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The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has lost complete faith on the board of trustees of the Impala Worker's Provident Fund. This came after seven members of the Association of Mineworkers Construction Union (AMCU) were arrested for allegedly soliciting more than R2 million from the company that administers the worker's funeral plan.
The NUM members and other mineworkers at Impala Platinum do not trust these corrupt elements anymore with their money. The NUM believes that this is just the tip of the iceberg as this alleged corruption is happening in other mining companies where the Association of Mineworkers Construction Union (AMCU) is a majority union like Lonmin and Anglo Platinum.
"We are calling for the independent administrator to administer the Impala Workers Provident Fund. The fund must be taken away from these trustees. We want an independent administrator to take over the fund because we do not trust the current trustees who had been arrested. It must be administered by an independent administrator. Our members no longer trust them with their money," said Desmond Mfuloane, NUM Rustenburg Regional Secretary.
We must remind South Africans and the world that it was 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 mineworkers. 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 demonstrated an unprecedented power in South African trade unionism by holding out for three weeks. The formation of the MPF came at a huge cost where some workers were dismissed and others died. Black mineworkers were denied the rights to be members of any retirement fund while their white counterparts enjoyed this privilege. The NUM is the one that made sure that mineworkers enjoy this privilege and no other union can claim this great achievement.
It is through the NUM that mineworkers who have for many years of service given only a helmet and a pair of boots on their retirement and are today able to receive retirements benefits.
With all these achievements, the NUM will fight tooth and nail to protect those workers' benefits. The NUM would not allow any corrupt element to temper or selfishly benefit or steal from the poor mineworkers who day-in and day-out are subjected to a very inhuman working conditions earning poverty wages.
There is no union that can steal from the deferred wages of the poor workers. Against this background, we call on the Hawks to see to it that they conduct a thorough investigation for successful prosecution. The Hawks must extend their investigation to other mining companies like Lonmin and Anglo Platinum where AMCU is the majority union as we believe that the same alleged corruption is rife.
We also ask Impala Platinum, AMCU and Financial Services Board (FSB) why NUM trustees were removed before their term could end.
For more information, please contact: Desmond Mfuloane: NUM Rustenburg Regional Secretary: Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257
Address: 7 Rissik Street. Cnr Frederick, Johannesburg 2001 Tel: 011 377 2111