Amcu deputy president gets the axe

The central executive committee of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in the union’s suspended deputy president Nkosikho Joni.

The decision was announced at a press briefing following a meeting of the Amcu central executive committee late on Thursday afternoon by the union’s treasurer general Jimmy Gama. The briefing was called to “provide insight on correspondence with the registrar of labour relations” following a fresh move to challenge Amcu’s registration. 

According to reports, Amcu’s registration is once again in jeopardy, this time over the union’s finances and the legitimacy of its leadership. 

City Press revealed that Amcu was sent a letter by the labour registrar, Lehohonolo Molefe, last month asking about an amount of more than R15-million paid to members of its national executive committee, as well as R30-million that was purportedly used for “operating expenses”.

The Daily Maverick also reported on the letter, revealing that the registrar asked for details about a R200-million payment marked “Income of Rendering Services”.

According to the Daily Maverick report, the union responded to the registrar’s requests asking for an urgent meeting. The Amcu letter reportedly states that the union “has reason to believe” that its suspended national organiser, Dumisani Nkalitshana, has been involved in the establishment of this rival union.

The City Press report further revealed that the suspensions of Joni, as well as that of the union’s national organiser, Neo Mankge, were also raised by the registrar.

On Thursday, Amcu general secretary Jeff Mphahlele would not be drawn on the details of Joni’s suspension, only saying that he is still the subject of internal disciplinary proceedings.

Joni was elected unopposed at Amcu’s national elective congress last year.

The labour registrar’s initial move on the union — which rose to prominence during the labour unrest that led to the Marikana massacre in 2012 — was over its failure to hold an elective congress since 2015.

But the matter was put to bed shortly before the three-day congress was held in September last year.

On Thursday, Gama said Amcu has “many enemies”, including the state and big business. He said the latest “attack” by the registrar comes in the wake of decisions to suspend members of Amcu’s leadership.

Gama also suggested that the move by the registrar has seemingly been co-ordinated by people within its own ranks.

Notably absent from Thursday’s central executive committee meeting was Amcu’s charismatic president Joseph Mathunjwa.

In the past Mathunjwa has been accused of purging union members he has deemed rivals to his leadership.

In July 2018, the Mail & Guardian reported allegations that a group of Amcu officials who opposed Mathunjwa’s leadership had been purged from the union.

The axed officials told the M&G that the reason for their discord with Mathunjwa was the union’s failure to hold a national elective congress since it rose to prominence in the wake of the Marikana massacre in 2012.

At the time, the union’s general secretary Jeff Mphahlele dismissed the claim as “erroneous and false”.

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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