Johannesburg - An Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) member in Rustenburg has gone into hiding, fearing for his life after being labelled a traitor by its leader, he said on Thursday.
“I am in a place where I feel safe, I am in hiding. There are people who want to kill me.
“My life is in danger. I cannot go to work or meet with workers,” Gaddafi Mdoda told Sapa.
Amcu members started a strike for better wages on platinum mines in Rustenburg in the North West on Thursday morning.
Mdoda said union leader Joseph Mathunjwa had made several accusations against him, including that he accepted money from Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) to ensure that some of the company's shafts were closed and workers retrenched, and plotting to establish a rival union.
He said Mathunjwa mentioned his name as a traitor at a rally in Rustenburg on Sunday. This was the second time he was accused of being a traitor in public.
“He endangered my life without checking facts with me. I want him to clear my name. I want a live debate with him for the world to see who is corrupt.”
When asked about reported divisions within Amcu, its leader, Mathunjwa told SAfm in an interview on Thursday morning: “I cannot dignify such nonsense… I think the best thing for you to do, you drive to those mines and interview each and every branch leadership there, and the workers.”
The SAfm presenter started responding by saying that he had already spoken to Mdoda, but Mathunjwa interrupted him, saying: “He is not a member of Amcu… I'm telling you Gaddafi was called for a disciplinary by his branch. He never pitched up and his branch took a decision through the rightful structures; he is no longer a member of Amcu.”
But Mdoda insisted: “I am still an Amcu member, I pay my subscription fee monthly to the union. I was never voted out or dismissed.”
Earlier this week, it was reported that Mathunjwa named several Amcu “dissidents” from the stage at a rally in Rustenburg on Sunday, describing them as “traitors”.
On Monday, the Workers & Socialist Party (Wasp) hosted a press conference to voice its concern over Mathunjwa's comments, and questioned the wisdom of the strike in the platinum industry.
“The real reason for the witch-hunt is that these comrades have been at the forefront of calling for the democratisation of Amcu and the accountability of its leadership,” Wasp said in a statement.
“Amongst the complaints is the Amcu leadership’s failure to organise even basic democratic structures in Rustenburg that would give workers a genuine voice within their own union.” - Sapa