National Organiser Dumisani Nkalitshana addressed the members before the official opening of the Congress. During his address, Nkalitshana reminded members that this is the time to unite the union as one and not divide it. Whoever gets the position, it is not about himself but rather about AMCU as a whole and nothing else. “This is the union that is for all AMCU members and does not support tribalism. As I stand here before you as a Xhosa it does not mean that the union only belongs to the Xhosa people but it belongs to all workers who join AMCU. We need to be very careful not to adopt any of the tendencies of the other unions. No matter the language you speak, as long as you are a member of AMCU, you have the right to be elected,”said Nkalitshana.
Former Free State Chairperson, Bokoloshe who is now National Chairperson for Health and Safety as well as General Secretary Jeff Mphahlele also attended the event.
General Secretary Jeff Mphahlele officially opened the Congress. In his opening, Mphahlele said the purpose of a Regional Elective Congress is to have a regional structure. While addressing delegates, Mphahlele spoke about the amendment of the constitution as required by the Department of Labour. “Everything we do as AMCU we are successful. If the region is failing, its not the National office that is failing, it is that region. AMCU is a beautiful organization and I hope we will continue doing things the right way. Problems will always be there but we need to unite and work together for the benefit of the whole organization. We need to elect people who will perform and serve the interests of AMCU not their individual needs,”said Mphahlele.
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. He also urged AMCU members in the Free State Region to support the newly elected leadership for the duration of their term as regional office bearers.
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 Free State Regional office bearers are:
• Regional Chairperson: Zenzo Gxalaba
• Deputy Chairperson: Lethosa Lethabile
• Regional Secretary: Edwin Sephoa
• Deputy Secretary: Mamela Skhosana
• Chairperson Health and Safety: Thomas Manthla
• Treasurer: Mako Leboko
• Chairperson Education Desk: Boitumelo Katake
Mphahlele urged the newly elected leaders to go out there and serve the region with distinction because they have been entrusted by AMCU members to work for them. “Respect the members because they have borrowed you these seats and if there is something they are not happy about, they can give you a vote of no confidence,”said Mphahlele.