We want our money - former NUM members
THE National Union of Mineworkers has been accused of stealing the retrenchment packages of its former members worth about R6-million.
Seven angry former NUM members staged a sit-in at the union's offices in Johannesburg last week, demanding answers as to what happened to money, the Labour Court had ordered should be paid to them.
The former members were part of about 4000 workers at the now-defunct Doornfontein Gold Mining Company in Carletonville, which fired them for participating in a strike in 1991.
NUM took the company to court after the workers were dismissed. They had embarked on an industrial action against proposed retrenchments. The court found in 1993 that the strike was not illegal and that the workers' dismissal was unfair.
NUM president Senzekile Zokwana confirmed that he had met the disgruntled former workers. He said he had ordered the union's Carletonville branch to investigate.
Former employee Sibongiseni Nzala said: "We want to know what happened to the money. We have met the president (Zokwana), deputy president (Piet Masota) and treasurer general (David Machatha), but no one is prepared to talk to us."
Mmaetsatsi Dithake said: "My husband has died and I cannot send my children to school although there is money owed to us."
According to court documents, the company was ordered to reinstate all the fired employees, pay them R3-million and also pay the union's cost of the court action. NUM was representing 2376 workers. The employer lodged an appeal but lost, and was ordered to pay R6-million.
A letter from Durban Roodepoort Deep Mine, a West Rand mining company that took over the operations, states that the money was paid to NUM for distribution to all former workers.
Zokwana said he had been told that the former miners had been paid some money by the company, but did not know the terms of payment.