Johannesburg – UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has warned the Labour Department against its plans to deregister the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), saying it would trigger instability.
On Wednesday, the department published a notice in the Government Gazette indicating its plans to cancel the registration of Amcu.
Details are still sketchy as to why the department has moved to deregister the influential union, a breakaway from the ANC-aligned National Union of Mineworkers, and which rose to prominence in the labour unrest that preceded the 2012 Marikana massacre.
Holomisa said the move by the department smelled of political machinations aimed at taming the union.
He called on the department to come clean about the reasons for the cancellation against Amcu, which mainly organises in the platinum sector, with around 200 members.
“Everyone is surprised by this decision. The department must take the public into its confidence and state the reasons why it is intending to cancel the registration of this union.
“They must specify the legislation that was violated by the union as well, otherwise this is laced with politics,” Holomisa said.
According to a notice written by registrar of labour relations, Lehlohonolo Daniel Molefe, the cancellation was triggered by the fact that “the union has ceased to function in terms of its constitution”, and “the trade union is not a genuine union as envisaged in the act”.
Amcu ended its five-month long strike at Sibanye Stillwater this week, where it initially demanded a R1000 wage hike, and eventually settled for the R700 which had been accepted by other unions.
Holomisa said the cancellation, which would effectively disable the union from organising in mines or collecting subscription fees from its members, would create instability in the country and the mining industry, as members of the union would be left without a trade union to belong to.
“It is going to create serious tension and instability in the mining industry and in the country. These members will take to the streets because that is what they know,” Holomisa said.
He said the department had to also prove that all other registered unions were compliant with the provisions which Amcu had violated.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa had not responded to questions by the time of publication.
The department could also not be reached in time.
The union has up to 60 days in which to make representations and object to the plan to deregister it.