THE National Union ofMineworkers is appalled by Moeletsi Mbeki's views on trade union leadership as appeared in a Sunday newspaper.
NUM believes his argument that the trade union movement has no leadership, no education, no knowledge and expertise are regrettable and unfortunate coming from someone trade unions have always held in high esteem.
It is totally incorrect to say that the movement lost its leadership in 1994 when the bulk of the country's leadership continues to be drawn from the labour movement.
It is yet to be known what yardstick Mbeki uses to measure leadership, knowledge and expertise.
Trade unions are not in the business of entrepreneurship, but to protect workers and ensure that the playing field is levelled for the working class.
Mbeki must clarify what he means by saying that the union leadership has "no education". If he means a PhD in economics, then he must know that the bulk of our members who come through the ranks of the shop floor have not been as lucky as him to study while people were fighting apartheid and dying. As a matter of fact, most union leaders studied to varying degrees and under very trying circumstances.
Trade unions are not universities run by chancellors with strings of foreign qualifications and theory that still needs to be translated into practice.
We believe that Mbeki's objectivity has been shaded and tainted by personal grudges of his brother's recall from the presidency. While he never ran a trade union and displays an incoherent understanding of trade unionism, his analysis displays a lack of knowledge and education on trade unionism and ignorance on the role that unions have played and continue to play in the country under leaders he says have no leadership.
Lesiba Seshoka, NUM - Gauteng