all parties to work for peace in Syria and not for regime change and allow the Syrian people opportunity to elect their leaders. We must learn from the chaos that resulted after the assassination of Muammar Gadhafi in Libya. That country has never tasted peace even though the so-called dictator is long dead, as opposed to when he was alive.
12. Youth Summit
The NUM Youth Structure will be hosting a Youth Summit in March 2016 in Kimberly, Northern Cape. All progressive youth formations are invited. The topics to be addressed are as follows:
13. Back to school.
As a socially responsible organization, our Women Structure has embarked on a “Back to school’ campaign. This involves the raising of funds to can buy school uniforms for needy children and it is done on a yearly basis. It is a campaign that runs from January to March each year. We appeal to business to support this noble campaign as a way of giving back to the communities.
14. Taxation Law Amendment Act.
The National Union of Mineworkers, as previously alluded to in our previous press statement, is opposed to this amendment in the Provident Fund Act. We support the COSATU stance that the amendment must be scrapped in total, not suspended. We will embark on demonstrations and marches to pressurize the government to accede to our demand. We are the voters, our voice must be heard.
15. Budget Speech by Minister Pravin Gordhan.
In conclusion, the NEC welcomes the budget speech by the Minister of Finance in particular priority spending on Education.
For more information, please contact:
David Sipunzi: NUM General Secretary: 082 883 7293 Livhuwani Mammburu: 083 809 3257 :Acting NUM National Spokesperson
Address: 7 Rissik Street. Cnr Frederick, Johannesburg 2001 Tel: 011 377 2111
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