NUM accuses rival union of witchcraft

2012-06-15 14:25


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - South Africa's top mineworkers union has accused a rival of using witchcraft to boost recruiting, an allegation taken seriously among the rank and file in a country where traditional spiritual beliefs are widely held.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has been locked in a violent battle for membership with the upstart Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) at the world's largest platinum mine, run by Impala Platinum.

"One of the tools which is used strongly is 'muti'," NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni told journalists on Thursday night, referring to traditional medicines that can be made from a range of ingredients including animal or human body parts.

'Very strong sangoma'

Baleni said NUM's members believed that AMCU had a "very strong 'sangoma'," or witchdoctor.

"One of the myths is that if you don't toe the line, especially if you are a man, if you defy them you might have bedroom problems at home," he said.

Sangomas are widely respected by South Africans of all walks of life, including business leaders and politicians.

Baleni later told Reuters it was an issue that was not being taken lightly because many workers believed in such things.

"We are taking it seriously as part of the tactics of this union as our members are telling us about the use of sangomas and muti," Baleni said.

AMCU officials said they were not using witchcraft.

"There is no one among us who is using muti or sangomas. It is rubbish that he is saying. We uphold Christian principles, we don't use sangomas," said AMCU general secretary Jeff Mphahlehle.

NUM has also accused AMCU of using violence to recruit, which it has denied.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    amcu  |  num  |  frans baleni  |  culture  |  labour
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Habana believes in younger Boks
All Blacks ready for a 'hell of a battle'
Barnes to ref Boks, Wales clash
Brave Blossoms: 'Sport heroes of Japan'

Your incisive and innovative mind is on fire. You may be keen to explore new avenues that can help to inspire you. You more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.