Labour department questions union’s finances and the legitimacy of office bearers – it could face being deregistered if it does not shape up
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) finds itself in hot water yet again following threats from the employment and labour department, which could result in the organisation being deregistered if it fails to adhere to the Labour Relations Act.
In a letter dated February 13 and signed by the registrar of labour relations, Lehlohonolo Molefe, there are questions regarding the union’s finances and the legitimacy of office bearers of the union.
The latter could see Amcu leader Joseph Mathunjwa and his treasurer-general, Jimmy Gama, having to step down from their positions as they are alleged to no longer be employed by mining companies.
The department has requested that evidence be submitted to ensure that all office bearers are employees as required by the Labour Relations Act.
A source within the union told City Press that the pair were no longer employed at BHP Billiton in Mpumalanga and had not been eligible to run for leadership positions at the union’s elective conference in September last year.
“For you to be employed you must have an employer, so he [Mathunjwa] does not have one. He was dismissed by the company a long time ago. Jimmy Gama is also not an employee of a mine,” the source said.
The elective conference in September was a way for the union to avoid having its status revoked as it had already received a notice from the labour department in April about concerns that new leaders had not been elected in six years.
Just a couple of weeks before the conference was due to be held, Molefe announced that he had decided not to continue with his plans to deregister the union.
This was after a number of written representations from its leaders.
The three-day gathering led to the uncontested re-election of Mathunjwa as the president.
Gama retained his position as national treasurer-general and Nkosikho Joni was elected the union’s deputy president.
Despite the union holding a successful elective conference, the letter from the labour department has requested minutes from the gathering and a signed attendance register.
The union has been asked to account for a sum of R15 million which, according to its financials for the year ended December 2018, was paid to the organisation’s national executive committee (NEC) members.
“List the NEC members who received the above salaries, the designations they hold in the union and the name of their employers,” the letter reads.
An amount of R30 million pertaining to “other operating expenses” is questioned as, according to the letter, it appears as the second-largest sum on the list of expenditures.
“Kindly explain what the expenditure item means,” the letter reads.
Clarity is requested from the union about an amount of R8 million, which is listed in their financials as services rendered.
The letter also states that the auditors had failed to give an opinion as required by the Labour Relations Act section 98(2)(b)(i).
The last issue which the department tackles are the suspensions of the union’s newly elected deputy president, Joni, and the national organiser Neo Mankge.
“Indicate the basis of their suspensions. Kindly submit information to show if due process was followed in the suspensions referred to above,” the letter reads.
City Press understands that the decision to suspend Joni was taken at a central executive committee meeting.
This was allegedly a result of rumours that Joni was planning to dethrone Mathunjwa once he officially started his term in January.
Joni did not, however, get a chance to report for duty as he was informed of his suspension in January and the charges against him were revealed last week.
The disciplinary hearing into Joni’s supposed misconduct is still under way.
A source informed City Press that the organisation was meant to make submissions on these issues to the labour department by this month but the union asked for an extension until April.
Despite initially promising to respond, Amcu secretary Jeff Mphahlele did not respond to questions sent via email and text.
Political journalist | City Press
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