Leader of militant South African mining union re-elected
South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) on Friday re-elected as its president Joseph Mathunjwa, known for his uncompromising stance in bruising strikes on the platinum belt.
Mathunjwa, who was elected uncontested at the union’s first elective conference since 2013, has been at the helm of AMCU since it was officially registered in 2002.
AMCU is one of the largest trade unions in South Africa’s mining sector, with tens of thousands of members at gold and platinum mines operated by companies including Sibanye-Stillwater.
“I’m not a great leader but I’m good,” Mathunjwa said in an acceptance speech peppered with Biblical references.
The elective conference came after South Africa’s labour registrar earlier this year said he intended to de-register militant AMCU for breaking rules on how unions operate.
The de-registration of the union could reshape the balance of power on the country’s platinum belt, handing more influence to AMCU rival the National Union of Mineworkers, which is more closely-aligned with the governing African National Congress party.
AMCU rose to prominence in 2012, when it was at the centre of a strike at Lonmin’s Marikana mine that saw 34 miners shot dead by the police.
(By Onke Ngcuka; Editing by Alexander Winning and Toby Chopra)