Zuma ally Baleni re-elected as head of NUM
FRANS Baleni was re-elected as general secretary of the National Union of Mine-workers (NUM) last night at the union's national elective conference at Emperors Palace, near Johannesburg.
Baleni is a known ally of Gwede Mantashe, and is linked to those who want Mantashe and Jacob Zuma re-elected at the ANC's upcoming national conference at Mangaung in December.
Baleni's re-election means that the Zuma camp retains control of the NUM, the biggest affiliate of labour confederation Cosatu.
This is a major boost for Zuma's re-election campaign, as the union could sway Cosatu and other affiliates in his favour.
Delegates had earlier adopted a resolution that mandated the union's national executive committee to pronounce support for the current ANC leadership and emphasise the "principle of continuity".
However, on Friday, Baleni stood up and amended the resolution, saying that it must be in line with a Cosatu decision not to pronounce on its preferred leaders, but to support the current ANC leadership until the Mangaung conference.
"We should emphasise, in terms of assessment, that the congress has evaluated and assessed the output of the current leadership, and, in line with the Cosatu position, that we support the collective elected in Polokwane," he said.
In the initial resolution, the union noted the "personal attacks" that were directed at Zuma and Mantashe. "The NUM will never celebrate or join these attacks, as their intention is to kill the ANC in the brain and the heart."
Baleni refused to reveal the outcome of the assessment that the union undertook. "I don't want to get into those details because there is still a Cosatu process. We are going to be lobbying and influencing others.
"Clearly there is progress that is being made in terms of the implementation of the Polokwane resolutions. There are issues that remain unresolved, which are the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality ... there are measures being put in place by government [to take action] against corruption. So there is progress being made, and there are some issues that remain unresolved, so you cannot paint ... the entire leadership [with the same brush]. It is a question of what further skills are required in terms of strengthening that leadership collective going to Mangaung."
Baleni said the congress also endorsed Zuma's call for unionists to swell the ranks of the ANC.