Zwane must resign or President Zuma must fire him - Cosatu

2016-11-24 21:07
Cosatu deputy general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali (Netwerk24)

Cosatu deputy general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Minerals and Energy Minister Mosebenzi Zwane must go, labour federation Cosatu has said.

Cosatu has slated Zwane for allegedly sowing division and failing to lead.

"He is a weak and polarising figure that has failed to deal with the biggest issues, like retrenchments, illegal mining and ongoing violence," general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali told the media on Thursday.

The federation held its central executive committee (CEC) meeting from Monday to Wednesday where it concluded that it had no confidence in the minister.

Ntshalintshali said if Zwane doesn't step down "then he must be dismissed".

Statistician General Pali Lehohla announced on Tuesday that the mining sector alone shed 9 000 jobs in the third quarter of 2016 after two successive quarterly losses.

'Collusion with unions'

A Cosatu official told News24 that they were told by some shop stewards that Zwane was working with rivals the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu). He alleged Zwane was meeting them secretly ahead of joint meetings to resolve the continuing tensions at several mines that have led to the deaths of several mineworkers.

"His collusion with other unions to isolate and attack the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was the last straw for the CEC," Ntshalintshali said.

Despite repeated attempts to get hold of Zwane, he could not be reached for comment.

NUM general secretary David Sipunza, who was not attending the CEC, confirmed that Zwane failed to meet with them on numerous occasions to deal with some of the crises in the industry, especially the killings in the mine sector.

Another Cosatu affiliate leader told News24 that members of the CEC were also infuriated by Zwane's lack of action at Lily Mine in Barberton where three mineworkers remain trapped since a shaft collapse nine months ago despite a continued campaign by Cosatu and NUM.

The families of Solomon Nyarenda, Yvonne Mnisi and Pretty Nkambule have still not received money promised by Zwane following the tragedy in February.  

It is understood the Cosatu CEC also discussed other ministers including Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi with regards to the "collapse" of the National Health Insurance.

Support for judicial inquiry

"However it was felt Zwane had failed dismally, instead of dealing with the crisis in the mining industry, he was trying to resolve the Gupta family's bank problems," the official said.

President Jacob Zuma has previously reprimanded Zwane and the minister apologised for releasing a statement saying that Cabinet had called for a judicial inquiry into the closure of Gupta company accounts by four banks.

Zwane also courted controversy earlier this month when he tried to interdict the release of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's State of Capture report.

Cosatu has supported her recommendation for a judicial inquiry.  

"The meeting supported the call for a judicial inquiry to look into the alleged corruptive relationship between President Jacob Zuma and other Cabinet ministers and the Gupta family," Ntshalintshali said.

He however would not be drawn into comment on Zuma's statement in the National Assembly on Wednesday that he would not "jump to establish an inquiry". Zuma said Madonsela's report was unfair.

Cosatu wants the scope of "state capture" investigations extended as more government institutions are "captured".

Read more on:    cosatu  |  mosebenzi zwane  |  jacob zuma

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