NUM statement on the current racist attacks on the black majority South Africans
The National Union Mineworkers (NUM) would like to join scores of South Africans and various progressive organisations in condemning the brutal racist attacks on black majority South Africans by Penny Sparrow, Justin Van Vuuren, Louis Jordaan and Chris Hart over the past few days.
The NUM is however not surprised by these pathetic racial slurs hurled at the Black South Africans by white apartheid beneficiaries and racist demagogues. The NUM has been fighting racism since its inception in 1982 in the Mining, Construction and Energy sectors where it organises.
It is through the NUM that mineworkers who have for many years of service were given only a helmet and a pair of boots on their retirement and are today able to receive retirements benefits.
When the NUM was formed 34 years ago it organised in an environment where killings, unlawful arrests, racism and detentions were rife. The security forces were very brutal to the mineworkers. The mighty NUM confronted the organised power of the mining conglomerates. The mining conglomerates together with the apartheid regime waged a brutal war on the mineworkers.
The mining companies used the apartheid security to batter the struggle of human rights and dignity. It was during this difficult time that the NUM confronted the mining conglomerates and the apartheid regime that it possessed the organisational capacity to challenge them head-on. The NUM remained fearless and unshaken in fighting for the living conditions of mineworkers and for them to earn decent salaries.
This is, of course, is a tip of the iceberg, as we are of the view that we need to expose those in board rooms and in management structures that hamper successful implementation and achievement of economic transformation. These are subtle racists, whose sole objective is to ensure that the economic wealth of this country remains in the hands and control of the white male dominant minority.
We have noticed a trend in major mining and construction companies of portraying South Africa as lacking in black qualified executives to run these companies successfully. Thus, the non-compliance with the Mining Charter targets on Ownership and Employment Equity targets will forever be unacceptable and failure to sanction the culprits can only be construed as aiding and abetting these racist boards and shareholders of these entities.
The NUM, therefore, vows to fight tooth and nail to ensure that these racist elements are removed from these companies forever and compel the implementation of transformative legislation e.g. The Employment Equity Act, MPRDA etc.
We thus call on our members and broader South African public to identify and expose these rogue elements within our society; we must ensure that all public and private institutions terminate service level agreements with their companies, farms or hotels/restaurants. We call on all companies to convene urgent employment equity committees to identify and eradicate all racial and gender discrimination such as salary discrepancy, promotions and conditions of employment (Housing and Living Conditions).
We will be mobilising our members and call our Federation COSATU to strengthen this fight against RACISM, even if we shut down all economic sectors we are organising. As the mining and construction sectors are at the heart of racial discrimination, thus benefited from land dispossession and force migrant labour from former homelands by the apartheid government.
Statement issued by William Mabapa: NUM Deputy General Secretary, 5 January 2015