28 OCTOBER 2017

 

A member of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Mr Nkosinathi Mantashe working at Lonmin is arrested for attempted murder and the City Press wants to pursue a story about the killings on the platinum belt being about tribalism, favoritism of the AMCU president and a result of AMCU killing of AMCU comrades.

Can you blame us for our extreme frustration and irritation with superficial journalism, not just at City Press but other South African newspapers?

On so many occasions we have stated that we do not know the motives for the killings. In the light of various processes, we have signaled the possibility of state involvement in the killings. Journalist consistently fail to investigate this possibility. Now that a Mantashe has been arrested is this so far fetched?

Furthermore, we do not understand why City Press journalists do not report on our attempts as a union to get to the bottom of this. We have offered a R100 000 reward to track down the killers. We have gone so far as to employing a private investigation firm at AMCU’s expense. How is it you journalists do nothing to ask why the police and the Hawks have been so tardy in investigating the killings? In our view, where we have provided the police with credible evidence and suspects the security forces seem to be subverting the investigation. No journalist has asked us for this information.

No journalist has interviewed us about the person arrested at our Lonmin office who entered with a gun. No journalist has bothered to follow-up this story. Why was this person released by the police? Why did the prosecutor refuse to pursue a case against this person.

Your one-sided journalism raise serious aspersion. You are the very same journalists that were insinuating that AMCU is behind the killing of its members, AMCU is in the center of tribalism, AMCU is faced with internal rivalry but after we responded to your previous unfounded allegations, you deliberately ignored our views and refused to honour our right to respond.

After the arrest of Mantashe, your narrative has changed again, which in our view is chameleon journalism. Now your narrative is that AMCU members do not understand its Constitution. That is farfetched. AMCU was not formed yesterday! Who are these faceless members feeding you with such nonsense and which you believe because its reinforces your negative narrative of AMCU.

For your information, AMCU has been voted the best trade union for 2017. Such award still doesn’t satisfy you and your sources that AMCU is favored by workers and the award was voted for by independent organizations.

The issue of constitution is farfetched because you don’t bother yourselves in knowing how unions function, in particular AMCU. All these elections from branches to the region is part of constitutional democracy; these leaders elected are not elected by myself but by their constituencies?

I wish that you had attended the central mass meeting on the 18th of October 2017 to witness for yourself that AMCU is a mass democratic organisation, and heard the overwhelming support of our members for their leaders.

Instead you want to spend your time following up issues of alleged tribal conflicts which are not founded. These negative views of AMCU are narrated by yourselves and your faceless sources.

We have no doubt amongst the 500 000 mine workers there is a minority that harbor tribalist views and consciousness. Some of these may have joined AMCU. However, AMCU is a trade union committed to worker unity and fighting all divisions within the working class. This is a work in progress. We concede that since the height of the struggle against Apartheid there has been a reversal in working class consciousness. AMCU’s formation was very much an effort to reverse this.

This union was pilloried in the media when we led a five-month strike for a living wage. The vast majority of workers on the platinum belt are members of AMCU. They have finally obtained R12 500 the figure the heroes of our Union died for. There is no exodus from AMCU. On the contrary workers are continuing to desert the NUM. Their

membership is insignificant at Lonmin they no longer have organizational rights. A reasonable question journalists may have wanted to explore is could the violence and killings be related to the loss of NUM’s organizational rights at Lonmin?

We have produced a full media statement on what is taking place in relation to the killings. How is it your newspaper refuses to publish this. Normally you offer to others the right of reply. Why does AMCU not enjoy this right?

Yours faithfully

Joseph Mathunjwa