Miners are still underground at Gold One

24th October 2023 By: News24Wire

Thirty-six hours later, more than 500 miners at the Gold One mine in Springs, east of Johannesburg, are underground while unions continue to throw allegations against each other.  

Workers who want the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) to be recognised as a union at the mine say those who are underground are there willingly, and that no one is holding them hostage, while the National Union of Mineworkers - which has been the only recognised union at the mine - allege that the miners are being held against their will and that AMCU members have assaulted some of them.

This after mine owners secured a court interdict against the AMCU and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday, prohibiting the detention of Gold One employees underground, prohibiting striking workers from preventing non-striking workers from entering or leaving the company's premises, and prohibiting strikers from damaging Gold One's property.

On Tuesday, AMCU Joburg Central regional secretary Tladi Mokwena told News24 that NUM is preventing management from speaking to them.

Christopher Khalipha, one of the workers at mine, told News24 that their colleagues, who had been underground since Monday at 18:00 when they reported for night shift duty, were still there and that they would not come out until AMCU was recognised as a union at the mine.

Khalipha, who said he was among the workers supposed to report for morning duty on Tuesday, said they had spent the night at the mine in solidarity with their underground colleagues.

He added: "We have put money together to ensure we get them food and water. We sent them last night, and we will send more this morning. They are our comrades, and we are in this fight together."

Meanwhile, NUM said 543 of its members were still being held hostage underground.

Protesting workers at Gold One mine in Springs claim their colleagues have not been held hostage and they are staging a sit-in willingly.

In a statement, the union said the hostage situation started on Monday night when workers reported for a night shift underground and were prevented from returning to the surface on Tuesday.

"Nine NUM members got injured after they were assaulted by the hooligans who were preventing them from coming to the surface. They are still preventing them from coming to the surface. NUM is also worried that a lot of women are being held hostage underground," reads the statement.

NUM added that it was the only union that had fought for women to work in the South African mining industry.

"We didn't fight for the women to work in the mining industry in South Africa to be held hostage or kidnapped underground by hooligans. The NUM calls for the law enforcement agencies in South Africa to intervene and go underground and arrest the hooligans holding our members against their will."