Over 500 mineworkers are in a precarious situation, as they have remained underground for a third consecutive day at Gold One Mine’s Modder East shaft in Springs, east of Johannesburg.
DFA reports that two labour unions, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), have been embroiled in a dispute concerning the workers’ actions.
The police are on-site, where Amcu claims the workers are voluntarily refusing to resurface and are staging a “sit-in” until Amcu receives official recognition as a union by the mine.
In contrast, NUM argues that the 543 workers are its members being held underground against their will by “hooligans.”
Livhuwani Mammburu, NUM’s national spokesperson, vehemently asserted that there is no voluntary sit-in at the mine.
He stated, “The National Union of Mineworkers can confirm that 543 NUM members are being held hostage underground at Gold One mine in Springs. NUM members are being held hostage underground against their will. There is no sit-in underground by our members.”
According to Mammburu, the alleged hostage situation began on Sunday night when workers reported for their night shift underground, only to be forcibly prevented from returning to the surface on Monday morning.
He continued, “Nine NUM members were injured after they were assaulted by the hooligans who were preventing them from resurfacing. They are still preventing them from coming to the surface.”
“NUM is deeply concerned that there are numerous women being held hostage underground. This is entirely unacceptable.”
On Monday, Jon Hericourt, the spokesperson for Gold One Mine, also disclosed that at least 543 of their miners were being held hostage after they were prevented from resurfacing at the end of their shift.
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