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EXCLUSIVE: Joseph Mathunjwa’s 2019 election as Amcu president set aside by Labour Court

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union leader Joseph Mathunjwa. (Photo: Gallo Images / The Times / Masi Losi)

Mathunjwa’s 2019 election as president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union has been declared ‘unlawful’ and set aside by the Labour Court in Johannesburg. 

The case was launched by Nkosikho Joni, Amcu’s suspended deputy president, and the verdict – which Mathunjwa may appeal – will have a profound impact on South Africa’s labour scene if it holds. 

A lawyer who has looked through the judgment told Business Maverick the heart of the matter was that Mathunjwa has not been employed by a company since 2013. Page 19 of the judgment says that his “stay as president after (2013)… was no longer in compliance with the Constitution. Therefore, he automatically was not eligible to stand and or be elected as the President of Amcu.” 

The judgment concludes that Mathunjwa’s election as president in September 2019 was “unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid, and is set aside”. 

The judgment was handed down on Monday and sources from other unions say it explains why Mathunjwa was absent this week from rallies and talks that led to Amcu and three other unions applying for a strike certificate against Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold division. 

“The invalidity is from the date of the order, not from the date of the election. Which means that any actions Mathunjwa has taken since the election are not automatically invalid,” said the lawyer who has looked at the document for Business Maverick. 

If Mathunjwa appeals, he can remain president pending the outcome, Business Maverick understands. Business Maverick has asked Mathunjwa if he intends to appeal. 

The charismatic Mathunjwa has been a force to be reckoned with since Amcu dislodged the National Union of Mineworkers as the dominant union on the platinum belt almost a decade ago. The aftermath included the Marikana Massacre, a violent turf war between the rival unions and waves of unrest and strikes. 

One can hardly conceive of Amcu without the outsized presence of Mathunjwa, who combines an intense Christian faith and African nationalism with strident calls for class conflict. DM/BM

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  • I can’t be the only one who wishes our politicians, business and labour leaders would become gangsters of love (like in the Johnny Watson song) rather than simply gangsters. It’s sad that the people who hand over power are left powerless in so many facets of life to simply feed the egos of those we hand mandates to. *sigh*