Long-serving GS Baleni defeated at NUM congress

By Drum Digital
06 June 2015

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) long-serving general secretary Frans Baleni has been defeated at the union's congress by Free State secretary David Sipunzi.

Baleni had served as the NUM's general secretary for nine years. If he had won the contest, it would have been his fourth term.

The results were announced in the late hours of Friday at the congress held in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg.

It was reportedly a close race with Sipunzi securing 357 of the votes and Baleni 345.

There were those in the union who felt a change of leadership was needed.

The NUM has seen a mass drop in its membership since 2012.

Sipunzi is said to be part of the faction in the Congress of SA Trade Unions which was unhappy about the expulsion of its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Following the announcement of Sipunzi's election, Vavi took to Twitter to express his views on the results.

"Election of David Siphunzi as GS of the NUM is an extremely significant development which may change cause of history," he wrote.

Vavi added: "I hope election of the new NUM leadership may be what we need not only to save NUM but COSATU from destruction."

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