PARLIAMENT, February 14 – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday hit back at Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema’s suggestion that he had been co-opted by mining giant Anglo American in his years as leader of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
Ramaphosa recalled that the NUM had difficulty in recruiting mine workers outside the mines, including on buses on their way home. It then sought permission from Anglo and Rand Gold to canvass staff inside their hostels.
He recalled that at the time, in the 1970s, these were so inaccessible that they were called “fortresses”.
The strategy worked and NUM grew by leaps and bounds, Ramaphosa said.
He argued that the mining giant would never have acted against its own interests, noting that it was hardest hit by the miners’ strike of 1987, which he led.
“Why would Anglo act against its own interests?”
Ramaphosa made the remarks at the start of his reply to the debate on his state of the nation address last week.
He also shut down suggestions by former African National Congress (ANC) colleague turned opposition leader Terror Lekota that he had betrayed Lekota and others for the anti-apartheid struggle when they were arrested in the 1970s.
He stressed that he had always refused to bow to pressure from the apartheid regime to testify against his comrades in the liberation movement.
Ramaphosa went further to recall that when Malema visited Britain after forming his party, there were rumours that it was a project of MI6, the colloquial name for the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service.
He said he never believed the rumour because he knew the strength of Malema’s character and his commitment to the people of South Africa.
“Beware of the wedge driver, look at his poisonous snake,” Ramaphosa said.
“These stories that are spread about people doing that and that are so dangerous.” (ANA)