* Dominant NUM challenged by aggressive labour upstarts
* Mine union turf wars tap into wider services discontent
* African liberation movements have faced union threats
By Ed Stoddard and Sherilee Lakmidas
MODDER EAST/JOHANNESBURG July 4 (Reuters) – Shaking his fist
and surrounded by angry colleagues, South African gold miner
Chres Manyaka raged against ‘fat cats’ getting rich from the
sweat of the workers.
But he was not talking about managers of the Gold One
company, which had sacked him and several other fellow
workers for an illegal strike at the mine east of Johannesburg.
Manyaka’s tirade was against bosses of the National Union of
Mineworkers (NUM), a pillar in the trade union alliance that
brought workers to the fight against apartheid and helped carry
the African National Congress (ANC) to power in 1994 in the
continent’s largest economy and No. 1 platinum producer.
“If you go and see the NUM people you can see the big
stomachs. NUM now is like management,” 28-year-old Manyaka said
outside Gold One’s entrance, fringed by the blue gum trees whose
timber has been used for beams in South African mines.
Complaints that the NUM, which remains a buttress of
political and electoral support for the ruling ANC-led alliance,
is not defending the interests of its rank and file have put the
legendary labour grouping under seige.