NUM to continue supporting Ramaphosa but will not interfere in ANC issues

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National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) President, Daniel Balepile, says they will continue to support African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa as a founding member of the union, but they will not interfere in ANC issues.

He was speaking at NUM’s 40th anniversary at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday.

NUM was formed to advocate the rights of black mine workers in South Africa. It has a membership of about 300 000 across the mining, energy and metal sectors.

The celebration was, however, marred by last-minute cancellations by some senior ANC leaders, who were scheduled to deliver messages of support as part of the tripartite alliance.

Balepile says, “We are optimistic that the ANC will resolve this matter. We don’t want to really interfere because the ANC is autonomous but then we still support him as our former Secretary-General that is why we are here today. We are here because of what they have formed 40 years ago and we cannot ignore that, we cannot run away from that fact.”

The anniversary comes amid challenges that include job losses, an increase in illegal mining, and the closure of coal mines in the country.

NUM members are hopeful that this milestone will lead to renewed efforts in finding solutions to their challenges.

Two of the members, Kagiso Kekana and Aubrey Kwinana, say the mining industry must empower young people.

“We are hoping that this day that marks NUM turning 40 years brings with it empowerment for our people, our communities, our young people and also our women and this social ills about being abused really comes to an end. Us as young people it’s still a challenge, we find ourselves as a majority but in terms of occupation, we are still behind.”

VIDEO | NUM reiterates support for Ramaphosa:

Meanwhile, COSATU President Solly Phetoe says the ANC must consider the country when dealing with the Phalaphala report.

“When it comes to the issue of Phala Phala, the independent report, our call as Cosutu is that the ANC must take the matter seriously and engage but not to divide the country, not the ANC but the country because while they take a decision on something that is not going to consolidate the agenda for service delivery the country is going to be divided.