Ramaphosa slams 'evil' union vote buying

2015-06-04 15:21
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The jostling for positions for financial gain and the buying of votes was an "evil" that had crept into NUM and even the ANC, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

Ramaphosa was addressing the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) congress in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, in his capacity as ANC deputy president.

Ramaphosa was also a former general secretary of the NUM.

"We did not fight for positions," he said, referring to the time he was in the union.

"If you were given a position it was a position to work, it was not a position to get money into your pockets."

Money at that time was not a factor in NUM and there was no buying of votes, he said to loud cheers and whistling from the delegates at the congress.

"This tendency has crept into our movement. It's not only in our movement, it is also in our ANC," Ramaphosa said. 

"This is an evil we must root out."

NUM will be electing a new leader at the congress on Friday.

The post of general secretary, held by Frans Baleni for the past nine years, is being contested by Free State region secretary David Spunzi.

The deputy general secretary position will be contested by Simon Montoedi and William Mabapa and deputy president contested by Joseph Montisetse and Mbuyiseli Hibana.

Acting president Piet Matosa is expected to stand for the position of president uncontested.

'Members first'

Ramaphosa on Thursday urged the union to "go back to basics", which was the theme of the congress.

He said this revolved around two words: "members first".

NUM has experienced a significant decline in membership over the past three years since the formation of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

Ramaphosa said NUM had to start putting its members first.

"Leaders must stop being arrogant, they must start having humility. If you have to go on your knees to serve members, then you must do that. That's what going back to basics means."

He said NUM used to be at the cutting edge of serving members and had been determined to go out and recruit members.

Leaders also needed to listen to their members.

Ramaphosa said this was something President Jacob Zuma was very good at.

"One good thing about our president [is that] he pays attention to what our people are saying... That's what our people want. That is where we must get rid of arrogance."

He urged the union to remember its traditions and where it came from.

If it did that members would start returning.

"Yes your membership has gone down, but that is life... the membership  of NUM will go up once again."

Read more on:    num  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  johannesburg  |  labour

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