It’s NUM vs NUM as leadership scuffle hits branches

A battle between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) president Piet Matosa and his general secretary David Sipunzi has manifested in violent confrontations between their supporters at branch level in the North West.

Metalworkers union Numsa has emerged as the only winner, as angry NUM members defect.

On Sunday, two NUM members were injured in a fight between the Moab Khotsong mine branch leadership and some of its members, who preferred another candidate. The members, whose candidates were not elected on to the branch committee, staged a protest outside the hall in Stilfontein, near Klerksdorp.

Moab Khotsong is in the Matlosana region, the NUM’s second largest, where it has a majority membership at the coal, iron ore and gold mines.

Matlosana regional secretary Khaya Ngaleka said: “These people are NUM members. Some of them, I know them very well. Some of them are recruiting for Numsa, especially in the Vaal Reefs area. I don’t know their reasons for disrupting, then.”

AngloGold Ashanti this week warned NUM and its members at its Moab Khotsong mine of an unprotected strike planned at the mine because of the election outcome.

An NUM member at a mine in the Klerksdorp area said: “There is a battle between the two factions. It is driven by tribalism and, because of their factional battle, the services are now lagging. If you are not Xhosa or Sotho-speaking, they won’t recognise you as being someone who can lead.”

The aggrieved members who disrupted the Stilfontein meeting claim the region was being influenced by NUM president Piet Matosa, who is trying to keep Sipunzi’s supporters out of leadership positions at branch and regional level.

The relationship between Matosa and Sipunzi is at its lowest point since Sipunzi was elected by a narrow margin to replace the general secretary, Frans Baleni, in 2015.

Matosa dismissed the tribalism claims. “Leaders in the NUM are not elected in terms of the language they speak. They are elected in terms of capacity and capability.”

The president also rejected claims that a factional battle ahead of next year’s conference is behind the tension in Matlosana.

Another NUM member said: “There is an issue between national office bearers of NUM, which is affecting us on the ground level. Some of the factions in Matlosana, specifically in Vaal Reefs area, they are sponsored by national leaders.”

Matosa said: “I do not know where do they take that from, because I’m not aware of the national factions.”

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.


Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world