Former NUM president willing to engage NUM delegates

Senzeni Zokwana is ready to defend his criticism of newly elected general secretary David Sipunzi.

FILE: David Sipunzi addressed NUM delegates at the union's elective congress. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) president Senzeni Zokwana has told Eyewitness News he is ready to defend his criticism of the union's newly elected general secretary David Sipunzi.

Zokwana said he also stands by his description of Sipunzi's support for Zwelinzima Vavi and expelled National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) as reckless.

He made the comments at the South African Communist Party (SACP)'s special congress in Soweto earlier this month and it's understood this has angered rank and file members of the mining union.

Zokwana's comments about the NUM's new general secretary Sipunzi will be up for debate at the union's NEC meeting starting today.

He said Sipunzi was wrong to make his views public about Numsa so soon after being elected.

"Therefore if he had different views he was not supposed to view those outside the NUM because NUM was part of the union that took that decision. I believe that he was reckless."

Zokwana also said he hopes to clarify his position to NUM members.

"Anger doesn't assist, we need to engage and I hope I'll have time to clarify myself. If NUM invites me to come, I'm willing to engage."

Eyewitness News has learnt that Sipunzi's election has also led to some tension between the union and Cosatu leaders and the federation's president Sdumo Dlamini waited two weeks to congratulate Sipunzi on his new post.