State’s labour relations man probed for helping to start fake union

The government’s top labour relations technocrat faces an internal investigation into his alleged role in setting up a fake union — supposedly intended to destroy the troublesome but powerful Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), the department of labour confirmed this week.

Thembinkosi Mkalipi, the government’s chief director of labour relations, could face disciplinary action for his involvement in the creation of the Workers’ Association Union (WAU) — the creation of which, according to one sworn statement — was planned in conjunction with President Jacob Zuma and State Security Minister David Mahlobo.

Mkalipi stands accused of helping the WAU to register as a union in violation of departmental rules. In the process, his superiors in the labour department believe, he may have undermined measures specifically designed to prevent political interference in the regulation of trade unions.

The internal probe is to investigate how the WAU was formed, and started operating, in October 2013 despite only being registered in February the following year.

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