A huge civil suit against President Jacob Zuma, three Cabinet members and the national police commissioner is giving renewed impetus to sensational allegations that senior government leaders and secret intelligence agents were involved in the creation of a new trade union that was apparently intended to lure mine workers, particularly in the platinum industry, away from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).
City Press sister newspaper Rapport reports that the allegations are being made in the High Court in Pretoria in a R120 million claim against Zuma, the ministers of state security, police and defence, and the country’s police chief.
The claim relates to, among other things, the financial affairs of the Workers Association Union (WAU), a new trade union that was established early in 2014 to thwart Amcu’s dramatic rise in the platinum sector in the aftermath of the Marikana massacre at the end of 2012.
This was at the expense of the pro-ANC National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which lost thousands of members to Amcu.
The aggrieved party, Thebe Maswabi, a former Amcu member, who was initially part of a group of so-called Amcu rebels who, in 2013, made allegations of corruption against Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa, said he later formed the WAU on the instructions of Zuma, and received large amounts of cash from intelligence agents to pay for, among other things, the new union’s offices and staff salaries.
The WAU’s money apparently began to dry up after the union failed to lure significant support away from Amcu. This meant Maswabi alone was responsible for the mountain of debt that the union owed creditors, he said.
According to court papers, Zuma and the other defendants last month indicated they would oppose the claim.
A notice in the Government Gazette shows the WAU was registered on February 24 2014.
Bongani Majola, Zuma’s spokesperson, said the matter was sub judice and that it would run its course “in terms of the rules of the court”.
Brian Dube, State Security Minister David Mahlobo’s spokesperson, declined to answer questions about whether Mahlobo had had any contact with Maswabi.
Siphiwe Dlamini, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s spokesperson, said: “Seeing that the matter is now following the court processes, it would be inappropriate to comment before that process has been concluded.”