Mining industry does not like workers: Mantashe

By Molaole Montsho

The mining industry does not like workers, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Sunday.

“The industry does not like mineworkers, they want to exploit you to make more money," Mantashe said.

He was speaking about problems in the mines during his political lecture at the Ben Marais hall in Rustenburg.

He said the mining industry would send workers home if they lost limbs or were injured because they were no longer productive.

He said the mines wanted to see the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) destroyed because the union was fighting against exploitation.

"The attack on the NUM is an attack on us. We know the attack is on us. They want to hijack and steal our revolution. They see the mineworkers as a vehicle to hijack the revolution," he said.

"You are not being victims because of your membership to NUM but because you are a loyal member of the revolution."

Mantashe said to restore peace and stability in the mines, companies should not close the NUM offices but leave them open and open an office for the other emerging unions.

"Leave the NUM to service its members and let the workers see the difference."

He said the NUM had a track record and all the other unions were fighting for what NUM had already achieved.

"This is their blood and sweat. The new unions do not bring anything new. What new things are they are bringing? They want all that NUM gains."

Mantashe said the African National Congress had a responsibility to make sure that conditions were improved in areas around the mines.

"The ANC must make sure there is a road in Nkaneng. These conditions are being used to mislead people."

The NUM has lost members since the violent strikes at Impala Platinum in February last year, and at Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin Platinum mine in August and September.

In his welcome speech ANC Bojanala regional chairman Louis Diremelo said NUM had lost close to 35,000 members to the Association of Mine and Construction Workers Union (Amcu).

"The NUM must fight. The action starts today," he said.

SA Communist Party provincial secretary Madoda Sambatha said the struggle for mineworkers should not be used by those who wanted to further their careers.

"You cannot lead workers to a strike and never submit demands to management. In Bokoni, workers went on strike for two months without submitting demands, the only demand was to close the NUM office."

He said the political lectures on Sunday were held to clarify lies being spread about the NUM.