Union leaders go underground to bring chronically ill back to surface from mine sit-in

Bakubung platinum mine in Rustenburg.

Bakubung platinum mine in Rustenburg.

8th December 2023

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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JOHANNESBURG ( – Union leaders have gone underground to fetch chronically ill mineworkers at the Bakubung platinum mine in Rustenburg, where an underground sit-in is being staged, and to bring them back to surface.

Bakubung platinum mine is owned by Wesizwe Platinum, a company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has confirmed that NUM Rustenburg regional leaders went underground to fetch 28 workers with enduring health disorders and have returned these workers to surface for health reasons.

More than 250 NUM members still remain underground as part of the sit-in protest, NUM confirmed in a media release to Mining Weekly on Friday.

NUM made the point that those members still underground as part of their sit-in demonstration will return to surface if their demands are met.

These demands are that workers receive 100% medical aid benefit, living-out allowances of R6 800, leave allowance, and that full maternity leave benefits are afforded to pregnant women miners when on maternity leave, including full salary and full medical aid.

The NUM national and regional leadership led by the NUM president Dan Balepile conducted a meeting on Zoom with the company management on Friday to try and address the sit-in.

“The outcome of the meeting will be communicated soon,” NUM stated.

The contents of the media release put out by Bakubung mine management on December 6 declared the underground sit-in situation as illegal.

Mine management became aware of the underground sit-in at 77 Level Shaft in the morning of Wednesday.

The sit-in led to the failure of the next shift of mineworkers to assume their employment responsibilities.

In the afternoon, management acted to diffuse the situation by meeting with the representatives of the aggrieved sit-in employees.

“Several issues have been outlined as the grievances and causes of the underground sit-in. These include changes to the minimum requested remuneration for employees, changes to employees’ benefits, subsidies and working conditions,” the statement outlined.

Management’s intervention plan includes continuous discussion and negotiations with those involved to end the underground sit-in as soon as possible.

As a short-term intervention, management cancelled Thursday’s morning and afternoon shifts in the interests of safety and to eliminate the possibility of community unrest, which, it was feared, might arise and pose a danger to mine personnel and mine assets.

Management emphasised its intention to correct the situation as soon as possible and promised further updates when they become available.

NUM stated that the company’s announcement at a mass meeting that it was going to issue a Section 189 notice affecting 530 workers had evoked the angry response.

Mining Weekly can report that the low prices being received for platinum group metals (PGMs) is placing pressure on the PGMs industry as a whole.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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