The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is an organisation stuck in a dark abyss. And it seems to have lost the capacity to find its way out, digging itself deeper and deeper into the hellish scenario in which it has already lost more than 132,000 members in the past five years. The union that boasted a membership of 300,000 in 2012, now at 176,000, is in trouble and it seems there is no hope in sight, with rhetoric being used to paper over the cracks, in place of the honest introspection needed to help it move forward. An admission that the union has failed to service its members adequately came easily in 2012, for then the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union had the numbers to show the extent of NUM defections. However, the conversation about disunity and its causes is being sidestepped by its leaders, despite cracks showing all around them. On Thursday and Friday this week the NUM held its central committee meeting, bringing together 700 regional leaders and shop st...

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