POLITICS

Zuma Involved In Setting Up Trade Union To Spy On Workers After Marikana, Say Court Papers

President Jacob Zuma was directly involved in setting up a trade union to spy on workers in the aftermath of Marikana, court papers allege.

19/12/2016 08:12 SAST | Updated 19/12/2016 08:38 SAST
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A remembrance cross made of flowers is seen during the commemoration of the 2012 Marikana massacre on August 16, 2016 in Rustenburg, South Africa. August 16, 2016 marks 4-years since 34 miners were killed during a wage increase protest at Lonmin mine. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandla)

President Jacob Zuma met with the leaders of a would-be trade union at least four times to thrash out its mandate, including plans to spy on rival trade unions.

News24 is reporting that Thebe Maswabi, in court papers lodged at the High Court in Pretoria, claims an agent for the State Security Agency (SSA) facilitated the four meetings at the Union Buildings between Zuma, Maswabi and his colleagues. According to Maswabi there were four meetings between September and October 2013.

Maswabi, a founder of the Workers Association Union (WAU), is suing Zuma and a number of ministers for R114-million in damages. He alleges he was instructed by Zuma to establish the union and was assisted by the SSA. Initial funding was stopped, which left Maswabi in debt. The target of the operation was the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), that emerged as the dominant union in the platinum belt after the Marikana massacre in 2012.

According to court papers, it was decided during meetings between Zuma and the trade unionists that WAU would sign up workers who were prepared to negotiate rather than strike. WAU was also tasked with gleaning "sensitive information" from rival unions. Members will also provide feedback about events on the ground to the SSA.

Several supporting documents have been filed, including bank statements, pictures of cars provided to the union leadership by the SSA as well as cellphone numbers linking the operation to the SSA.