NUM to discuss performance of ANC leadership

2012-05-22 13:33

The leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has dismissed claims that it would back President Jacob Zuma for re-election in Mangaung.

NUM general secretary Frans Baleni said the union, which starts holding its four-day elective conference in Kempton Park tomorrow, would instead discuss the performance of the current ANC leadership when it meets.

He was reacting to news reports that the union would call for Zuma’s retention at the ANC elective conference in Mangaung later this year. Baleni is said to be part of a faction in the union that sympathises with Zuma.

“On the issue of whether we support Jacob Zuma or not, we support the leadership that was elected in Polokwane. We will do an assessment of the (national executive committee) and influence the outcomes in Mangaung,” Baleni said.

The NUM conference is expected to set the tone for other conferences that are set to follow this year among the allied unions and organisations in the Tripartite Alliance, including Cosatu, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the SA Communist Party.

In policy discussion documents for the conference, Num spells out its opposition to the nationalisation of mines.

This is likely to pit against Numsa which has come out in support of those within the ANC who want mines to be put under state control.

Baleni said there was evidence that state ownership was not necessarily “progressive”, saying those who were calling for it were merely being militant to gain popularity.

He cited the failure of the Aurora mine, which is co-owned by Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma, as an example of why people who had no underground experience should not make decisions on behalf of mineworkers.

The union is expected to also come out against the inclusion of nuclear in the country’s energy strategy, saying the country should rather focus on renewable energy. It said there was no clarity on the storage of nuclear waste.

“The South African economy can’t afford nuclear plants. There is room for corruption which is much bigger than the arms deal,” NUM said.

The conference is also expected to push for the decriminalisation of sex work, something that has divided Cosatu unions in the past.

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