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Phone: +27 (0) 11 377 2198/9
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is deeply shocked and saddened after President Jacob Zuma signed all the tax legislation from 2015 into law. The decision by President Jacob Zuma to sign the tax law amendment act is bad, regrettable, and unacceptable. The working class of this country never gave President Jacob Zuma a mandate to sign the tax law. Zuma consciously refused to listen and continues to ignore the working class. The state has an element of dictatorship in our country, an example it imposed e-tolls and wage subsidy without proper engagements. The workers are tired of being undermined and disrespected by this government.
This is despite the fact that there have been engagements done in Nedlac, where organised Labour had meaningful participation and submissions made, and requests advanced by them over ten years to the government to be given a Comprehensive Social Security and retirement reforms discussion paper, to no avail.
It is through the NUM that mineworkers who have for many years of service taken only a helmet and a pair of boots on retirement have retirements benefits today.
It is again the NUM that organised the 1987 strike which took 21 historic days. Amongst other demands of the strike was the extension or creation of the Provident Fund for black workers. White mineworkers had retirement funds and black mineworkers had none of these benefits. Between 1987 and 1989 discussion took place between industry stakeholders to remedy the situation. In 1989, Mineworkers Provident Fund (MPF) was put into place accommodating black mineworkers. Both black and white mineworkers had access to this important retirement facility and it was a victory of the NUM and black mineworkers generally. The 1987 strike organised by the NUM changed the face of labour relations in South Africa.
The NUM rejects this as the current and future retirement savings, are the only monies that workers have saved, and to alter how these deferred salaries will be used including forced preservation by the government lacks any democratic consultation process.
The NUM fully agrees with the SACP that "provident funds, like all retirement funds, are hard-earned workers wages and control over workers funds rest primarily with workers."
Alliance should not be an alliance of convenience, workers must not be used as voting cows. The government must listen and respect the working class.
There is currently no guarantee that workers who lose their jobs will be able to secure a new job the next day.
The mining industry is currently faced with massive job losses through retrenchments and the retirement savings are used by workers to support themselves as well as their extended families. The majority of our members earn very low salaries and which makes it difficult to be able to have a total contribution to be 27,5%. In an actual fact, this majority are contributing between 3-5% of their salary, which then culminates to 6-10% total contribution.It is, therefore, a fallacy that our members will benefit from the 27,5% contribution, as a tax rebate.
NUM members currently enjoy control of their monies in Pension/Provident Funds, and the enacted legislation will make it difficult for our members to continue enjoying this right, and there is no guarantee that these monies will be available when needed.
The NUM still has scars over the Fidentia saga, where a lot of blame and accusation were made to the union, even though it had no control over what happens in the running of the retirement funds, as this is the sole function of the fund trustees. NUM do not want to witness the repeat of this painful saga, where members dependants lost millions of rands.
The NUM demands that the government should scrap this act and engage with labour. Nothing about us without us.
For more information, please contact: David Sipunzi: NUM General Secretary: 082 883 7293Livhuwani Mammburu: Acting NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257 The National Union of Mineworkers 7 Rissik Street. Cnr Frederick Johannesburg Tel: 011 377 2111 Cell: 083 809 3257 Web: www.num.org.za<http://www.num.org.za> Twitter: @Num_Media Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NUM/100860023402167