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Frans Baleni voted out of NUM

David Sipunzi, who was the union's Free State regional secretary, beat Baleni by 9 votes.

FILE: Ousted NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG -The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says ousted general secretary Frans Baleni has accepted defeat after serving for almost a decade.

The new general secretary is David Sipunzi who was voted in above Baleni by just nine votes.

Sipunzi was previously the Free State secretary for the union.

Baleni has been at the forefront of the party since 2006 but his service has come to an end after the union felt it needed new leadership.

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."

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

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 drastic drop in membership.