Vavi: NUM officials being targeted
Zwelenzima Vavi says there is a campaign underway to wipeout NUM shop stewards at mines.
JOHANNESBURG - Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi said there is a violent, well-orchestrated campaign underway to wipe out National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) officials at mines.
Vavi was speaking at the South African Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo) meeting in Benoni on Saturday.
He said scores of NUM shop stewards have had to flee the mines becasue they are being targeted for assassination.
At least four union shop stewards have been killed in the North West since the strikes began.
He said it was up to the police to bring the violence to an end.
"We called the Minister of Safety and Security to ensure that police improve their intelligence capacity in order to get to the bottom of this wave of violence, intimidation and killing of shop stewards."
He said the mining industry was exploiting the wildcat strikes currently underway by embarking on downsizing programs.
"This first started at Impala Platinum at the beginning of the year where 2000 workers lost their jobs and 1000 more were rehired on lower pay after going on an illegal strike."
Vavi said this free of charge downsizing will worsen the relationship between unions and mine bosses.
He also came out hitting at the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) by saying they are misleading workers by encouraging them to continue with their illegal protest action - when it's known that it has no power to negotiate with mine bosses on the workers behalf.
The DSM has been coordinating strikes in the mining sector since it began in Marikana.
They are encouraging workers to defy the mining company's threats of dismissal.
The political party is not recognised to negotiate the reinstatement of workers, and Vavi said this will lead to Cosatu having to clean up their mess after miners are fired.
"This party wanting to gain some form of ascendancy in our country's political landscape are leading workers into a ditch."
But the DSM's Mametlwe Sebei said they were only catering for people who are frustrated by the ANCled alliance and are looking for a viable alternative.
"If you look at the overwhelming majority of poor working class that feel disenfranchised, you would realise they need a political party of their own, and the DSM is campaigning for that."