Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: REUTERS
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: REUTERS

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), the biggest union in the platinum industry, has scored a major victory with the labour registrar deciding against its deregistration for not holding an elective conference. 

On Monday, labour relations registrar advocate Lehlohonolo Molefe announced that he had decided not to continue with his plans to deregister Amcu following a number of written representations from the union’s leadership.

In March, Molefe issued a notice of intention to deregister Amcu, after it allegedly ceased to function in terms of its own constitution, a move Amcu described at the time as a political attack aimed at destroying the organisation. 

Molefe charged that Amcu had not held an elective conference for five years and had effectively ceased to function as a “genuine trade union” as envisaged in the Labour Relations Act (LRA).

Amcu rose to prominence for leading the strike that led to the Marikana massacre in August 2012, where 34 protesting Lonmin mineworkers were gunned down by police wielding automatic assault rifles. Another 10 people including police officers were killed in the preceding week.

“Having considered further representations by Amcu which include supporting documents, the registrar has taken a decision not to continue with the deregistration of Amcu,” Molefe said on Monday. 

He said Amcu was scheduled to hold its long-awaited national congress from September 18-20 2019. He said his job was to ensure the optimal use of the collective bargaining framework to promote co-operative labour relations and economic efficiency and growth.

“The [registrar’s] office also promotes strong unionism, employer organisations and promotes the establishment of councils in order to achieve sound and stable labour relations.”

When contacted by Business Day on Monday, Amcu national treasurer Jimmy Gama pleaded: “Just give us some time to reflect on this please.”

In May, Molefe trained his guns on the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the largest trade union in SA, when he stated that its audit reports from 2009 to 2015 had failed to comply with the LRA.

He charged that Numsa’s audited financial statements for 2016 and 2017 were still outstanding and requested that explanations for the union’s spending and expenditure over the years, amounting to millions of rand, appear on the auditor’s own letterhead.

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za