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Peace process in jeopardy as another Marikana NUM member is murdered


Luphert Chilwane is media officer for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Kaiser Madiba was a National Union of Mineworkers organiser — his murder needs to be urgently investigated as it destabilises the peace process.

It is time for all the labour unions, mining industry bosses and government ministers to revisit the framework for a sustainable mining industry, and government’s peace pact aimed at stabilising labour relations.

The killing last week of Kaizer Lungisa Madiba, a member of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and an employee at Sibanye-Stillwater by unknown assailants at Lonmin’s Roland Shaft next to Marikana, brings more questions than answers. Who should account for this loss of precious life?

Madiba was on his way to work when he was shot and killed next to Roland Shaft. He had been instrumental in making sure that workers are well-represented on labour-related matters, and his affiliation to NUM could be the main reason why he was shot and killed.

It is a matter of concern because a number of people have been assassinated irrespective of their right to join a trade union of their choice. This latest atrocity demonstrates that the framework agreement for a sustainable mining industry is simply not being effectively implemented.

The peace pact, brokered by the then-deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, was aimed at resolving the issues bedevilling the mining sector. It was signed in 2013, and up to today, it is still highly questionable why the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) refused to sign it.

Among the key factors of the agreement is to ensure that workers and managers not be harmed for exercising their constitutional right to join a trade union of their choice, declare disputes, strike and engage in any form of peaceful protest. It aimed at ensuring that all matters pertaining to labour relations, including union recognition agreements, verification of membership and wage negotiations, were conducted within the Labour Relations Act.

The peace pact also forces labour unions to maintain peace during protests relating to labour disputes and to protect life and property.

NUM is shocked but not surprised by the latest killing. The union is finalising logistics to jointly host a massive rally with Cosatu in Marikana on 17 November 2019. The aim of organising the rally is to reclaim lost members and resuscitate NUM in the platinum belt.

Since the start of the rampant killings in 2012, NUM has never held a national rally in the area. Mineworkers have long been calling for such a rally, and we expect about 20,000 workers will attend the rally.

The union is concerned that Sibanye-Stillwater’s preoccupation with profits and police incompetence may once again lead to a serious bloodbath in the platinum sector. Sibanye-Stillwater is one company that has all the signs of being unpatriotic.

NUM members will be marching to Sibanye head office on a date yet to be decided, to raise concerns, including the continued violent incidents and intimidation at workplaces.

It appears that the police and all other law enforcement agencies are doing very little to stop the killings in Marikana. Poor people, in particular mineworkers, are gradually losing confidence in the ability of the police services to protect innocent civilians. DM


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