Zuma: Majority unions rule

2012-09-13 17:38

Parliament - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday ruled out the participation of unrecognised, small unions in wage negotiations.

Responding to a question in the National Assembly on wage negotiations at Lonmin mine, he told MPs that in a democracy, the majority prevailed.

"We operate within regulated society... Between workers and employers there have been negotiations and agreements, and those agreements must be respected," Zuma said.

"In a democratic situation, it is the majority that prevail. I can't change the rules because you want to make a particular point. You can't then say, smaller unions must then be compared to the bigger unions in the same way."

He was addressing DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, who had earlier asked if he would consider changes to the labour relations regime, which pegged the union representation threshold at 51 percent.

She said this had led to the situation where Amcu (the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) was not a recognised union at Lonmin's platinum mine, and therefore excluded from wage negotiations.

This had empowered "the ANC-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers" to establish a monopoly at the mine.

"Does the president believe that smaller unions should be empowered to negotiate on behalf of their members, and not be excluded by big unions like NUM, in a winner-takes-all scenario?"

Would this not avert tension and the possible violence now posing a threat to South Africa's mining sector, Mazibuko asked.

The president said workers who did not join the majority union could not expect the same privileges.

"Workers who do not join the union, can't have the same kind of privileges... You can't have a union of half-a-dozen people [and say] because they've declared it a union, you must have the same rights.

"You have more rights because you're a majority; you have less rights because you're a minority. That's how democracy works," he said, provoking a huge outcry from opposition benches.

Zuma told MPs it was "a question of accepting the rules of democracy, and operating within them".

An unidentified MP responded from the opposition side of the House: "You don't understand democracy!"

* Follow Fin24 on TwitterFacebookGoogle+ and Pinterest.

  • JamesMWood - 2012-09-13 17:56

    So basically the same applies because I\m white I have fewer rights than blacks because I'm a minority. Do the other minority groups understand what this means?

      customdesign - 2012-09-13 18:27

      Yep - we do have less rights, BBE and land expropriation for example illustrates this, but that is not democracy. In a democracy we should have equal right.

      mtizozo.nsele - 2012-09-13 18:39

      It may sound very step back wards but even a stupit white person in this country or a hobo on the road still enjoys the impact of Dr Vervoeg. That man I wish he can wake up from his grave and see that blacks they still suffer from the apartaid. You look at those miners all of them are blacks and you come and cry about BEE,

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-09-13 18:41

      @ JamesMWood: you only realise this now? I picked it up early in 1994.. truth be told if you are white you have friggin few rights in SA and let no one tell you differently. Have you noticed how AA work? How about BEE? EE? you are in the minority and you are SCREWED bru...

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-09-13 18:42

      democracy the african way

      JamesMWood - 2012-09-14 09:47

      Well I've been rather fortunate to have spent around 12 years sinece 96 out of the country where there isn't this AA and BEE crap. Those with the enititled mentality should realise they aint gonna get a thing and whites will keep succeedingg regardless and what their pathetic government tries to do to us.

  • mtizozo.nsele - 2012-09-13 18:45

    When it was planted in the past, it was done such that it will always resufarce itself.

  • deepchund.ramchurren - 2012-09-13 18:45

    What do we expect from somebody with 4 wives, having a shower to prevent HIV, encourages more children per family when the state cannot cope at all levels of service delivery with the current population level.

  • mmotsamai - 2012-09-13 18:45

    Idoit, thats what you get for voting for an uneducated poligamist basterd. So according to this idoit if whites are lesser people. How idiotic

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-09-13 19:10

    OK well I take it back. JZ please do not say anything else. The Majority Unions have failed their members by allowing an untenable and unworkable situation to perpetuate for years. No different to the Majority Govt.

  • eban.tempellhoff - 2012-09-13 19:10

    PRESIDENT Zuma has just said live on TV in parliament .."people in the Majority have more rights and those in the Minority have less right"??? My God, what is this man saying....????

  • snethemba.mthembu.3 - 2012-09-13 19:36

    Msholozi lo my president. Mangaung here we come. Second term

  • gracemoremi - 2012-09-13 20:17

    proven - our president exposed his stupidity on live television.

      sbongile.grace - 2012-09-13 20:26

      you can say dat again.......

      ishmael.mutengwa.7 - 2012-09-14 11:27

      yep jacob zuma is a complete idiot. we here in zim already knew about this.

  • gordon.turner.37 - 2012-09-13 20:40

    I am going to give the mumpara the benefit doubt on language on this one. He used the word RIGHTS but watching him say it he meant power to make policy / rules. One thing you can be sure of, he is sly if not smart and

  • lums.zindela - 2012-09-13 21:01

    OMG!!\r\nThe next thing you gonna tell us is: Red traffic light means, Red cars have the right of way... lol

  • matsosotsika - 2012-09-13 21:27


  • prakash.singh.169 - 2012-09-13 21:28


      siphom.mngadi.7 - 2012-09-13 23:03

      Prakash maybe in ur culture you are allowed to have more one wife but forturnately in my culture i can have more wives than i desire , love it or hate

  • siphom.mngadi.7 - 2012-09-13 22:59

    Yeah MR PRESIDENT JZ majority rules - and thanx for what you dii today that chic does not have a respect of a an African man maybe she must be change her skin colour, DA will never rule SA

      richard.hipkin - 2012-09-14 09:50

      And how the uneducated follow like sheep.

  • Mandla - 2012-09-13 23:03

    you clearly dont believe that there are majority hardheaded, thinking forthemself unions mr president?

  • medhanie.ghezehey - 2012-09-13 23:16

    'minority has less rights'? he is not serious.

  • irvin.mkhari - 2012-09-14 00:14

    he is really confused,he must read history correctly.

  • wanda.novukela - 2012-09-14 07:21

    \You have more rights because you are majority, you have less rights because you are minority\. I am waiting for a follow up article saying \Mr president was misquoted, it was just a joke to start up your weekend\.

  • sisie.indola - 2012-09-14 08:00

    What he is saying is that they work with big Unions as they have been paid off or for (whichever?)already. So you crummy little unions had better go suck an egg, because you are nothing but fodder. I think that someone should give Zuma a lesson on democracy as he does not grasp the finer points at all. I wish how i wish that SACP and COSATU broke away from the alliance and became their own parties in their own rights - that could really prove interesting. I think that COSATU (labour party) could become a lead opposition party to the ANC.

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-09-14 09:45

    Well now zoom zoom has just applied his very simple mind. Majority get the cream while the minority gets the we understand this simple philosophy of his governments democratic ruling. Surely if you pay your money you are entitled to be represented why must they dictacte who we can use or who we cant. Just because the Numsa and Cosatu etc are up governments backside people must be supported by them. Come on zuma, stop trying to be a dictator, this is 2012 dictator governments dont work, I really think you need to go somewhere far away in lala land and apply your mind. Does that mean now that whites have to start breeding like hell so that we can get some of the cream and not the scraps. Zuma dont be afraid, take a hand and we can all walk forward to a better future, dont keep pushing the hand away that can help you become a better president. Listening to your citizens can only help it wont harm.

  • julian.knight.7 - 2012-09-14 09:48

    Democracy without the recognition and protection of minority rights is nothing but Mob Rule. Our President seems to have forgotten that we have a Constitution that has a Bill of Rights

  • kgalalelo.malesele - 2012-09-14 13:00

    i wonder what will take to save this country from itself, i think it has gone down the very steep slope and has very bad multiple injuries if it was far we wouldnt even call the burns 1ST DEGREE its very very worse than that. corruption, selfishness, carelessness have become the backbone of this Cry The Beloved Coutry.....majority rules minority shut-up is now the descrition of democracy.

  • pages:
  • 1