The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (AMCU) Eastern Cape Region held its inaugural Regional Elective Congress on 01 May 2019 in Port Elizabeth.
National Organiser Dumisani Nkalitshana addressed the members before the official opening of the Congress. During his address, Nkalitshana urged members to recruit in the various companies and firms in the Eastern Cape in order to strengthen and grow AMCU in the region. “It is important to recruit because there is power in numbers. There is a lot of work to be done comrades, and I urge you to build trust with members and employers because having professional relationships with employers will create a better working relationship with them,” said Nkalitshana.
He also warned that, while leaders are building relationships with employers, it is important for them to refrain from doing things that will compromise members. “It’s important to build trust and remain trustworthy as a leader because lack of trust creates conflict among the union and its members. As you will be elected, it’s important to learn to approach things positively because when you approach things in a negative way, the outcome will also be negative. As you will be elected today, there will be sessions and workshops that you will be a part of to equip you with the necessary skills to help you execute your daily duties as an AMCU office bearer. Respect AMCU members and approach them in a polite and professional manner,” he added.
General Secretary Jeffrey Mphahlele officially opened the Congress. In his opening, Mphahlele said the purpose of a Regional Elective Congress is to have a regional structure. Before speaking on the issue of the day, Mphahlele spoke about the latest developments in AMCU and clarified some issues relating to the recent alleged deregistration of AMCU as announced by the Labour Relations Registrar. “AMCU is the only union in South Africa that actually cares about addressing issues that affect workers. We have faced many challenges these past few months including the strike at Sibanye-Stillwater and the threat to deregister us, but we remain resolute in our stance to fulfill the mandate we get from our members,” he said.
While addressing delegates, Mphahlele spoke about the importance of knowing and understanding the AMCU constitution and labour laws of the country. “Before the voting starts, it is important for everyone in this room to know our constitution as it is the one that will guide these proceedings. It is important because we must come up with a regional structure by the end of today. We are here to elect people you can task with issues of the region. We are here to elect leaders who are going to take the union to greater heights,” he added.
Mphahlele further explained what the AMCU policy and constitution says regarding electing Regional Leadership. “The purpose of policy in any organisation is to outline how the organisation functions and what is expected from each member. We create policy because we want direction and the policy works in line with the constitution. When we have disagreements, we refer to policy and our constitution. Our election process is guided by the constitution and policy,” he explained.
Before the voting started, a representative from the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) outlined how the voting process will be conducted. EISA presided over the election process and explained the voting and the nomination processes before handing over to the delegates in attendance to nominate their candidates.
The newly elected AMCU Eastern Cape Regional office bearers are:
• Regional Chairperson: Mthetheleli Matiwane
• Regional Deputy Chairperson: Noluvo Hako
• Regional Secretary: Siphamandla Mazinyo
• Deputy Secretary: Lusindiso September
• Chairperson Health and Safety: Wandile Melwa
• Treasurer: Thembani Mlombo
• Chair Education Desk: Masibulele Busani
While addressing members as the newly elected Regional Chairperson, Matiwane thanked the delegates for a smooth voting process and vowed to work hard and grow the union in the province. “I am ready to work hard as the chairperson of the region and I would like to urge everyone here to work together because we can achieve a lot when we work together,” he said.