NUM will compete with Numsa for members

Numsa on Wednesday said it could possibly extend its scope of recruitment to the mining sector.

National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Thursday said it is ready to compete with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) for membership in the mining sector if the union decides to broaden its scope.

Numsa is South Africa's biggest union with more than 338,000 members.

The union looks set to extend its scope of recruitment into the mining sector.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim on Wednesday said mineworkers previously approached Numsa for membership.

He said next time, workers won't be turned away.

But NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni says he's not surprised by the decision and believes Numsa has been working with its rival union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

"We're not surprised that we saw posters of Amcu in their [Numsa's] congress and we'll take it on."

Amcu says it's not threatened by what seems like an imminent decision by Numsa to start recruiting in its sector.

It also says it has not ruled out the possibility of forming a coalition with Numsa.

Amcu treasurer Jimmy Gama says it doesn't have a formal relationship with the union.

"In South Africa, anything can happen at any time. For instance, if a person takes a certain direction and that direction is in the same line as your direction, there's nothing that can stop parties from engaging."

At the same time, the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) has called on Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)-affiliated unions not to be intimidated by resolutions from Numsa's special congress.

The union adds it respects Numsa's decision to hold a special congress and is eagerly awaiting its conclusion.

Fawu's general secretary Katishi Masemola says, "The outcomes of the Numsa congress must not shock people as we need to look at engage with Numsa."