The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) will meet the Labour Registrar on Tuesday after a notice to deregister the union was issued this week.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa on Friday insisted that his union’s affairs are in order and that the possible deregistration of the union is “politically motivated”.
The labour department said in a statement this week that Amcu has not held an elective congress since 2013, in violation of its own constitution and had made “excuses” over why it has not done so.
The notice issued on Tuesday, said registrar of labour Lehlohonolo Daniel Molefe, was acting in terms of Section 106 (2B) of the Labour Relations Act to cancel the union’s registration.
The reasons provided were that the union “ceased to function in terms of its constitution” and that the “trade union is not a genuine trade union as envisaged in the Act”.
The union has been at loggerheads with the registrar over whether it complies with legislation to run a trade union since 2014. Requirements monitored by the registrar include having a constitution, audited finances and holding regular elective conferences.
Mathunjwa said his union was under attack by capital and other “yellow unions” because it truly represented the aspirations of workers and was militant and resolute about their rights.
He could not say who was behind the political conspiracy against his union, but insisted that Amcu’s affairs were all in order and there was no basis for the potential cancellation of its registration.
He said the union was also seeking legal advice on how to deal with the notice issued last week.
Mathunjwa insisted that the only reason a congress had not yet been held is due to the five-month long strike its members were engaged in at the Sibanye-Stillwater mine.
He said Amcu structures were now preparing to hold the elective congress in September this year.
Amcu is not the first union to clash with the labour registrar: the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (Ceppwawu) a Cosatu-aligned chemical union, is still engaged in a legal battle over its status.
Amcu — which rose to prominence during the labour unrest which led to the Marikana massacre in 2012 — began as a breakaway from the ANC-aligned National Union of Mineworkers.
Amcu had last year undertaken to hold its national congress in May 2019, but when contacted about this by the registrar in February, the union said it was concerned over the “unusual attention” the union was paying to it.
Amcu subsequently undertook to hold its congress in September, but the registrar said he was not convinced this would happen.
The notice of deregistration comes on the cusp of the opening of wage talks in the platinum sector, where Amcu is the major labour player. The union has some 200,000 members mostly in the platinum and coal sectors.
The Mail & Guardian reported on infighting in the union last year, after Amcu leadership was insistent on the transferring workers’ savings from the Impala Worker Provident Fund to the Igula fund.