The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) held its executive meeting at Elijah Barayi Memorial Training College in Johannesburg on 25-26 September 2014. The NEC is the highest decision-making body of the union apart from the Central Committee and the National Congress. It resolved on the following pronouncements:
1. Nuclear Energy
1.1 SA- Russia Deal
The NEC believes that there needs to be proper consultation in line with the Constitution.In terms of Section 2117(1) in furthering service delivery through tendering processes, government must consult which it has not done adequately thus far.
Furthermore, in line with the same subsection the processes of this nature must be transparent which is not the case .Additionally the investment must be cost effective and we believe nuclear projects are inherently expensive.Overall the dictates of the Subsection abovementioned are not satisfied by the current nuclear initiatives of government.
As NUM, we will continue to voice our disapproval and join other progressive forces in ensuring that proper consultation is done.Overall NUM support the energy mix and exploration and usage on other renewable energy options. Thus, far NUM does not support the current South Africa – Russia Nuclear deal and we call on the government to take the views and aspirations of South Africans seriously.
The NDP cautions government not to rush on nuclear investment.In addition, the Integrated Resource plan clearly indicates that South Africa should consider nuclear investment at least after 2025. These are government prescripts which government is not following. It sets a bad precedence if government itself does not follow its own official recommendations. Other stakeholders may not feel obliged to follow national plans in the future.
2.1 Attacks on the ANC
The NUM has noted with concern what appears to be a concerted effort to destabilise the ruling party. While the President of the ANC Jacob Zuma is faced with a number of legal challenges which may somewhat impact on him discharging his mandate adequately we are noting that there are equal attempts to dislodge the Speaker of parliament .In additionally, we see a new narrative being opened to target the Deputy President of the ANC comrade Cyril Ramaphosa.
We believe that these attacks are intended to set an ANC internal agenda where the opposition attacks anybody who it suspects of being a potential successor in the leadership of the ANC. This is intended to dislodge the ANC since it won the elections.
We call on the ANC to rise to the occasion and defend its majority status and the mandate given to it by South Africans to govern South Africa.Most importantly we call on the ANC to focus on its responsibilities because the people of South Africa will judge it on the basis of how much it squared with the opposition but how much it was able to deliver.
2.2 NUM- SACP Working relations
The NEC has reviewed its working relations with the SACP and has resolved to strengthen its working relationship with the SACP.This will manifest among other things in a form of joint political education programmes and other skills development initiatives to intensify the class awareness of mine, construction, and energy workers. Most importantly NUM believes such joint programmes will be an everlasting investment in the young workers who are a majority in the NUM.
2.3 RADICAL TRANFORMATION
The NEC has observed that there is a growing believes that the private sector should be key and playing central role in this second phase of transition. This contradicts our view which is a generally held view that the State will be central in driving this phase of transition.Most particularly and limited to, we anticipate central state involvement in the following:
bull Revamping of the national treasury
bull Land redistribution
bull Agriculture and food production
bull Reviewal of SOE.
3. INDUSTRY ISSUES
3.1 Mining industry
The NEC has also observed the growing trend in the mining industry where companies seek to reduce their primary investments in the country and go elsewhere.For example, Anglo platinum is selling its assets in Rustenburg. BHP Billiton moving all its operations into a new company also seeking primary listing outside South Africa (Australia). AngloGold Ashanti tried something but was shot down by shareholders.
These trends have negative effects to South Africa economically.Overall they have the potential to reduce jobs and add to the challenges of joblessness in South Africa.We call on the state specifically DMR to intervene and have hands on approach on these developments.These initiatives are not consistent with the spirit of the Framework Agreement where companies committed themselves to the betterment of the South African economy.
3.2 Mining indaba
The NEC supports the decision of the Minister of DMR in convening a Mining indaba.We believe this is long overdue and it is high time as South Africans we confronted the challenges of the mining Industry head on. We believe there is a lack of progress in the transformation of the industry and the behaviour of companies may augment the current challenges.
3.3 Mining Lekgotla
The NEC believes that the mining Lekgotla held on the 13th and 14th August 2014 at Gallagher Estate was a success. The theme of the event was an assessment of mining contribution in South Africa in the last 20 years of democracy under the theme lsquobuilding on the contribution of mining since the aent of democracyrdquo The NEC believes that in order to avoid the event generating into talk-shop like many other similar events the outcomes of the recent Lekgotla should be integrated into preparations for the Mining Indaba envisaged by the Minister of DMR.
4. MEMORIALS AND COMMEMORATION OF OUR FALLEN HEROES
4.1 Jeffrey Njuza Memorial (20 and 21 September 2014)
The NUM commemorated the late Jeffrey Njuza who was killed for using a white colleague’s cup in drinking tea. Black mineworkers then were not allowed to share utensils or things with their fellow white counterparts.In reprimanding comrade Njuza not to use the cup reserved for white supervisors the white supervisor killed him.
NUM celebrated the life of the late comrade Njuza because it believes that his act represented the spirit of defiance against oppression, discrimination, and domination at the workplace. In this regard, he represented defiance that characterised the spirit of all black mineworkers.In this commemoration, NUM seeks to revive the battle against racism which is consistent with the lack of transformation in the industry.
4.2 Kinross Memorial (20 Septemeber 2014)
The memorial was also a success. The intention of NUM to commemorate disasters like Kinross it seeks to sustain memories of aftereffects of poor health and safety standards in South Africa.These events while they connect us with descendants of the deceased they equally seek to galvanise the NUM to raise the bar in the struggle for zero harm on health and safety. The event was a success and we expect our health and safety stewards to take a guide from the inputs made in both memorials in aancing the course of improved health and safety in the mines.
5. RETIREMENT FUNDS
The NEC has undertaken proactive interactions with its members across the country to clarify them on the confusing messages that have engulfed the South African public. After sufficient engagement on the matter and taking into consideration the growing demands on the ground from our members despite our concerted interface with them to clarify them.
Overall the NEC based on its internal engagement has decided to establish a committee that will generate and coordinate a course of action to communicate the disapproval of the NUM members on the pending changes on Retirement Funds. The intention is to march to the National Treasury to register the displeasure of our members on changes to the Provident Fund.
6. Aurora Court Case
The NEC welcomes the decision by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria which ordered the Bhana’s family to repay R15,1 million and their associates. The NEC agrees with Judge Bertelsmann when he said that while Bhanas pocketed the money, mineworkers were left to bear the brunt.
7.1 Helam Mine
The NEC is deeply worried that Helam mine a division of Petra diamonds situated at Swartruggens in the North West province wants to retrench 370 employees at the mine.
It is the considered view of NUM that the approach of the employer is irregular because the company is putting the cart before the horse.
The company must first comply with the MPRDA section 52 which states that in the instance the company anticipates to retrench 10% or more employees it has to inform the Minister of Minerals Resources.
In this regard, the company should not be looking at section 189 of the Labour Relations Act of 1995 as the incumbent is doing.
NUM, therefore, calls on the Minister of Minerals Resources to intervene instantaneously to halt the insanity planned to aggravate the unpleasant state of workers.
The NEC calls on the company to review its decision to retrench 1 500 workers at Target 3 operation including cutting jobs at Masimong in Free State Province.
8. Non-compliance with the Mining Stability Framework Agreement by Employers.
8.1 Impala (Marula)
The Framework for a Sustainable Mining Industry entered into by almost all stakeholders in 2013, holds that companies commit to “act in a fair and impartial manner in dealing with unions and act swiftly where these principles are violated”. But Impala Mine at Marula Mine in Limpopo is resisting independent verification to determine the majority union between NUM and Amcu.
This breaches the letter and spirit of the framework and vindicates the opinion that the agreement is just a public relations exercise. What is the interests of mining companies in refusing to use the independent verifier except ulterior motives?
8.2 Northam Platinum
NUM does not support the presence of Paul Dunne at Northam Platinum. Paul Dunne has a history of dividing workers and unions. He mastered this art at Impala and under his leadership the company triggered a tumultuous tide of turmoil in the platinum sector.
At Impala, he refused to conduct membership verification through an independent verifier. NUM leadership has resolved not to stomach this behavior at Northam Platinum and we don’t rule out the possibility of this man plunging the mining sector into another chaos.
The union will never allow this divisive character to do what he did at Impala Platinum. The DMR should be proactive in promoting the spirit of the Framework by holding defaulting entities responsible for creating a stable labour relations in the platinum sector.
8.3 Harmony Kusasalethu
Contrary to all the efforts made by all the parties to bring about stability at Kusasalethu intimidation is still the name of the game. This went to an extent of the parties signing a brief on the 21 October 2013 committing themselves not to participate on anything that can be interpreted as intimidatory within Kusasalethu premises. Even though, that was the commitment intimidatory songs about some of the NUM leaders are being sung on a daily basis. This has been reported to management on numerous occasions, but nothing is done about it by
9. WOMEN CONFERENCE
The NEC also embraced the fact that the NUM Women Structure national conference will be held from the 19th-20th November 2014.The check in and check out will be on the 18th and 21st respectively.
Source : Congress of South African Trade Unions