Pretoria - State resources have been used to destabilise the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), union president Joseph Mathunjwa said on Thursday.
“The police have been used to harass Amcu members through unlawful arrests on questionable charges.”
Mathunjwa was handing over a petition, addressed to President Jacob Zuma, at the Union Buildings.
He said police had trampled on the rights of Amcu members, and called for resignation of North West police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo.
“The commissioner failed to execute her task... Through her incompetence, our members have been killed and arrested.”
He called on Zuma to order his ministers not to harass his union, and not to work with mining companies against it.
“We are in a protected strike... The minister of (mineral resources) minister advised mines to take us to court and dismiss workers. We want a new (mineral resources 3/8 minister.”
Mathunjwa said Amcu members were aggrieved by what he called government attempts to have Amcu disband, and the department of labour's “trying all avenues” to de-register the union.
“This is happening at the middle of the biggest protected strike... The department is helping the companies to resolve the strike,” he said.
Amcu have been on a strike since January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.
“Students at tertiary institutions would not protest against study grants if their parents were paid R12 500,” he said.
The union says Zuma has until March 20 to respond to the petition.
Senior presidency official Shaun Phillips received the petition on behalf of Zuma.
After it was handed over, union members sang union songs while waiting for their buses.