Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union president Joseph Mathunjwa has accused rival trade unions the National Union of Mineworkers and Solidarity of “promoting and protecting the interests of the economic beneficiaries of apartheid and colonisation”.
He made these allegations during an urgent media briefing on Tuesday morning to address the protracted Amcu-led strikes at Sibanye-Stillwater.
The irate Mathunjwa accused Sibanye chief executive Neal Froneman of utilising underhanded tactics in trying to force Amcu to stop the strike and also accused trade unions NUM, Solidarity and United Association of South Africa (Uasa) of working hand in hand with Sibanye in an attempt at getting Amcu’s strike declared unprotected.
“NUM has clearly lost its cause” and is “no longer representing the plight of the working class, but rather promoting and protecting the interests of the economic beneficiaries of apartheid and colonisation,” said Mathunjwa.
He went on to say that “it had become crystal clear that the NUM loves their masters like [Sibanye CEO Neal] Froneman, more than Froneman loves himself. They have joined in eating the fruits of the labour of the black mineworker”.
The trade unionist said he was not surprised that Solidarity, the Uasa and NUM were aligning themselves with Sibanye and the plight of mine workers.
Solidarity and Uasa have always been “small minority white unions” who have “always been sweetheart unions, so the only job was to convince them to side with NUM”, said Mathunjwa.
He accused Froneman and the other unions of holding secret meetings, threatening and intimidating Amcu members and “even parading them before managers and forced them to resign from the union”.
Mathunjwa said some members were even given fake membership forms to complete and submit in an attempt to shift the power away from his union to the other unions, who had already rallied together and were being manipulated by Sibanye.
Moreover, Mathunjwa argued that “Froneman has also unleashes the strongest weapon in his arsenal, a jobs blood bath”.
“Literally hours after being served papers of Amcu’s application to the Labour Court to challenge the manner in which Amcu’s strike was rendered unprotected and unlawful, Sibanye-Stillwater rushed to Amcu to deliver a notice to cull almost 6000 jobs,” said Mathunjwa.
Amcu has called on investors to stop financing Sibanye-Stillwater.
“Amcu is calling on all responsible shareholders who invest in Sibanye-Stillwater to disinvest immediately, and send a clear signal to Froneman that he cannot crush the livelihoods of black mineworkers and the communities that feed the mines.
“He cannot continue with his apartheid-style neo-capitalism of exploiting the majority for the benefit of a minority of fat cats,” said Mathunjwa.
He promised to spare no resource to stop the jobs blood bath at the gold mines and to “expose Froneman for every unethical move he makes”.