Call for second mines probe

2012-09-18 00:00

COSATU has called for a second, independent commission of inquiry to work alongside the judicial one investigating the employment and social conditions of miners. The labour federation is also set to decide whether it would be fighting for a national minimum wage so that “poverty wages” would be brought to an end.

At the end of the first day of Cosatu’s congress, general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi read a special declaration on Marikana, drawn up last week by the general secretaries of five affiliates, including NUM, Numsa and Sadtu.

According to the declaration, the second commission of inquiry should also look at the “global context of the industry”. Such a commission would be linked to a Cosatu campaign for the “complete transformation of the mining industry”.

It would also trace the history of the mining industry in SA, “including the past and present discriminatory practices and the history of treating mine workers as subhuman”.

The declaration also speaks out about the use of force and unconstitutional measures to resolve the disputes. It says Cosatu abhors the use of “brute force by the police against workers in all labour disputes”, and it also calls for the demilitarisation of the police force.

It also says the police have failed to act against those who physically attack NUM, but adds that a call for police to act properly isn’t a call for the “violent repression of protesting workers”. It also calls for unity in the NUM, and for workers not to break away if they have grievances.

Cosatu said it would make a “strong appeal to any NUM member who has a genuine grievance against the union to channel this through the union, or via Cosatu if necessary”.

It also calls on the police to investigate, arrest, prosecute and convict those guilty of attacks on mineworkers and their families.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said Cosatu should be careful not to blame the government entirely and exempt the mining companies.

The congress adopted the declaration with a few alterations.

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