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The NUM Post-NEC media statement, 4 March 2024

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The NUM Post-NEC media statement, 4 March 2024

The NUM Post-NEC media statement, 4 March 2024

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) held its ordinary scheduled National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in East London, Eastern Cape Province from the 28-29 February 2024.

The NEC meeting dealt with a number of issues pertaining to the union’ successes and challenges, and amongst the critical issues discussed were as followed:

The Launch of the National Membership Recruitment Campaign

The NEC meeting of October 2023 deliberated and took a decisive resolution to officially launch the national recruitment campaign in the Eastern Cape targeting at Motor and Metal industry.

Before the NEC started the meeting on the 28 February 2024, the NEC members took time to participate in the official launch of the membership recruitment drive. They joined the recruitment team to witness the success of the programme as workers from the motor and metal industry came in numbers to fill-up forms and joined the NUM.

We are pleased with the work done so far by the recruitment team. We are highly encouraged by the response from workers who demonstrated huge interest in joining the NUM. The response were so amazing and heartened all of us. That by its own gave us a signal that workers are in need of our services and we are prepared to go back to Eastern Cape to continue with our campaign.

The Evil and Anti-Worker Postures taken by Mining Companies to Retrench Thousands of Workers

Indeed, the NEC expressed shock and disappointment with regard to cold-heartedness announcements made by various mining companies that they are intending to dismiss thousands of workers.

Those companies are citing various narrow reasoning such as challenging operating environments, market conditions and reduced productivity.

We are noting with concern this sporadic announcement as the country is approaching the general elections in May. Anglo American, in particular, made such announcements from across all its operations i.e from platinum; Iron Ore and diamond operations. We remained deeply dismayed by the timing and the high number of workers to be affected by all these retrenchments.

We are awaiting official notices from other mining companies as we are already having an insight that other companies are joining the Anglo American’ choir.

We predicted this trend to continue as it started towards the end of last year with similar companies and this might even continue until beyond the general elections.

It is an undisputed fact that all these will surely have a negative impact on the number of unemployed in this country, and there would be a serious threat in terms of social security of many of mineworkers’ families. Women and the youth stand to be highly affected since majority of them falls within the rule of “last in first out “as per section 189.

These numbers will add on the current high numbers of unemployed women and youth and sadly majority of people to be affected are black Africans. One mineworker is capable of supporting ten people per family which mean that a lot of people will be negatively affected by these retrenchments. The majority of mineworkers are taking care of extended families and dependents at ratio of 1:10.

The anticipated job losses will destroy many small business in and around the mining communities, and certainly that will increase crime levels in our respective communities. Generally cost of living is terrible way above the living wage and the bread lines. The increase on food price inflation to 5.7% had negatively impacted on the workers and the working-class in general.

As we enter into the month of March already there is an announcement by AA on the price increase of petrol; diesel and paraffin. All these exorbitant increases do have negative impact on consumers taking into account the cost of travelling to and from work. There is an imminent public transport fares increase. Many of our communities are still depending on paraffin as means of cooking and lighting, more especially under this perpetual loading shedding.

The SOEs (Eskom and Transnet) Matters

Most mining companies continue to cite load shedding, decline in prices of minerals and failure by Transnet to transport minerals as major reasons for job cuts.

The NEC took a resolution that it will urgently engage the government to try find a lasting solution when it comes Transnet’ challenges of transporting minerals. It is indeed a matter of urgency. Challenges faced by Transnet contributed heavily to job losses and an immediate solution must be found.

We will also like to take this opportunity to welcome the newly appointed leadership of Transnet and hope that they will hit the ground running.

Their immediate task is to resolve the failures by the SOE to transport minerals. It has always been our view that Transnet needed a right and capable leadership.

Rail export volumes have fallen from a high of 213 million tons in 2018/2019 to 149 million tons in the last financial year. A lack of basic controls and outdated systems contributed to the company achieving only 25% of its targets in the past financial year. The logistical problems caused by Transnet's railway lines costed the country an average of R1 billion per day.

We also want to take the opportunity to welcome the newly appointed Eskom Chairperson and CEO. They are also joining the power utility during difficult times and when there are so many challenges such as load shedding and when literally the SOE have been rundown and poorly managed.

We equally expect them to hit the ground running. We have been consistent with our posture regarding the unbundling of the power utility, and our view is still that the unbundling process is just another privatisation of Eskom, giving private businesses an opportunity to maximise profit at the expense of the poor. Among other immediate tasks that the new Eskom leadership must do is to re-open the Komati Power Station in Mpumalanga.

The final decommissioning of Komati power station in 2022, which Eskom admitted was not properly planned and executed, is a major source of worry for the local communities.

The Optimum Coal Mine

The NEC reflected on the challenges that workers at Optimum Coal Mine have to go through over the last ten year’s period. We are very disappointed in how workers had to suffer, losing everything they have on the hands of corrupt individuals and the brutality of capitalism.

We are hoping that the final opening of the mine will benefit workers who lost their jobs in this mine and their respective communities whom used to survive through this mine.

The 2024 General Elections

The NEC also reflected on the upcoming general elections. The NUM’s posture on the general elections is historically based. The NUM as the organisation had been instrumental in the liberation struggle of this country. We are amongst the mass democratic movement that contributed immensely to the democratic breakthrough in 1994. The NEC reflected on this historic role and felt that the struggle for workers and working class in general is still relevant and calls for continuation. Amongst fundamentals is to protect the gains brought by our struggles before and after 1994. We will not allow any political Party to destroy what we have fought for in terms of basic Labour relations rights. Our fore fathers fought for such rights and workers will defend them at all cost. The NEC is calling upon all citizens, eligible to vote, to make sure that we are not giving the country back to the oppressors and exploiters. Young people must come in big numbers and defend the democracy our stalwarts fought and died for.

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 Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street.
Cnr Frederick Johannesburg
Tel: 011 377 2111 Cell: 083 809 3257
Twitter: @Num_Media

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NUM/100860023402167

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About Us
The National Union of Mineworkers was founded in 1982.

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