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Election of new NUM leadership 'a true product of democracy'

Cosatu's Sidumo Dlamini says he has no doubt the new leadership will move the industry forward.

FILE: Cosatu President Sidumo Dlamini. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) President Sidumo Dlamini has welcomed the newly elected leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers calling it a true product of democracy.

Former Free State secretary David Sipunzi will take up the position of general secretary after Frans Baleni, who has been at the forefront of the party since 2006, was ousted in a close vote.

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

Dlamini says he has no doubt the new leadership will move the industry forward.

"The newly elected leadership of the NUM is a product of a democratic dispensation in the union and Cosatu welcomes all of them equally to take Cosatu forward."

Meanwhile, Baleni has congratulated his successor, saying he is confident that the new leadership will succeed in its mandate.

"Firstly I would like to congratulate the elected leaders. They found the NUM in good hands and they should keep on steering the NUM in the right direction. I have accepted the results as per the delegates."

At the same time, the Chamber of Mines has welcomed the newly elected leadership.

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."

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.