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Media Statement, 11 February 2024
NUM noted the government’ commitments announced during SONA last week to further advance and better the lives of all South Africans
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has noted with much caution the government commitments announced in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by the State President Cyril Ramaphosa to Parliament last week.
There is no doubt that President Cyril Ramaphosa inherited a toxic legacy prior to his ascending of the Presidency reigns in the government and inside the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).
On Mining Sector
The NUM welcomes the new mining rights application system as announced by the President. It is our hope that it will be implemented properly to create friendly investment environment that will lead to more job creation in the industry while saving the current employment trajectory. The announcement of the new mining rights application system, if successful, can unlock billions in investment and help turn the mining sector around, save and create thousands of jobs.
On Energy Sector
While we note efforts to keep Eskom alive, it is our view that the fragmentation of Eskom into different independent units is the heralding of privatisation of the utility which will make energy and electricity expensive in the context of high unemployment and deep black poverty.
Most importantly, this is a decapitation of the state which is an important instrument to advance the progressive visions of the Freedom Charter. Eskom remained the country’s most strategic national asset and it must at all times treated as such.
The energy crisis solutions are over reliant on the Presidential Energy Action Plan (EAP) which as the NUM believe that it is not sufficient to end loadsheddding.
The NUM is on record that the current administration depends much on the private sector to bring solutions to the country’s energy problems. A plan that is anchored on the private players is not going to resolve the energy crisis. The private sector is obsessed with profit maximization rather than resolving problems.
Our government need to be directly involved in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. The address from the President relies more on the private sector to the extent that the 14,000 Km of transmission lines are proposed to be constructed using private funding through what is called a variety of innovative investment models.
The NUM is of a strong view that the government must take ownership of the electricity sector to secure the security of supply. We have also noted with great concern the silence of the president on other forms of energy technologies.
The address focuses more on green energy which is mostly wind and solar without mentioning Nuclear and Clean Coal. For South Africa to resolve its energy crisis there needs to be a proper and well-balanced energy mix which is anchored on an energy base load of Clean Coal and Nuclear.
As much as the NUM support the transition from high Green House Gases (GHG) emitters to a much lower, green, and clean energy we believe that this must be done more responsibly without compromising the security of supply, the local economy, and jobs.
The NUM is against the reform of the electricity sector if it involves privatization. The current proposed unbundling of Eskom is a precursor to privatization. The president has mentioned that there was an introduction of 2500 MW of solar and wind to the greed.
This introduction of solar and wind is not assisting in resolving the load shedding problems due to the Capacity Factor of wind and solar as compared to other forms of energy. The Capacity Factor of wind and Solar is around 30% as compared to Coal and Nuclear at around 70% and 90% respectively.
National Minimum Wage
We also welcome the continuing increase of the National Minimum Wage to above inflation as that will covers and benefit most vulnerable workers within the construction, agricultural, domestic, retail, hospitality, transport, security and cleaning industries. The increase will benefit our members, especially those in the non-complying construction companies.
This is a positive increase from R25.42 to R27.58, an increase of 8.5% or inflation plus 3%. This increase will helps protect the value of the National Minimum Wage and workers’ ability to take care of their families.
The NUM vehemently calls upon the Department of Employment and Labour to step up its inspection role, increase its inspectors, and prosecute construction companies that are non-complying. Similarly, workers must at all times, report non-compliance and unsafe practices by employers especially when it comes to issues of their wages and working conditions.
We look forward to better increase in the forthcoming national budget presentation by the Minister of Finance. More investment on the infrastructure development will not only protect the current jobs but will create many more to tackle the current unemployment trajectory .
For the State President to have sustained a functional government under such toxic environment, this indeed is a great achievement given the realities of our country.
The Covid19 Pandemic
The NUM welcomes the efforts by government in providing direction to society by working with business and labour in the fight against Covid19 pandemic.
The Basic Income Grant
As the NUM we believe that the South African government under the leadership of the ANC should have moved to Basic Income Grant by now.
Already in South Africa majority of our people are stuck in poverty with increasing unemployment levels currently at 32%.
The state should use the same guts and political will they have demonstrated in presenting a solid and progressive anti genocide case at the ICJ for the Palestinian people, of which, we fully support.
This kind of guts and collective political will must be mobilised again to introduce wealth tax to deal with fiscal constraints and fund Basic Income Grant to take majority of our people out of historical and contemporary poverty.
The grant given to the unemployed at R350 SRD, while appreciable, is less than the food poverty line at R750. It is far lesser than the R1,058 per month needed for an individual to live properly in South Africa to survive slightly above the poverty line in terms of South African national standards.
We therefore expected the President to announce boldly, without hesitation, a new Basic Income Grant to assist people trapped under poverty.
The National Health Insurance (NHI)
We take this opportunity to praise government in finally passing the National Insurance Bill and looking forward to its implementation given the commitment by the President . This is indeed a progressive intervention . We welcome the fact that NHI will give free health care to our people across public and private services.
Crime and corruption
We welcome the energy channelled at fighting crime and corruption in both the private and public sectors. Had it not been due to state capture and Covid 19, as the NUM, we believe that a lot of progressive achievement would have been made under the Ramaphosa government . This is the reason why the ANC should deploy the best cadres to both provincial and national governments as we look forward to its electoral victory in 2024.
The General Elections
As the NUM, we are agreeing with the President’s Tintswalo analogy. Indeed Tintswalo is a representation of the government’s achievement so far. We are urging all our members to join the other progressive forces and vote for the ANC to ensure an electoral victory and making South Africa a better place.
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