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Thu Oct 23 13:05:38 SAST 2014

Reject Malema's 'hogwash', return to work: NUM

Sapa | 12 September, 2012 07:26
A memorial service for the stricking miners that died in Wonderkop Marikana protest shot at by Police. Julius Malema attacking Gorvernment during his speech at the memorial.
Image by: SIMPHIWE NKWALI

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has appealed to miners to reject expelled ANCYL leader Julius Malema's "hogwash" and return to work.

"Thousands of miners stand to lose their jobs due to irresponsible comments by Malema and his ilk," spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said.

Speaking to striking workers at Gold Fields' Driefontein mine outside Carletonville, on Tuesday, Malema called on all workers to strike.

"There must be a national strike at all the mines until Frans Baleni and the NUM leadership step down with immediate effect," Malema told the workers.

Baleni is the union's secretary-general.

The union said Malema's statement was "irresponsible".

"His call on workers to embark on illegal strikes is totally irresponsible and childish.

"We condemn his attack on NUM leadership and the behaviour of taking advantage of vulnerable people to score cheap political points."

Seshoka said it was "fallacious" for Malema to claim that Baleni owned shares in the mining sector, or that he received money from mining houses.

"The claim that Baleni sits on boards of mining houses is untrue. We will investigate all these claims and take appropriate legal action."

The mine employed around 15 000 people, and 80% of them belonged to NUM.

Among their demands, handed in the previous day, was that the NUM leadership at their branch be replaced.

A group of up to 1 500 workers, who were NUM members, brought their grievances directly to management.

"They are doing this outside of the formal NUM structures," company spokesman Sven Lunsche said.

At the same time, the union's regional leaders were at the mine trying to resolve the situation. They held meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

Lunsche said a similar scenario had played out at KDC East mine last week. A demand there was also that the NUM branch leadership be removed. That was resolved after intervention by NUM, and workers returned to their posts.

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