JOHANNESBURG – Allegations emerged that branch leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) were holding non-strike members at the Gold Fields South Deep mine to ransom, as intimidation intensified with the attack on the union's regional leader during a mass meeting yesterday.
Ndlela Radebe, the chairperson for NUM’s Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging region (Gauteng), is in hospital after he was stabbed in the neck and left shoulder at the Green Hills Stadium in Randfontein as he heard concerns of 800 non-striking members. A source close to the union said that non-striking members were raising their concerns after taking strain from the five-week-long strike aimed at opposing retrenchments.
“The problem lies with the branch leaders. They want to strike indefinitely until the mine is shut down. We have more than 3 500 workers who want to go back to work. It is totally irresponsible for the branch to want an indefinite strike,” the source said.
On Sunday Radebe wrote a letter urging the branch to end the strike.
“For more than three weeks to date, the region has been receiving countless calls from concerned union members that the strike is counter-productive and that it impacts them negatively and is threatening their jobs in the company,” said Radebe in the letter. He also said the union could not ignore the concerns of its members.