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By Getrude Makhafola

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‘Political mischief’ – NUM tells ‘rogue’ Mantashe to sit down over suspension row

NUM says Mantashe must attend to illegal mining instead.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Thursday told Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe to stay out of its affairs after he called the union’s secretary-general William Mabapa’s suspension “madness”.

Mantashe condemned Mabapa’s suspension during the SA Communist Party (SACP) 102nd anniversary held in Marikana on Sunday.

‘Focus your energies on illegal mining’

NUM said it suspended Mabapa collectively, and not by “a faction or individual”.

Mantashe’s “outbursts” were actually over the ANC’s new deployment list processes, it said.

“The NEC takes serious exception to his intrusive political mischief. Other former senior NUM leaders that are self-respecting have had the decency to contact us privately to seek clarity on these developments.

“The public outbursts by Mantashe are not innocent, they are driven by desperate opportunism now that the ANC parliamentary deployment list process machinery is imminent to roll.”

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The Cosatu affiliated union added that Mantashe must be reminded of illegal mining and the problems caused by zama zamas, urging him to not interfere in union affairs.

Furthermore, said NUM, it never interfered when the ANC expelled its former secretary-general Ace Magashule, Carl Niehaus and others, but respected the governing party’s decisions.

“He should stop his freelancing commentary on NUM affairs and channel his negative energies on the mayhem caused by illegal mining and its damage to the economy and working-class communities.

“He should advance ANC renewal. Here and now, the rogue must stop.”

Unions are losing membership

The ANC chairperson and SACP member gave a no-holds-barred speech in Marikana, decrying the weakened state of the unions.

“I led NUM as general-secretary and it was the biggest union in the federation. Today, the ploletariat state is so weak that it is is close to non-existence.

“We are not discussing that as communists and the alliance, we see it as a national accident, and it is not. We are going to wake up one day to find that all unions no longer exist.”

Mantashe said he raised his concerns with NUM president Dan Balepile.

“You don’t just suspend a secretary-general unless you are mad. It’s madness, you don’t just do that.”

Mabapa was suspended by the union’s national executive committee last month over alleged mismanagement of funds.

According to Business Day, the union is marred by factional battles over the control of its funds.

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