President of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), Joseph Mathunjwa, said on Friday that the planned deregistration of the union by the Registrar of Labour Relations was a “political attack”.
“The deregistration is a political attack against AMCU. It is a political attack on AMCU for being a genuine trade union. It is very clear that there is a concerted effort to destroy AMCU,” Mathunjwa said.
“We find it strange that the state is being so harsh against us when it is so soft on mining houses who fail to comply with Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act and the Mining Charter. Mining houses were given 10 years to comply with regulations, but AMCU must be deregistered.”
This week, the labour department said it had given notice to cancel the registration of the militant AMCU, accusing it of not operating in compliance with its own constitution.
In a notice published on Wednesday, Registrar of Labour Relations, Lehlohonolo Molefe, said AMCU was deemed “not a genuine trade union” as envisaged in the Labour Relations Act.
Molefe also said AMCU had failed to hold its five-yearly congress last year as required by its constitution and had failed to adequately explain why.
AMCU has been invited to make written representations as to why its registration should not be cancelled.
But Mathunjwa refuted these claims by the department, saying that AMCU was a genuine trade union, compliant with all Labour Relations Act regulations, and was continuing to submit its financial statements every year.
Instead, Mathunjwa accused Molefe of playing to the political gallery, saying that the union had been engaging him since last year about preparations being made to holding its national congress by May 2019.
“We were much surprised when the registrar issued the notice on 24 April. But we first heard about this from the media before we were formally noticed. I must say that we find it highly inappropriate action by the registrar. He is interfering in internal Amcu issues,” he said.
“Other sweetheart unions like the Cosatu-affiliate CEPPWAWU was not deregistered when found to be in serious breach of the LRA, instead he chooses to focus on AMCU.”
Mathunjwa said AMCU’s constitution demands that the union hold a national congress every five years.
But the union had last year asked for a six-month grace period to prepare to hold the congress next month due to the vast number of branches and regions being formed, and the five-month-long strike at Sibanye.
Mathunjwa said that as matters had come to a head, AMCU will be meeting with the registrar next week Tuesday with the hope that he will see sense so that the union can continue preparing for the congress.
He also said that AMCU had given the matter to its legal team to advise how it can be challenged in court.
– African News Agency