Chamber of Mines welcomes appointment of new NUM general secretary

Former Free State secretary David Sipunzi will now lead the union after taking the position by just 9 votes.

NUM members at the 15th National Congress on 5 June 2015. Picture: Twitter via @NUM_Media.

JOHANNESBURG - The Chamber of Mines has welcomed the newly elected leadership in the National Union of Mineworkers ( NUM).

General Secretary Frans Baleni, who has been at the forefront of the party since 2006, was ousted in a close vote yesterday.

The vote, which took place at the union's four day elective congress in Boksburg this week, was finalised last night.

Former Free State secretary David Sipunzi will now lead the union after taking the position by just nine votes.

The chamber says while it is looking forward to working with the newly elected leadership in the interests of its stakeholders, it has thanked Baleni for his service to the mining industry.

Spokesperson Zingaphi Matanzima-Jakuja says, "We hope we can have a constructive and meaningful relationship as we work towards putting the mining industry on the frontfoot. We really value the relationship we have with all our stakeholders."

While it is understood he was seeking his fourth term in office, NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu says Baleni accepted the vote and will step down.

"I can tell you he accepted defeat. He shook hands with the newly elected leadership."

Sipunzi is understood to be leading a faction that is unhappy with the Congress of South African Trade Union's expulsion of Zwelinzima Vavi and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.

Since then, the NUM has been struggling with a drop in membership.