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Press Statement, 31 July 2023
NUM-post NEC media statement
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) convened its ordinary National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at Elijah Barayi Memorial Training Centre in Midrand from 26th to 27th July 2023. The NEC meeting dealt with a number of issues pertaining to the four sectors that the union is organising.
Amongst the critical issues discussed are as follows!
The NEC appreciates the reality of Climate Change and the urgency in which countries in the world through partnership have collectively responded to the cataclysmic challenge. However, the union holds that no quantity of international harassment or national nervousness justifies political capitulation for the wholesale of South Africa’s independence decision making process as an independent sovereign state.
It is in this context that the NUM stands unchangeable that a procedurally fair process of Just Energy Transition should embrace all stakeholders in the value chain, from an employer at a power station like Komati, the surrounding community, the workers, the contractors, to the street vendor. This combined collective can only make the substantial outcome of transition dialogue to be fair. Anything less is procedurally and substantively unfair for all those who are weak and makes the Just Energy Transition unjust. NUM shall not support any unjust process of Just Energy Transition while it values the imperative of a responsive Energy Transition National Strategy.
Just Energy Transition should not deepen the crises of unemployment, poverty and inequality but risks this possibility if it is viewed as a gross profit making opportunity at the expense of the democratic dispensation and transformation agenda. We call for full participation of workers in terms of the process and substance of Just Energy Transition. Without us who represent the most affected men and women with their families the national efforts face an abysmal disaster with the political elite, evil and racist capital as the sole beneficiaries.
The NUM is currently engaged with various unions across the world to understand how they are dealing with their coal power stations to address the issues of the energy transition and the challenges of climate change. We are noting with concern the amount of pressure for South Africa to end and close down Power stations. We are learning that other countries are modernizing their Power stations and service them in response to climate change and impact. We will continue with our study that will lead to seminars in partnership with various organisations across the world. We want to put it categorically clear that; no amount of pressure or manipulation will shift our position with regard to the future of coal mining and affected communities.
The NEC discussed Youth Month and expressed its satisfaction in how the NUM Youth Structure celebrated the month; with many activities in various regions. Including the Presidential Cup Tournament that was held in the Highveld region. The NUM has indicated its intentions to engage the companies to resuscitate sports; arts and culture activities and also renovations of existing recreation facilities in various companies that we are organizing as the union.
The NUM joined millions of people around the world to celebrate the 67 minutes on 22 July 2023 as part of Mandela Day in our region Matlosana; at St Paul Catholic Church. The NUM had its founding National Congress on the 4th of December in 1982 hosted by the church in the midst of apartheid. The NUM leaders and members had an opportunity to interact with the former leaders and veterans of the NUM including comrade Thokoana James Motlatsi who is the founding President of the NUM. Amongst the people who graced the event is father Gerald Vandersompel; the Reverend who was the leader of the church at time he opened his hands and doors at the time to support the NUM.
The NEC further reflected on the progress made in wage negotiations in various companies. In some such as De Beers dispute has been reached and intervention of the third party in the form of CCMA is being sourced.
The NEC expressed disquiet about the rate of unsafe workplaces across sectors that we are organizing in; and fatal accidents in the mines particularly that there is an increase in women who lost their lives in the mines.
The NUM is also unhappy about the move by the Platinum mines smelters to migrate from the Mine Health & Safety Act (MHSA) to Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
The NEC condemns in strongest terms Anglo-American unlawful migration from the Mine Health & Safety Act (MHSA) to Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
The last year 2022, Anglo American embarked on the so-called“migration process” in which it seeks to exclude Waterval Smelter, Anglo Converter Plant, Precious Refinery, Rustenburg Base Metal Refinery and Mortimer Smelter from the regulatory regime of the MHSA to OHSA. It should be noted that these operations have always been, rightly so, under the regulatory regime of the MHSA.
The NEC welcomes the BRICS Summit 2023 which will be held in South Africa from 22-24 Aug 2023. Our view is that BRICS should focus on issues that affect workers and the working class. We are also looking into the widening of BRICS with possible new members joining. This will enable the process of de-dollarization, which has been dominating the world economy. As the NUM, we are looking forward to the resolutions that will also assist in strengthening the economy of our country.
The NEC welcomed the Economic Recovery Plan recovery in the Construction Sector in line with the statement from the government that they will use the construction sector to revive the economy. The NUM is faced with several retrenchments within the industry. According to Statistics South Africa, 32% of the construction companies have applied for Business Rescue and 92 companies have closed their doors. We are disappointed that major construction tenders in South Africa have been awarded to Chinese Multinational Companies which has led to retrenchments and jobs in the construction sector.
The NEC further noted with concern a new tendency called “construction mafia” in various Provinces whereby certain groups hijack construction projects and demand 30% shareholding without possessing neither any skills nor any knowledge of construction. We call upon the Government to intervene decisively as this has a direct impact on job security of our members. As the revolutionary union; we continue to support black empowerment; support of small and medium enterprises and transformation at large. We would like to reiterate our position that proper legal and fair processes must be followed at all material times in acquiring business opportunities.
The NEC welcomes the re-opening of the Bokoni Mine formerly known as Atok Mine which was previously owned by Anglo-American. The mine was placed under care and maintenance back in 2017, new developments emerging is that African Rainbow Mineral (ARM) has entered into an agreement to take over the operation. We are hopeful the reopening will bring employment and increase economic activities for surrounding communities and businesses.
The NEC further welcomed the outcome of the high court on 13 July 2023; the high court delivered a judgment dismissing the urgent interdict application by the Umfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation to stop Somkhele Mine from operating. This allows Somkhele Mine to proceed with mining activities in future mining areas at Emalahleni and Ophondweni; in terms of its existing approval. We view this as a victory to our members that were retrenched two years ago, because they were subjected to retrenchment/unemployment as a result of the NGO that was trying to prevent mining activities. We are hopeful that once opened again former workers in the KZN region will get first preference in terms of employment.
The NEC further congratulated both the ANCYL and ANCWL for their successful conferences respectfully and wished them well in the new term of office. We encourage our youth structure to work closely with the ANCYL in the push for empowerment of young people and addressing issues commonly in the workplace and in the society at large. On the same breath the women's structures was encouraged to work closely with the ANCWL as part of women emancipation and empowerment. The structure will open the women’s month by having a seminar on the 05/08/2023 at Birchwood. The seminar will include delegates across all the branches of NUM and speakers across all spectrum political; social; Government and Business.
We also want to take this opportunity to celebrate our vanguard party; the SACP for turning 102 years of existence and for remaining our only hope as the working-class. The NEC resolved to join the Party in their celebration on 06/08/2023 in Marikana.
For more detailed information, please contact:
Mpho Phakedi, NUM Deputy General Secretary, 082 882 3452
Livhuwani Mammburu, NUM National Spokesperson, 083 809 3257
Luphert Chilwane, NUM Media Officer, 083 809 3255
The National Union of Mineworkers7 Rissik Street.Cnr Frederick JohannesburgTel: 011 377 2111 Cell: 083 809 3257Twitter: @Num_Media
Its birth was facilitated by comrades Cyril Ramaphosa who rose to be its first General Secretary, James Motlatsi who turned to be its first President, and Elijah Barayi who became its Vice President and later the President of Cosatu in 1985 when the federation was formed. porn