Nationalise SA's mines? Sounds good, says NUM

The National Union of Mineworkers has come out in support of the ANC Youth League’s push to nationalise mines, as proposed in principle by the Freedom Charter.

The National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM) central committee on Wednesday backed the Freedom Charter’s clause on nationalisation, a principle championed by the ANC Youth League’s leader, Julius Malema.

“The central committee (CC) fully supports the Freedom Charter clause on nationalisation as well as the ANC 2010 NGC resolution on the matter,” the union’s general secretary Frans Baleni said in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The relevant section of the Freedom Charter reads: “The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole.”

“The CC supported in particular the research and reference group mooted by the ANC which would culminate on a formal policy decision,” Baleni said.

The ANC resolved at its national general council to probe the viability of nationalisation and the state’s role in key sectors of the economy.

The party’s youth league, led by its president Julius Malema, put nationalisation on the ruling party’s agenda at its mid-term policy gathering.

Baleni said the union had not held any discussions with the ANCYL on nationalisation but was open to talks. The NUM was “engaging” with the ANC and the party was the “decision-making body” in the matter.

The NUM was briefing the media after its two-day central committee meeting in Boksburg last week.

Secrecy concerns
The NUM also noted the debate in Parliament over the contentious Protection of Information Bill.

“CC supports the need to have public information protected, but not [to] the detriment of… state information being available to the public,” Baleni said.

The union, a Cosatu affiliate, would speak to the federation about a public campaign to reject attempts to give powers to individuals to classify information.

Corruption
The NUM proposed an anti-corruption campaign to be coordinated by the ruling alliance—the ANC, Cosatu, the SA Communist Party and the SA National Civics Organisation.

Baleni said corruption took various forms—with some shop stewards “selling jobs” for between R1 000 and R3 000.

“If you are a woman and you don’t have the cash, you pay in kind,” he said.

Initiatives to curb corruption should include supporting government processes.

Multinational reservations
The NUM central committee was opposed to the sale of Metorex to the Brazilian multinational company, Vale.

“This multinational company has displayed anti-union behaviour wherever they operate.”—Sapa

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