23.5.2012 Malusi Gigaba Minister of Public Enterprises addressing the Tshwane International Trade and Infrastructure Investment Conference which opned at the CSIR convention centre on Monday. Picture: Etienne Creux

Workers must put pressure on business to invest in SA, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba told the National Union of Mineworkers’ congress in Ekurhuleni on Friday.

“They must come to the party and partner with government and labour… so that we reach the necessary growth to reverse unemployment, to reverse poverty and to defeat inequality,” Gigaba said.

SA companies were estimated to be sitting on R520 billion in their bank accounts, rather than investing it in the economy.

He pointed out that there were “massive opportunities” for business, and that it was time for business to put its money where its mouth is.

His call for workers to assert themselves was echoed by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, who asked the NUM to provide names of workers ready to sit on the boards of various skills training institutions, particularly in construction.

Recalling that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, businessman Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, among others, had come from the NUM’s ranks, Nxesi said its members had to assert themselves.

He called on delegates to debate the record and performance of the ANC leadership in the party, and in the government, before outlining some of the government’s achievements. He admitted there was corruption in the Public Works portfolio, but said this was being addressed.

Warnings against factionalism, lies and moles have simmered throughout the past three days as more than 1 000 NUM delegates gathered for their congress.

But on Friday the congress adopted a draft resolution which, while noting that the ANC leadership nominations would be opened in October, called on the NUM to engage other trade unions ahead of the September Cosatu congress to pronounce on “the leadership collective” elected at the 2007 Polokwane ANC conference, and the implementation of Polokwane resolutions.

Seven of the NUM’s nine top positions are being contested; only the treasurer-general and health and safety official are “safe”. Much of the leadership contest has focused on NUM general secretary Frans Baleni, who is being challenged by his deputy Oupa Komane.

Baleni is considered to be close to President Jacob Zuma, while Komane is not.

This has, however, been strongly denied by all office bearers and speakers, including Gigaba, who said “factionalism is slowly and seriously crippling our movement”.

Political Bureau