NUM comes to Zuma’s defence

2012-05-26 20:37

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) used its elective conference this week to come to the defence of President Jacob Zuma.

But it has resolved not to pronounce as yet on who it will support for election to lead the ANC after the governing party’s congress in Mangaung in December.

Allegations of phone-bugging and vote-buying were rife as NUM president Senzeni Zokwana, who had bodyguards with him, was challenged by Joe Montisetse.

Oupa Komane also challenged general secretary Frans Baleni for his position in a heated contest.

Montisetse is seen to be close to Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi and is sympathic to the ANC’s pro-change faction, while Zokwana and Baleni are linked to the ANC’s pro-Zuma faction.

But they denied this.

NUM, with its 320 000 members and R267 million balance sheet, is the mightiest affiliate of Cosatu and its congress is expected to set the tone for the ANC’s policy conference next month, and the Cosatu congress in September.

In the build-up to the congress, some regions called for the union to adopt a resolution to lobby other Cosatu unions to support the re-election of Zuma and the rest of the ANC’s top six in Mangaung.

But Baleni watered it down, saying NUM would support the incumbents until the ANC congress.

“We will then engage ANC structures, including alliance components, before making public pronouncements,”
he said.

The resolution, however, warned against what it termed “personal attacks” on ANC president Jacob Zuma and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

The union has produced some influential ANC leaders, including Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Mantashe and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa.

There were accusations that some candidates were funded by the companies where they organise.

Baleni and Zokwana accused Shiva Uranium of previously supporting a faction materially, but spokesperson Gary Naidoo denied it.

“We are not involved in this process at all and there is nothing for us to admit. The allegation made against us is not true at all.”

On Friday, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba warned the conference about the toll “factionalism” and “succession battles” were taking.

“Leadership squabbles distract the movement from the urgent business of the day. They diminish its standing among the people, and chase the masses away from its ranks and programmes,” he said.

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