An attack on NUM an attack on all of us - Blade Nzimande

SACP GS condemns the violence and criminality being directed at the union (Oct 27)

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary SACP solidarity message at the workers' rally in Rustenburg, October 27 2012

An attack on the NUM is an attack on COSATU, and an attack on COSATU is an attack on the SACP

I have been sent here by the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party. And why are we here today? We have in the first instance come to express and show our solidarity with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) which is under a huge counter-revolutionary attack especially in this platinum belt of South. Africa. Through this solidarity we are also protecting a decades long, close and joint relationship between South African communists and especially black mineworkers. In fact being here is also to defend our own work as communists in organizing mineworkers in our country. Long Live the memory of JB Marks, who was both the President of the African Mineworkers Union and Chairman of the Communist Party of South Africa in the 1940's.

The SACP is also here today in expression of solidarity with the legitimate struggles of mineworkers for a living wage and a decent social wage. We have also come to express our solidarity with the families who have lost their loved ones through the tragic events at Marikana and in other nearby areas. We express our condolences to the families of all the workers who have died here, both before, during and after the events of 16 August 2012. As the SACP we reject one-sided emphasis on the workers who died in the hands of the police and exclude those killed by a counter-revolutionary and criminal element both before and after those who died in the hands of the police. All workers's lives are equally important and we must not have selective emphasis in this regard.

We have also come here in solidarity with and in defense of our ally, COSATU. As the SACP we have been working on the ground in this area and we are very familiar with the challenges facing the NUM and COSATU here. We want to make it categorically clear that an attack on the NUM is an attack on COSATU, and an attack on COSATU is an attack on the SACP!

We also wish to take this opportunity to strongly condemn the behavior of the mining bosses, for they must take the blame for the super-exploitation of mineworkers; as well as for their attempts to divide and weaken the NUM. Some of the mining bosses are directly responsible for founding and funding the union AMCU as an attempt to build a sweetheart union that will replace the NUM.

The SACP also condemns the violence and criminality directed mainly at the NUM and we call upon the law enforcement agencies to do all they can to apprehend these perpetrators. We call upon our structures to form and strengthen community policing forums (CPFs). But in addition the SACP specifically calls for the formation of committees to defend mineworkers and mining communities, by working closely with the police to identify and apprehend the murderers and intimidators.

The SACP further condemns oMafikizolo (Johhnny come latelies) who call themselves socialists, and opportunistically trying to build their non-existent political organizations on the back of the blood of the workers of Marikana.

We must also condemn the political demagogues, some of whom expelled from our organisations, who are trying to exploit the circumstances of workers to try and revive their political fortunes. Any SACP member found working with these renegades and demagogues will be immediately expelled from the ranks of our Party. We also call upon our Alliance structures to do the same.

The SACP therefore calls upon workers in the mining industry not to be misled by all these opportunists and demagogues. They will always leave workers in the lurch as these have no interests in the welfare of workers as we have always pointed out. Instead we call upon mineworkers to join the NUM as the only genuine union that is best cable to represent the interests of mineworkers. If NUM members have problems with the union, yes they should certainly raise these for purposes of addressing them inside the union and not to walk away from the NUM.

The SACP calls upon COSATU and all it's affiliates to close ranks and to ensure that none of us are fooled by the demagogues and opportunism.

Today, I have seen for myself extreme acts of provocation by these rank opportunists - burning NUM and COSATU t-shirts, seriously assaulting NUM members, trying to disrupt our activities today and even to physically try to attack our marchers. Indeed the police were correct to use rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse these elements. In my deployment in government I will indeed report to the Executive what I saw today and emphasize the need for particular attention to be paid into this area. I will watch very closely how the media report today's events as I was also an eye witness!

I wish to conclude by thanking the COSATU members present here today for their discipline, restraint and refusal to be provoked. Indeed we are here dealing with a counter-revolutionary element which has absolutely nothing to lose. Remember, we have our unions to protect, our federation to defend, an Alliance to strengthen and a country to run!

Source: SACP, Umsebenzi Online, November 1 2012

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