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The Chemicals, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (Ceppwawu) has informed the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy about its conference resolution which was taken in 2018 to call for the nationalisation of the privately owned energy and chemical company, Sasol, in which the union argued that the company was built with taxpayers’ money during the apartheid years. 

Mr Welile Nolingo, who is the Secretary General of Ceppwawu, said the union further took a resolution in the same conference to ban labour brokers. “We have taken note of the fact that labour brokers are now regulated under the new legislation, but companies continue to cheat the system. Therefore, our view is that they should be banned, all together,” he said.

Ceppwawu appeared before the committee, together with the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity and National Union of Metal Works of South Africa as part of the stakeholder engagement meeting which will enable the committee to draft a consultative programme of action for the sixth Parliament.

The committee Chairperson, Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, said: “We have decided to meet with stakeholders in the mining and energy sector in order to get agenda points for our work with regard to which areas the committee should focus on in playing the oversight role. Unions should be able to say how the committee should deal with legislative frameworks in order for their objectives to be achieved.”

Mr Gideon du Plessis, who is the Secretary General of Solidarity, said a balance should be established between the interests of all role players in the mining and energy sector, including investors, workers, communities and government. According to Solidarity, legislation should be changed to do away with the 50+1 plus one majority representation of workers for a union to be recognised in a workplace.

“This majoritarian principle is undemocratic and takes away the workers’ constitutional right to freedom of association,” said Mr Du Plessis.

The committee will continue with stakeholder engagements on Wednesday, 21 August 2019, meeting with the South African Development Agency, Mineral Council of South Africa, Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa, South African Renewable Energy Council, Energy Intensive Users Group of South Africa, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and the South African Petroleum Industry Association.

By Justice Molafo

20 August 2019