Marikana aftermath – Media isn’t reliable

2012-09-01 11:12

The media has proven to be both inconsistent and unreliable in its reporting of the Marikana massacre.

This especially with regards to their unverified reports of rock-drill operators earning only R4 000 a month.

Rock-drill operators actually earn between R8 000 and R10 000 a month.

Secondly, the media has been quick to blame the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) for being unable to negotiate better wages for miners as well as being preoccupied with business transactions.

It is the same media that blames the NUM and other trade unions for negotiating above-inflation wages.

Their argument is that labour is inflexible, and that demands are unreasonable and fuel inflation.

After Marikana, opposition parties and the media are finding the NUM guilty of failing the miners by not adequately advocating on their behalf and being busy with “politics and business”. Both accusations are baseless and fallacious.

The NUM, through the Mineworkers Investment Company does invest, but not in the areas where it organises and thus there is no conflict of interest.

A decision to invest was taken to assist miners and their children.

The NUM has taken more than 800 miners’ children to tertiary institutions across the country and all of them have graduated.

The NUM has gone beyond taking care of its members.

Our contribution is huge and we continue to champion the rights of the marginalised.

Those who argue the NUM is out of touch with its members are only entertaining a figment of their imagination and wish the NUM out of politics.

It is, of course, unsurprising because trade unions have become a nightmare for political parties in South Africa, while the mainstream media have become agents of the opposition.

Though NUM members have been under attack at Impala and Lonmin, the media continued to project it as a clash of the unions, even when it became clear who was behind the violence.

The media continued to call it a titanic membership battle.

Many in the media dream of weakened trade unions, which would result in a weakened alliance.

When the expelled president of the ANC Youth League visited Marikana, the media labelled it the “filling of a leadership vacuum”. Our media must explain what its real agenda is.

»Montoedi is deputy general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers



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