NUM urges companies to close for Mandela funeral

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A bronze statue depicting former South African president Nelson Mandela as he walked to freedom in 1990 following his release after 27 years of incarceration.

Johannesburg - Companies were urged to shut down their operations on Sunday for Nelson Mandela's state funeral, the National Union of Mineworkers said on Thursday.

“We appeal to the mining, construction and energy companies to accord the workers an opportunity to mourn on Sunday and to give a chance to those who want to attend and be part of the funeral,” said NUM general secretary Frans Baleni.

“We appeal on them to show compassion, Ubuntu, embrace and reflect the cultural diversity of South Africa,” said Baleni.

NUM condemned companies which planned to continue business operations on Sunday.

Spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said Mandela's struggle for freedom helped lift sanctions that “enabled these companies to make trillions of rands in profit.

“It is therefore highly disturbing that these very same companies seek to betray his legacy by showing the South African people the middle finger through investing at overseas stock exchanges and denying their workers the right to mourn.”

The few mining companies that shut their operations down to allow workers the chance to partake in Mandela's memorial service on Tuesday were commended.

“It was indeed a befitting sign of honour and respect for the people of South Africa and the world and in line with custom,” Seshoka said. - Sapa

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