NUM urges ANC to be firm with Aurora

[] — NATIONAL Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Spokesperson Frans Baleni on Friday urged the ANC to end the “love relationship’ between besieged Aurora Empowerment Systems management and its liquidators.

Baleni was commenting on the ANC’s recent National General Council meeting held in Durban last week adding that the ruling party should implement decisions taken at the policy convention.

The union’s National Executive Committee (NEC) was concerned about Aurora Employees who have at times gone with no wages for at least six months.

“The NEC is worried that whilst the Aurora workers find themselves under trying circumstances and extremely desperate situations with no food, Aurora management leads an extremely extravagant lifestyle,” Baleni said.

“The NEC further urged mining operators in general to recruit and hire the desperate Aurora workers who now face yet another bleak Christmas,’ he added.

The cash-strapped mining company, owned by President Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma and Zondwa Mandela, grandson of former president Nelson Mandela, has been under the spotlight following a series of employee strikes and deaths at its Grootvlei mine in the East Rand.

Baleni was also “highly perturbed” by the number of workers who continued to die in South African mines, particularly at Harmony Gold where 15 miners died this year.

The union was concerned by the jobs “blood bath” at Goldfields, where 10 000 workers remained in the retrenchment queue.

The NEC said it opposed retrenchment “at all costs” and would make sure the union’s “opposition is felt by the company”.

“We call on Goldfields to think properly on what they want to do. Retrenchment cannot be an option as far as we are concerned,” said Baleni.

“The NUM calls on the progressive forces to unite, avoid cheap politicking on the outcomes of the NGC and move decisively in confronting social ills that affect society as a whole.”