South African mining firms and unions exposed for pay off deal

South African mining companies have been paying the salaries of officials in the National Union of Mineworkers, according to an investigative report by the Daily Maverick.

The practice has been going on since the late 1980s and, now, the companies have decided to stop the payments.

Anglo Gold Ashanti paid for the NUM president while BHP Billiton paid for the deputy president, along with one or two others from other unions.

In addition to salaries, the firms paid for vehicles, gas, cellphones and other perks.

Payments were kept off the books as both companies and unions kept mum.

Union officials said the deals were necessary to help keep organizers in place and build capacity amongst members.

The firms have said they want to terminate the "very uncomfortable arrangement" in the interests of transparency.

Read the full feature article.

Image: Government ZA, Creative Commons licence via Flickr