ANCYL may open branches at mines

[] — The ANC Youth League is “seriously considering” opening branches at mines after the National Union of Mineworkers criticised comments by league president Julius Malema.

“The ANC Youth League is now seriously considering launching ANC Youth League branches in mines so that workers interests are properly defended,” ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said in a statement on Monday.

He claimed the union was protecting the interests of mine bosses and investors, to the detriment of workers.

“The ANC Youth League is very concerned by unions that at every given opportunity defend the interests of mine bosses, who are the major beneficiaries of mining in South Africa whilst workers are working under unsafe conditions and underpaid.”

On Sunday NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said the union was “highly perturbed” by Malema’s threats to close down mines if they were not nationalised.

According to the Sunday Independent, Malema further vowed ANC leaders who opposed his efforts to put the country’s mines in the state’s hands would be removed from the party.

“Comrades we are not threatened… we will fight until we realise economic freedom in our lifetime. Political power without economic power is useless,” he said at the launch of the league’s nationalisation campaign in Maandagshoek, Limpopo.

The league accused the NUM of resorting to “conservative politics”, by reacting to Malema’s comments without clarifying them with the ANCYL president first.

Shivambu said mineworkers were not “properly led” because “those who are supposed to lead” were “obsessed with their investments in mining”.

Malema referred to mines in the Maandagshoek area as “daylight robbers”.

“The people who steal these resources play golf in London. They know nothing about your poverty. These mines (have) brought nothing but sickness.”

Reacting to Malema’s comments, Seshoka said on Sunday: “Not only does the NUM finds the utterances unacceptable, but (they) threaten the livelihoods and security of jobs of the over 400 000 mineworkers employed in the industry.”

The union insisted that nothing affecting its workers would be done without their involvement.

“Whilst the NUM supports state intervention in strategic sectors of the economy in order to alleviate dire poverty within the populace, we refuse to be blackmailed, indoctrinated and manipulated by juveniles.”

Political hyenas

The union supported the ANC’s resolution, taken at its recent national general council (NGC), that proper research be done on nationalisation. The NGC mandated the ANC’s national executive committee to conduct the probe into the viability of the state playing a larger role in strategic sectors of the economy.

Malema recently called for Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to be disciplined over comments he made regarding the danger “political hyenas” posed to the youth league.

Vavi on Sunday said the ANC should deal “decisively” with those lobbying for positions ahead of the party’s 2012 elective conference.

“We are saying deal with the fellows who start the (contestation) debate for the (ANC’s national) conference which is far away,’ he told delegates attending a shop stewards’ council.

It was recently reported that the ANCYL campaigned for its former president Fikile Mbalula to replace current ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe in 2012.

Without mentioning the ANCYL, Vavi said there were people who thought they would launch a election campaign during the ANC’s NGC in Durban last month.

Mantashe is a former NUM general secretary. The union is Cosatu’s largest affiliate.