Amcu’s Joseph Mathunjwa takes fight to Jacob Zuma

2013-05-16 19:34

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) will stage a march to the Union Buildings that will bring the economy of South Africa to a “standstill”, union leader Joseph Mathunjwa has said.

Addressing over 4 000 mineworkers at the Karee Hostel Stadium where a memorial service for regional Amcu organiser Mawethu Steven was held today, Mathunjwa said they wanted to tell President Jacob Zuma to act against killings that have threatened to reignite violence in the volatile Rustenburg mines.

Steven was gunned down in a tavern last Saturday.

“Amcu will stage a march that will put this country’s economy to a standstill. We will march to the Union Buildings and we are going to exercise our rights and (tell) the president that we are sick and tired of this union bashing and killings taking place in Rustenburg,” said Mathunjwa.

He did not indicate when the march would take place.

Mineworkers ululated as Mathunjwa criticised government for not doing enough to curb the killings of union members and for allowing criminals to “murder people as if they (killers) will get bonuses and awards”.

Mathunjwa took a swipe at politicians who have business interests and said that this was a conflict of interest that could lead to killings similar to those of 34 striking Lonmin mine workers exactly nine months ago today.

“I call upon all politicians that if they want to be business people, they must leave politics because once they mix these two we will always see the 34 of Marikana. We will be killed every day because this is a serious conflict of interest,” said Mathunjwa.

Lawyers representing the families of the slain mine workers at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, including Advocate Dali Mpofu and Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, attended the service but Ntsebeza said they only wanted to express their condolences to Steven’s family and could not make any comments as the commission was still ongoing.

Stanford Tungele, Steven’s best friend and colleague, spoke candidly about his friend and how he had warned him on numerous occasions not to go out alone for fear of his safety.

Tungele said he too was meant to have died with Steven on that day but could not join him at the tavern where four gunmen fired 14 bullets that killed his friend.

Masakhane Buso, who spoke on behalf of Steven’s family, said his relatives were distraught at the death of this respected unionist.

“Some people are happy that he is dead, but as his friends we must have peace in our hearts. As a family we were still expecting a lot from him and we want Amcu to show us the way to forgiveness,” said Buso, who is also a mine worker.

Mathunjwa described Steven as “a man among men” and an honest and respected unionist.

“I’ve never seen such a respected and honourable man,” said Mathunjwa.

Steven had rejected many attempts to coax him away from Amcu “but he saw these many meeting he was called to, for what thy were, attempts to use him to destroy Amcu,” said Mathunjwa.

Steven will be laid to rest at his home in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

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