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By Lesiba Seshoka
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) took a firm decision to not be party to tomorrow ‘s commemoration of the Marikana tragedy. The decision is based on the fact that there was consensus between the NUM, AMCU, Solidarity, UASA and various other stakeholders including the mining companies that Deputy President of the country Kgalema Motlanthe ‘s office would organize the commemorations. The organisation of these commemorations has since been hijacked by the so-called Marikana Support Group and the programme filled with only opposition political parties.
The NUM had initially welcomed the gesture shown by the AMCU President in inviting its President to be party to these commemoration to ease tensions. The signing of an exclusive agreement that seeks to marginalise all other trade unions does not only go against the peace accord entered into by the parties but also heightens the perennial tensions that hovers over Marikana. Thus, the good intentions of the AMCU President are muddied by the “winner takes all” agreement and the unilateral hijacking of the commemorations. The NUM has no gripe about AMCU ‘s recognition as a majority union but has qualms about the raising of the threshold to 30% to the disadvantage of all other unions. Traditionally, the mining sector has always been a multi-union environment where smaller unions with as little as 3% membership have co-existed with the NUM irrespective of its majority.
Having pondered on all these, the National Union of Mineworkers saw it fit to not be party to these commemorations as well as to desist from organising separate commemorations as these may fuel tensions.