Labour registrar: Infighting, poor financial controls a major threat to unions

The registrar has painted a bleak picture of the state of employers’ associations and bargaining councils, saying that even they are not immune.

FILE: South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) members at a protest. Picture: Samwu Facebook page

JOHANNESBURG - Labour Registrar Advocate Lehlohonolo Molefe says that infighting and poor financial controls remain the greatest threat to trade unions.

In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News, the registrar has painted a bleak picture of the state of employers’ associations and bargaining councils, saying that even they are not immune.

The registrar regulates labour related organisations in the country in accordance with the Labour Relations Act.

At the core of all challenges faced by unions and the other labour relations organisations, is the pursuit of money and power, according to Advocate Molefe.

The country’s trade union movement is worth billions of rand and has accumulated even more wealth through the establishment of investment companies.

But, as Molefe explains, these riches rarely trickle down to members.

“At the core for me, is for everyone to have control over the union, the finances of the union and how it is run. There is just self-interest.”

He said that the upheavals and ethics crisis in society has influenced the state of affairs in these entities.

Last month, Molefe applied to the Labour Court to have the municipal workers union, the South African Municipal Workers' Union placed under administration for, among other things, failing to account for the use of funds.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)