Defiant Malema dangles red flag before Oliphant

2014-09-04 21:16

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

Cape Town - Julius Malema clashed with Deputy Mineral Resources Minister Godfrey Oliphant in Parliament on Thursday, telling him that he failed to grasp issues and that the EFF would keep on bringing up Marikana because it was a thorny issue for the ANC.

Malema on Thursday took his call for the nationalisation of mines to the National Assembly and urged, unsuccessfully, for it to appoint a committee to probe the plight of mine workers.

"The mineral resources of this country belongs to all South Africans and only through nationalisation will the country enjoy a more democratic and socialised ownership and control of mineral wealth by all including the workers," the Economic Freedom Fighters' leader said in a speech to the assembly.

Malema said most mineworkers still earned between R4 000 and R6 000 a month and politicians needed to ensure they were not paid less than R12 500 - the sum demanded by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) in this year's five-month platinum strike.

"The problem is that mining companies refuse to shed off their historical baggage, and still exercise authority to continue the pre-apartheid and apartheid project of enslaving Africans in these mines and rejecting them in the land of their own birth."

Malema added that historically mining houses were drawn to South Africa by cheap black labour, "labour that has been, and still is working and living in slave-like conditions".

The mineworkers' community was plagued by occupational disease, and many were driven to suicide because their self-esteem was eroded by their inability to support their families, he added.

Malema therefore called on Parliament to set up a commission to probe the remuneration and working conditions of mineworkers.

It should consider the practice of transfer pricing, the affordability of a minimum sectoral wage of R12 500 and new legislation to impose standards on housing and health care on mining houses.

Malema found support from the Congress of the People's Willie Madisha, who said: "We need to follow the Nordic model of injecting a healthy dose of socialism in a capitalist order of the day. In the complex world of today it is not either/or."

Clash with Oliphant

But the EFF leader was accused of populism by the Democratic Alliance for calling for nationalisation. Oliphant suggested Malema was uninformed and unqualified to plead the cause of miners because he had never set foot underground.

Oliphant said the ANC remained committed to introducing a national minimum wage for all workers and its members could talk with authority on mines, "not you".

"The struggle for better conditions for mineworkers is historical and continues to be of utmost priority to the African National Congress," he said.

"It is difficult to argue with people who have the laws in front of them, they distort them, they come and talk about mineworkers and some of them have never seen an underground mine in their lives."

He said it was a distortion to hold up Marikana as representative of the industry and insisted that implementation of the Mining Charter had led to considerable improvement in living conditions for miners elsewhere.

"There are over 1 700 mines in this country. That one is just one of them."

Malema countered that it was naive to argue that he could not pronounce on the plight of miners because he was not one of them.

"It looks like you are going to be a deputy minister for a very long time because of your lack of grasping of issues," he told Oliphant.

'We will mention Marikana until you become red'

"We are mentioning Marikana because there was killing of people in Marikana and we mention it deliberately because it pains you, and we are going to mention it until you become red.

"We know this country and therefore you are not qualified to tell us that we mention Marikana because we don't know other mines. That is being naive to even suggest that people can only talk about the mines if they have been underground. That is so petty and naive."

When asked to withdraw the statement he refused.

DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane supported Malema's call for the legislature to look into living conditions at mines, but said the EFF and ANC's economic and labour policies were a recipe for further job losses in the sector.

"What is happening in our mining industry is a disgrace. The conditions that existed at Marikana prior to the massacre still exist today," Maimane said.

He added: "The EFF-ANC approach to mining will be disastrous. It will mean more mineworkers will be unemployed; it will result in more cronyism and corruption; it will hurt the very people it is supposedly meant to help."

The DA proposed that a parliamentary committee mull challenges South Africa faced in drawing investment to the mining sector and combating job losses.

Malema retorted to Maimane that "nobody will take away the right of miners to strike".

Both the EFF and the DA's proposals were voted down. The ruling party said there was no need for a parliamentary committee as government was monitoring mining houses' compliance with the charter.

"We don't need this ad hoc committee," ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani said.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  godfrey oliphant  |  julius malema  |  mmusi maimane

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.
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

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
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.