Zuma's son in mine jobs mess

Time of article published Jul 5, 2010

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By Louise Flanagan

President Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane is trying to transfer the workers in his Klerksdorp uranium mine to a specialised contractor.

Unions have accused the mine, Shiva Uranium, of retrenching workers to force them to work under a labour broker, but Shiva insists the contractor is not a broker and that the number of jobs would remain the same.

There is also confusion about how many jobs actually exist at Shiva, apparently because jobs have already been put under the contractor.

Two months ago, Shiva boasted it had created 1 000 jobs - but two weeks later it told workers there had been fewer than 200 jobs for the past year and that half of these would now be shed.

Shiva Uranium owns the Dominion Reefs Uranium Mine near Klerksdorp, North West.

On Sunday, Zuma declined to comment on the Shiva matter, his links to the labour broker or the discrepancies in the job situation, saying he had been misrepresented in the media in the past. He referred comment to Shiva CEO Jagdish Parekh, who could not be contacted yesterday.

The ANC and its alliance partner, trade union federation Cosatu, are fiercely opposed to labour brokers. Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana has suggested outlawing labour broking, but has since backtracked, saying the government was now looking at regulating the industry.

Shiva used to be owned by the Canadian company Uranium One Inc, but was sold on April 14 this year to the South African company Oakbay Resources and Energy. Oakbay is owned mainly by Oakbay Investments.

Twenty-six percent of Shiva was sold on May 13 to a consortium involving Mabengela Investments, which is headed by Duduzane Zuma and two MK war veterans groups.

Shiva's directors are now Zuma, Atul Gupta, and Ithemba Governance & Statutory Solutions. The Gupta family are regarded as backers of President Zuma.

According to one of the unions involved, Shiva's holding company is Islandsite Investments 254. Islandsite's directors include Zuma, Gupta and mining magnate Polelo Lazarus Zim.

Last week, Cosatu, its affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), and the independent Solidarity union said Shiva was planning retrenchments.

Cosatu said the NUM had been able to improve the situation for workers in 2008 under the Canadian owners, but now Shiva "wants to transfer the jobs of the remaining 200 workers to JIC, which is a labour broker".

Last night, Shiva manager Vikash Kumar said: "The mine has not cut, reduced or lost any jobs at all," adding that the plan was to transfer jobs to JIC, not lose them.

He said JIC did not have a labour broker licence and that its employees were all permanent staff.

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