NUM: Thamsanqa Piet Matosa: Address by NUM President, on the central committee speech, st Georges, Pretoria (02/06/2016)

3rd June 2016

NUM: Thamsanqa Piet Matosa: Address by NUM President, on the central committee speech, st Georges, Pretoria (02/06/2016)

Photo by: Duane

Comrade Chairperson
The NEC of NUM
Ministers and public representatives of government
Leaders of COSATU, the resilient and ever fighting federation
Leaders of the ANC, leader of the tripartite alliance
Leaders of the SACP, the vanguard of the working class
Leaders of SANCO, the people `s mass mobiliser
Leaders of NUM Youth Structure, the blossoming future of NUM Leaders of NUM Women Structure, mothers who hold knives on the edge The leadership of the Progressive Youth Alliance
Our trusted fraternal friends both in the continent and globally: IndustriALL, WAFTU, and, BWI
Delegates of NUM, comrades and friends,

Receive revolutionary salutations from myself; on behalf of NUM. I take this opportunity to welcome you all, to this parliament of the workers. Amandla! Amandla!

It is almost a year now, after the 2015 National Congress. The conference which ushered in this new leadership. This Central Committee offers us an opportunity to reflect on our previous commitments, in terms of the congress mandate. Key which were to advance plans for membership growth, retention strategies, and organisational excellence. From 2014 December breakaway towards congress, our emphasis was recruitment, membership building, retention, service, and organisational excellence.
I know that the Secretariat has been working on the membership strategy. The Deputy General Secretary was working passionately with regions to clean our membership base. A lot of progress has been made in this regard.

The Treasurer General has also been fighting, to conserve our income and expenditure, so that financial activities remain within controllable limits. We thank him and the finance committee for their perseverance. Without money there is no organisation. The success of both offices, is the success of all National Office Bearers, it is the success of the NEC, and obviously NUM. We shall move forward together as strategic leadership, to pull NUM from decline. Only a strategic leadership collective, can lead NUM to growth, retention, and quality service to members. Only a strategic leadership collective can defend NUM by building sustainable unity.

Let me emphasise this point, only a strategic leadership collective can rescue us from decline. This emphasis will be clearer by the time I finish this input.

2.1 Emotional intelligence
Comrades, during the cycle of decline in an organisation, strategic leadership is an obligation and not a choice. One of the most important characteristics of strategic leadership is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence means leaders must be motivational and inspirational, in order to marshal all towards one strategic direction.
Emotional intelligence is about motivating those who are hopeful and inspiring those who are hopeless towards one strategic vision. If we lack this capability or characteristic, no matter good our strategies, they will rot in the shelves of history, and we will not rise out of decline.

Our members are the constitutional arm, and our staff members are the professional administrative wing. Both these war units constitute the territorial army of NUM, for offence and for defence. The staff members are an important unit, because they have what most of the leadership does not have. They have technical skills, organisational and, administrative experience. They master the art of rules and procedures.
This professional arm is key in the implementation and review of strategic plans of an organisation. We must mobilise the professional arm and not demobilise it for our collective success in servicing members.

2.2 Service to members
Another function of strategic leadership is empathy and responsiveness. We must be sympathetic to NUM members, for the challenges they face, and be responsive to their plight. This means we must stop colluding with employers to stop members from attending organisational activities, simply because those members do not belong to my grouping. Members must be serviced daily, by leaders from branches to regional offices. Without unnecessary hurdles on the way .We must represent members in cases as if there is no tomorrow. The obligation of leaders released full-time by companies is to serve members without excuses. We are service oriented.

3.1 Undertaker leadership
Comrades, Undertaker leaders don’t save but burry lives. We must refuse to be the memory that buried NUM. But if we are not strategic, we will be the Undertaker leadership that buried NUM. NUM has undergone different phases, starting from its birth phase in the early-eighties. It was led by great leaders known as Risk Takers e.g. James Motlatsi, Cyril Ramaphosa, and Elijah Ba r a y i . It went into the Growth Phase, led by Caretaker Leadership like James Motlatsi and Kgalema Motlanthe. It went through Maturity phase led by Senzeni Zokwana and Gwede Mantashe. These are the scientific organisational cycles applying in all organisations. After the maturity phase, most organisations begin the phase of decline.

This phase requires surgeons. Frans Baleni and I were part of the surgeons who faced up to the stage of decline. Today David Sipunzi and myself are bound to pull NUM out from decline. This leadership has to master the science of organisational cycles and phases, including the qualities of leadership required. Thus building NUM is not about mobilising those we like. It is about accessing capability and ability to win. Be they card carrying members or staff members.

Comrades, strategic leadership must build good organisational culture. But not institutionalise gossip. A leader must never confuse intelligence gathering with gossip mongering. When leaders do not have basic strategic surveillance skills, they are likely to rely on gossip mongering as sources of information. Such leaders become victims of their sources. Thus, information must be screened at all times, before it is used, no matter the source. If we don’t clean information but act on it, we are endangering ourselves and NUM. The risk is that the union will get captured by gossip mongers. Who will reduce elected leaders to token leadership.

Strategic leadership must inspire confidence in the members. Our members are the foot-soldiers of our existence. Without them we can`t run the organisation. It is regrettable that some leaders attend subversive meetings that plot the downfall of NUM and the rise of new Federation which failed to launch recently due to lack of numbers.
Such leaders are the enemies within. They do not motivate members but raise despair. In our 2015 breakaway, DR Tibane said ‘Stop and consider’. This Central Committee must reprimand such leaders. They are not inspiring our members with confidence, but depressing them. I want to appeal to disciplined members of NUM. You must refuse to attend break-away night vigils. You must report such meetings as your responsibility to defend NUM. Let us service members with trust, and not double standards.

Comrades, companies continue to retrench our members. When it is bad, we take the brunt. When it is boom, the bosses take the profits. We must come out of here with good recovery and offensive strategies. Let’s track subscription payments, implement strategies, and strengthen our membership base. Let’s push service to our members aggressively. To do this effectively, we must enforce discipline. Leaders cannot be tokens of appreciation. It is our responsibility to enforce discipline at all times. Lack of enforcement of good discipline by leaders can only reinforce anarchy in the organisation.

I take this opportunity to emphasise the value of three categories of discipline: Self-Discipline, Revolutionary Discipline, and Religious Discipline.

7.1 Self discipline
Self-discipline is the skill to persist with your decisions, until you achieve your plans. If NUM leaders cannot implement decisions taken in 2014 breakaway or in 2015 Congress, we lack self- discipline. Unfortunately self-discipline is an ingredient of success. We resolved to grow our membership base. The leaders who plot to take members to the new Federation lack self-discipline. They use NUM resources to work against it .They weaken NUM at night, and smile by the day.

7.2 Religious discipline
Proverbs 12, verse 1, says “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid”. The Deputy President of NUM understands this point well, as a religious person. I believe those involved in these reactionary plans, are not stupid, and will take points of correction when criticized.

7.3 Revolutionary discipline
Revolutionary discipline is about the individual understanding his role, within the limits of the collective. When we take decisions as a collective, the feelings of an individual are subordinated to the majority. Both these three categories assist in shaping discipline of members, staff, and leaders .There is no escape, unless you are a factory fault anarchist who is here by default.

8.1 Elections and induction
This is the year of branch conferences. All newly elected leaders must undertake induction training. The strength of NUM is not at the head-office, but in its branches.
Frans Fanon said “To educate the masses politically does not mean making a political speech. What it means is to try, relentlessly and passionately, to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we go forward it is due to them too, that there is no ... famous man who will take the responsibility for everything, but ...the magic hands are finally only the hands of the people.” We must educate our members, to prevent them from doing wrong things. When members are not honest about what they have done, any representative will lose a case when facts are put on the table in a hearing. Hence I said: discipline is very important in upholding good conduct in line with NUM values. As members, let us be honest when we give facts to those who represent us .So that they have all information when they prepare the defence.

Comrades, some have committed to grow their organisations by any means necessary. They promise our members paradise, to win them over to new unions and federations.
Truth be told, it is not about service. But hunger for political power. Those who formed the United Front are now forming a Federation. They went to Nkandla to lobby President Jacob Zuma, for a position in ANC top six towards the Mangaung conference in 2012.
When they failed to convince Zuma, the ANC became their enemy. The SACP became their enemy; Cosatu became their enemy as they tried to break it at the special congress. Today NUM is their enemy, as they try to break it into two pieces. The attack to destroy NUM will not succeed as members know their home. The DA and others have become their friends. Hence they speak of coalitions for local government elections. This is the biggest state of bigotry.

This Central Committee must defend NUM today loud and clear. When we defend NUM, we will be defending Cosatu, which we formed with blood and tears. The destructive clique has been deploying elements in Cosatu affiliates to split unions. So that when that new Federation takes place, it spells the death of Cosatu. NUM is the primary target. I will not be surprised if those planted for break-up are amongst us in this meeting and we are not aware .We have been infiltrated . Those who are plotting the break-up of NUM were never there when people got killed to give birth to Cosatu .They cannot quantify the blood that was spilt, the tears that flooded the streets, for Cosatu and NUM to be borne. I am calling upon all delegates, branches, regions; to defend the unity of NUM. Defending NUM is defending Cosatu. Cosatu won the battle to stop government from implementing provident fund amendment law. This is one of the recent major victories by Cosatu. Viva Cosatu Viva!

Comrades, the South African economy dropped 118,397 jobs in February 2016, the biggest monthly loss in three years. The losses in terms of permanent work are around 104,593 jobs. The temporary work loss is about 26,832 jobs. The big job losses were in mining (-60.5%), transport and logistics, including communications (- 21.7%), wholesale and retail trade (-6.9%).All sectors have been shedding jobs. We can’t rely on the informal sector growth .We need proper decent jobs, and not retrenchment which are an attack on us. Invalidating central bargaining agreements is part of the destruction of NUM by employers. We are aware that the retrenchment figures have arisen to 45 291 00 and NUM is highly affected by now. We must rise to the challenge and defend NUM to defend our members in mining, energy, and construction.

The NUM Youth Structure has been proactive in responding publicly to matters that affect NUM and its members across the board. We must support and guide them constructively. They are now a constitutional structure and it is good that they take responsibility to defend the union. They can be best conscientised in the theatre of struggle. Not in complain sessions, or board rooms. They also successfully generated a base document for the birth of Cosatu Youth Structure after being tasked by the Federation towards the National Congress in 2015. The Youth of NUM must have a war plan for June .This is the Youth month, and they must look at protecting young workers at work. But also ensuring a united NUM.

Defending NUM is defending your future. We take this time to acknowledge contributions made by the women structure such as “Back to school” campaign .We express appreciation for progress made in the development of Personal Protective Equipment for women workers . The development of sexual harassment guidelines is important to defend women from sexual predators, who see women as sexual objects and use their authority to subdue them. Women are our comrades. We also warn women leaders, that they are being targeted for the breakaway to a new federation. This must be part of the discussions of the women `s month on measures to defend NUM.

Comrades, Yellow union leaders at Impala Platinum were arrested for soliciting money worth R2 million in bribes recently. Soliciting bribes from an insurance company administering retirement funds at Impala Platinum. They called this money protection fee. We knew that the criminal behaviour of our enemies will be exposed one day. We must remain true to our members even in difficult times. As Amilcar Cabral puts it “tell no lies claim no easy victories”. Furthermore, we recently marched to Sibanye-Gold to defend NUM at Kusasalethu .We did so to expose management’s criminal collusion with Yellow Union to undermine the working environment. The company employed people who were found guilty of public violence by a court of law. Whose behaviour contributed partly to the killing of two NUM members. Clearly, the corporate and ideological enemies of NUM are re-united in for our destruction .We must respond to these challenges decisively today.


The tragedy of being crippled or dying at work has not ended. The Lily mine incident reminds us of our insecurity. Thus Regional Committees must conduct health and safety discussions consistently. Let me take this opportunity to call on government and business to continue efforts to retrieve or rescue those trapped underground. We shall work together with all stakeholders to ensure that justice prevails. Furthermore, we must indicate that NUM never refused to organise workers at Lily Mine. That narrative is a toxic propaganda and must be condemned. Furthermore, we also welcome the court ruling on the class action, and compensations thereof for mine workers.

15.1 Mining
The transformation of the mining sector must be intensified in line with the mining charter. In 2015 the Chamber of Mines, government and unions signed a 10-point plan designed to minimise job losses in mining. We know that companies continued to retrench workers irrespective. In some areas NUM was derecognised due to these retrenchments. We welcome Operation Phakisa `s progressive interventions in this sector. Mining Phakisa was an initiative designed to create quick-fix solutions and fast-track delivery as outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP). We welcome the commitment to reskill workers who lose their jobs due to companies scaling down operations .We further welcome the commitment to revitalise Future Forums as strategic development platforms for engagement with workers, as the industry pursues beneficiation and industrialisation.

We note the steady improvement on the living conditions of workers, in terms of one person per room, including the establishment of family units in terms of hostel conversions. We are aware that more than 60% of companies failed to meet the skills development targets and our educators should look into this. Our regions must work closer with communities, to ensure the rights of communities are never violated for profits, without consultation as is the case in Lephalale and Eastern Cape. We must build sustainable mining communities.

15.2 Energy and electricity
Our leaders in the energy sector must continue to advocate our positions. Particularly in clarifying our attitude towards nuclear. We also welcome the indication that, there will be no load shedding this year. We must push for worker participation in key decision making processes that affect workers at Eskom without fear. A coordinator has also been appointed which should help us in going forward. In this area we must pursue the proper regulation of interest arbitration. We support our negotiators at Eskom who are currently engaged in wage negotiations .We call on Eskom to accede to our demands and avoid undue legal processes.

5.3 Construction
Let us intensify efforts to build our hegemony in the construction sector. It is our growth point. Our recruiters must be deployed to deal with this area. The appointment of a new Construction Coordinator should be helpful in entrenching us as the union of choice.
We know that poor site management, skills and competence issues, and lack of worker participation are some of the challenges faced by this sector.

We shall support the ANC in the forthcoming local government elections. We do so because of the achievements the ANC made in the last 22 years. There are still many challenges we face as a country: racism, land redress, unemployment and so on. But United Front, EFF, and DA cannot offer better than what the ANC has done.

We must intensify our international solidarity networks to challenge global capital from continuing its casualization of the workplace, in order to recover profit losses due to the 2008 Cr isis. We must also revive connections with socialist unions in Europe to close down opportunist from our country who feed toxic messages and lies to international comrades. NUM will participate in three international conferences this year which are IndustriALL conference in October in Brazil, BWI Regional Conference in Maputo in September, and the WAFTU conference in October in Durban. All these events shall take place in 2016. We must be ready to influence the direction and the tone of deliberations.

Comrades, let’s deal with the challenges of the day consistently and courageously. Let us unite across the sectors, Lets save costs in our work, let’s have commitment to recruit and service members. To achieve these we must be united as women, men, youth, and working people in the mines, energy, and construction. Chairman Mao Tse Tung of China has given us scientific lessons to resolve our differences and manage our contradictions. Chairman Mao `s formula to keeping unity while resolving contradictions was ‘unity, criticism, unity’. Not options of split. With unity we shall stand ready to defeat enemies of the national democratic revolution .Be they inside the NUM or outside.
It is in this context I declare this gathering open, and wish it success, I thank you all.