Durban - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has lashed out at President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC, Cosatu and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe for snubbing its two-day special national conference taking place in Durban.
The union’s more than 670 delegates from around the country are meeting at the Durban ICC starting from Wednesday to amend its constitution.
KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Ravi Pillay was the only one not a member of NUM who addressed the delegates and international guests in his capacity as the acting premier.
Mantashe was invited in his capacity as the minister of mineral resources. The union's general secretary David Sipunzi said Ramaphosa had tendered his apology because of other engagements.
“Unfortunately he (Ramaphosa) has not sent a delegate to address us. We found out late on Tuesday that the SACP is unable to send a person to come and address this congress,” said Sipunzi.
Sipunzi said Mantashe’s office did not even send a response to say whether or not he would honour the invitation.
“We were ignored. Comrade Patricia De Lille has tendered an apology due to other commitments.
“There seems to be other issues that are more important than addressing us when there are no elections coming. But when there are elections they will trip over each other demanding to address us,” said Sepunzi.
A number of NUM delegates said those who had snubbed their invitation needed to be confronted so that they could explain their behavior.
NUM president Joseph Montisetse later told Independent Media that his union was in the forefront of campaigning for the ANC to win the May general elections.
“We know that the main problem may be the issue of Eskom (unbundling) and independent power producers (IPPs).
“We are not going to be quiet about these things because if Tito Mboweni (finance minister) can release a document, which is deemed to be progressive but says power stations of coal mines are going to be closed we cannot be quiet,” said Montisetse.
He said the union did not have a problem with the ANC, “except that we are not going to accept anything that affects our members”.
“As for the SACP we have a joint political programme, and we believe that the SACP should respond before the end of this congress (on Friday),” he said.
Attempts to get hold of ANC spokespersons Pule Mabe and Dakota Legoete were unsuccessful. Mineral Resources’ spokesperson Ayanda Shezi’s phone was also off.