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NUM Press Statement, 26 February 2018
POST NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING PRESS STATEMENT
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) held its bi-monthly National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting from 22 to 23 February 2018. Various issues were deliberated on including the following:
1. 16th National Congress
The National Congress of the NUM will be convened on the 20th – 22nd of June 2018. The NEC has concluded on a total voting delegation of 698. This is in line with the total membership as at July 2017 which is 185, 287. The congress will take place at a venue still to be confirmed in the Gauteng Province and will culminate with the election of the new leadership which will lead the union for the next three years or the number of years the Congress may conclude.
The NEC has agreed to invite 83 national and international guests. The President of the ANC who is the President of the Republic of South Africa comrade Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the congress.
2. Chamber of Mines wage negotiations
The NEC has noted that this year is for wage negotiations and other conditions of employment. It, therefore, took a decision that it is proper to continue with the planned Collective Bargaining conference on 26 and 27 February 2018. All regions participating in the Chamber of Mines negotiations have already submitted their wage demands to the relevant Pillar of the union for processing. It is only after the conference that demands to be forwarded to the Chamber of Mines will be consolidated and later submitted to the Chamber of Mines.
The NEC has noted with disgust the abuse of workers’ pension monies to bail out a public enterprise that is fraught with fraud and corruption. The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), via the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), agreed to provide Eskom with a loan of R5 billion to help cover expenses for the month of February. We believe that the Chief Executive of the Government Employees Pension Fund must be fired for gambling with the workers’ pension monies. If Eskom could not have R20 billion to run its business for a month, how come could they pay Tegeta about R600 million upfront for the purchase of Optimum Coal Mine? We hope the new Board will bring the long-lost good governance in this entity. However, the mentality of purging people without following proper procedures should stop with immediate effect. This only serves to tarnish the image of the Board even before it has started with the task ahead.
The fact that Eskom had to run around cap in hand asking for financial assistance to run its business shows that our members at the entity are at risk of not getting their salaries paid one day. Also, the shenanigans here are a threat to the entire nation in terms of keeping the lights on in the country. The NUM has decided to adopt the programme of action proposed by the Highveld region from Mpumalanga to embark on the “save our Eskom” campaign.The NUM will give the new board a benefit of doubt to make an assessment on the 100 days if the new board is equal to the task or not.
4. Political climate in the country
The NEC was elated at the election of comrade Cyril Ramaphosa both as President of the ANC and President of the Republic of South Africa. We do not view the removal of comrade Jacob Zuma by the NEC of the ANC as a vendetta, but as something that is aimed at taking the organization forward as we march towards 2019 general elections. This change of guard at the helm of the ANC and the country has stabilized our parliament and has brought hope to the country’s economy as a whole.
5. Mining Charter
We welcome the opportunity afforded the Chamber of Mines to be consulted as they have been complaining about not being consulted. We will also engage the President of the country on the Charter to remind him about our stance on the Charter. We support the Charter with only a few issues that we still have concerns about. The Charter must be implemented as soon as possible and those areas which are a concern to the Chamber can be dealt with as the Charter is in operation. All we sense is that the Chamber of Mines is anti-transformation and unpatriotic. They are opposed to the 30% Black ownership of the industry.
6. Sibanye Stillwater
The NUM is highly disappointed by the manner in which fatalities are happening at Sibanye Stillwater, for the past recent weeks where we saw the brutal killings of mineworkers at its operations and the trapping of more than one thousand employees at Beatrix in Free State Province.
The NUM NEC is disappointed with Sibanye Stilwater that when there are fatalities at its operations, it denies our members to mourn their colleagues and force them to work without mourning even when they are still traumatized. The NEC does not support a call by Sibanye Stilwater CEO Neil Froneman for a collective action towards zero harm in the fatality-plagued mining business. It is just crocodile tears. Froneman refuses our members to hold a "Day of mourning " when there are fatalities at his company. The NEC welcomes a call by the State President Cyril Ramaphosa during SONA where he encouraged stakeholders to engage to eliminate fatalities in the mining industry.
7. Retrenchment at Evander Gold Mine
The NEC is heartbroken by the Section 189A issued by Evander Gold Mine owned by Pan African Resources to retrench 1722 employees. The NUM calls upon the company to engage in alternative solutions that will save the jobs.
The NEC is not satisfied with the manner in which the CEO of Lonmin is running the company. We urge him to resign so that the company can be managed by a competent CEO and save the company.
The NEC has welcomed President Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address and support Cosatu's position that workers are pleased that it unveils a serious programme to arrest corruption and the nation's decay and to lift the economy out of recession and create employment for workers. The NEC also welcomed the announcement made by the State President comrade Cyril Ramaphosa to compensate all the Marikana tragedy victims and it also raised a concern that the union has been sidelined in the process and call for all stakeholders who are affected to raise issues affecting the beneficiaries they represent.
10. The 1% Vat increase
The NEC is angered by the Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba decision during his budget speech that VAT would increase from 14% to 15% from April 1. We are very concerned like Cosatu, SACP that the increase in the VAT will hurt workers and their families by taking money from their pockets and making basic food and other living expenses more expensive.Whilst government has been bold in taxing workers, it has avoided increasing taxes on the rich, company tax or significantly increasing luxury goods and imports taxes.
11. Tegeta Koornfontein and Optimum collieries
The NEC is outraged by what is currently happening at Optimum and Koornfontein Coal Mines where its members and other workers have not been paid their salaries. We call on the management of two mines to speedily resolve the issue of the outstanding salaries that are owed to our members. The NEC support its members not to go back to work until their outstanding salaries are paid. The NEC welcomes the intervention by both the state president and the DMR to resolve the uncertainty that is posed by Tegeta the company owned by the Guptas with ESKOM money in Mpumalanga.
For more information, please contact:
William Mabapa: NUM Deputy General Secretary: 082 880 4439.Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257
Address:7 Rissik Street.Cnr Frederick,Johannesburg 2001Tel: 011 377 2111 Web: www.num.org.za Twitter: @Num Media Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NUM/100860023402167