The former leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) left the organisation almost in tatters, with large amounts of debt and dwindling membership when they vacated office in 2015. This forced NUM to dip into its reserves, spending R40m to pay creditors who were threatening to attach its property, according to the union’s secretariat report that is due to be presented at the national congress. The congress only got under way on Wednesday evening, with delegates fighting over the status of the Rustenburg region, which recently was disbanded. Fierce factional leadership battles have weakened the union, which until six years ago boasted a total membership of 306,422. These have since declined to 185,287 in 2017. Mass retrenchments in the mining sector and the infighting were blamed for the membership losses. In the report drafted by general secretary David Sipunzi, the union said although it had settled the debt it found, cost cutting measures had to be effected to stabilise th...

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