Baleni bids farewell to NUM

2015-06-06 11:03
Frans Baleni. (File: City Press)

Frans Baleni. (File: City Press)

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Johannesburg - Former National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary Frans Baleni, who was defeated at the elective congress, will not be returning to the union but will take time off to rest and decide on his future.

"I'm really happy to leave the NUM having served it since 1983 as a member and shop steward and I have been the general secretary from 2006," he told News24 on Saturday.

"The union work is 24 hours. I really never had time with my family. My little daughter is a sporting fanatic so I'm going to enjoy watching her play cricket and so on and I will take my time and decide where do I channel my energies."

Baleni lost the election for the position of National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary to Free State secretary David Sipunzi late on Friday evening 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.

Good and challenging times

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.

Baleni congratulated the NUM's newly elected leadership and told News24 he would always be available to provide any support to them when needed.

Looking back on his time as general secretary, he said there had been good times and some challenging times.

"There are so many good things which we have done.

"The only regret is the 2012 challenges where people were killed, and we lost numbers through violence and intimidation," Baleni said.

The NUM had seen a massive drop in membership numbers since 2012 with the emergence of rival union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

Positive moves

Amcu has since had a strong presence in the mining sector.

Baleni said the NUM's new leadership was tasked with convincing those who had the left the union to return.

"It is one of their assignments to make sure the NUM grows and regains the lost ground.

"We already started and we've seen some positive moves towards our direction. They just need to strengthen that part so that we can get more members returning home."

The NUM's new leadership are:

- President Piet Matosa, former acting president;

- Deputy President Joseph Montisetse, newly elected;

- General Secretary David Sipunzi, newly elected;

- Deputy Secretary general William Mabapa, newly elected;

- Treasurer David Macatha, uncontested;

- Health and Safety chairperson Peter Bailey, re-elected;

- Health and Safety secretary Eric Gcilitshana, uncontested;

- Education chairperson Helen Diatile, uncontested and;

- Education secretary Ecliff Tantsi, uncontested

The Chamber of Mines on Saturday congratulated the NUM's new leaders and said it looked forward to working with them.

"As the chamber we have consistently indicated our willingness to engage with all stakeholders in a meaningful and constructive way and we hope that the new leadership of NUM will be open to such a relationship," chamber president Mike Teke said in a statement.

He also wished Baleni well in his new endeavours.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  num  |  frans baleni  |  zwelinzima vavi

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