Third session of the Southern Africa Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Transnational Corporations

19 November 2018

The third Southern Africa Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Transnational Corporations session took place recently at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg. In attendance was The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) President, Joseph Mathunjwa, who was one of the speakers.

The campaign to dismantle Corporate Power is a network of communities, popular organisations and trade unions. The aim of the network is to catalyse a movement of solidarity in Southern Africa that puts an end to corporate impunity and affords workers the Right to Say No to dangerous working conditions. Their call is for people of Southern Africa to unite their struggles against the systematic dispossession of our land and territories, the plunder of our natural resources, the war on our bodies, the super-exploitation perpetrated by transnational corporations in their thirst for wealth and profits.

Testimonies were given by delegates from various African countries and abroad, including some of the mine workers who survived the Marikana Massacre.

AMCU President, Joseph Mathunjwa speaks at the Peoples’ Tribunal

AMCU President, Joseph Mathunjwa thanked the organisers for inviting AMCU to the event as it speaks to their plight as Black Africans. “It has never been easy, we are building a legacy for our children. If we are folding our arms, nothing will change. The comrades who died in 2012 dared their lives and showed us it is not yet Uhuru. Our black government repeated the same ills and committed the same crimes as the Nationalist Party before our democracy. Marikana cannot be seen differently to Sharpeville because it is one and the same. In 2012, mineworkers were massacred for demanding a living wage. The reason why it happened is because the mining companies and government wanted to demonstrate to their foreign investors that they were even willing to kill their own people in order to protect their interests.”

He said he was proud of the fact that today, there is no worker who goes underground at Lonmin without earning a minimum monthly salary of R11 000, and that includes general workers. He vowed that as AMCU, they will continue the fight to ensure that the miners killed in the Marikana Massacre did not die in vain. “We are also aware of the forces that are trying to destabilise AMCU and we will not be deterred. We don’t take orders from anyone because we are not affiliated to any political party and that is why we are constantly under attack.”

“We are also opposed to Sibanye taking over Lonmin and we will fight it. We are opposed to it because their track record is very poor. They are exploiting the people of South Africa in a pretext of creating jobs. We want mine workers to have a proper share in these mines. We want the government to declare 16 August as National Workers’ Day,” he concluded.

Zameka Nungu, whose husband was killed by police during the Marikana Massacre shared how her family’s life was changed forever that day. Noki was left with six children to raise when her husband was killed. “I remember that day and how our lives changed. Our husbands were killed like dogs. Until now, we don’t know what has happened to some of the people who played a part in the Marikana Massacre. Lonmin is helping but they are failing to fulfill some of their promises. Government, Lonmin and National Union of Mine Workers (NUM) are the ones who caused all this. There is no reason why NUM would kill their own members. I am working for Lonmin only because I have children to raise.,” she said.

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