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No winner takes all as NUM factions share spoils at national congress

NUM general-secretary William Mabapa. Screengrab

NUM general-secretary William Mabapa. Screengrab

Published Apr 2, 2022


Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has elected its acting general secretary William Mabapa permanently to the position at its national congress but some of his allies failed to make the grade.

Mabapa’s slate took four of the nine national office-bearer positions, including president.

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Daniel Balepile, the chairperson of the NUM’s biggest region, Rustenburg, ousted the union’s president Joseph Montisetse by just seven votes.

Balepile was voted by 336 delegates while 329 backed Montisetse.

NUM deputy president Phillip Vilakazi retained his position after defeating Highveld chairperson Nelson Ratshoshi, who was Mabapa’s running mate, by 349 votes to 316.

Mabapa received 350 votes while his challenger NUM North East regional secretary Phillip Mankge managed 306.

His deputy will be outgoing treasurer general Mpho Phakedi who beat the union’s Western Cape regional secretary Sonwabile Fisa to the position.

Fisa, who was on Mabapa’s slate, was backed by 317 delegates and was pipped by Phakedi, who received 327 votes.

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The NUM’s new treasurer general will be departing national education chairperson Helen Diatile, who defeated Mabapa’s ally and Kimberley regional secretary Cornelius Manhe by 345 to 315.

Diatile is the only woman in the NUM’s top leadership structure.

National health and safety chairperson Duncan Luvuno held on to his position after being supported by 349 delegates, while his challenger ,Abbey Hlakoana, who is the Free State deputy health and safety secretary and organised labour convener at the Mine Health and Safety Council, received 314.

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National secretary for health and safety Sipho Mungwe was ousted by Matlosana regional secretary Masibulele Naki, who received 345 compared to Mungwe’s 318.

Olihile Kgwari is the NUM’s new national education chairperson after garnering more votes that the union’s National Youth Structure’s Treasure Thekupi.

Kgwari received 338, while 323 delegates backed Thekupi.

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Lefty Mashego is the new NUM national education secretary after beating KwaZulu-Natal regional secretary Muzikayise Zakwe by 343 votes to 322.

The results were announced in the early hours of Saturday morning.

In his closing address, Balepile said the national congress had mandated the new leadership to unite the NUM as it has been divided for quite a long time.

”It is our duty as this collective elected by yourselves and, therefore, you have a duty to support the leadership that you have elected, irrespective of where they come from,” he said.

Balepile said the two camps should be disbanded in order to unite the NUM.

He warned that if the two camps were not dismantled the NUM would not be able to recruit new members.

“All structures of the union and members are called upon to support the new leadership. The NEC (national executive committee) has a particular job to do in terms of uniting and bringing this union together.

“One thing that was raised sharply in this congress is that our divisions as members and structures of the union need to be addressed,” Balepile added.

He also pleaded for the union’s nearly 165 000 members’ support and togetherness in executing their responsibilities as the new leadership.

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Political Bureau