South Africa: hundreds of miners trapped underground by demonstrators South Africa: hundreds of miners trapped underground by demonstrators

South Africa: hundreds of miners trapped underground by demonstrators

South Africa: hundreds of miners trapped underground by demonstrators

Miners trapped more than 400 of their colleagues underground on Friday in a gold mine in South Africa, against a backdrop of tensions linked to a murder this week , we learned from the operator.

The blockage of 447 miners underground has taken place since the end of the night shift on Thursday at the Springs Gold Mine, east of Johannesburg , where more than 500 miners suffered the same fate for almost three days in October, on background of rivalries between local unions.

This new mobilization was launched after the murder this week of a Gold Mine investigator who worked on the October blockade, declared Ziyaad Hassam, legal manager of the mine, denouncing a "hostage taking" .

According to police cited by local media, the man, aged 55, was shot and killed in his car on Tuesday. Police have not given a motive for the killing.

Hooded rebel employees took the access badges of their colleagues on Thursday evening, "who therefore cannot return to the surface", added Mr. Hassam, adding that two miners who managed to get out on Friday morning confirmed this information to management.

According to the company, middle managers and contract workers are among those held underground.

The latter suspects a link between the murder of the investigator and disciplinary measures decided after the October mobilization, which led to the dismissal of 50 employees.

The police, present on the scene to monitor the situation, did not immediately observe any reprehensible activities, said a spokesperson.

In a separate incident, nearly 250 miners demanding better wages demonstrated Friday at a platinum mine for their third consecutive day , according to companies and unions, but an agreement was reached to end their movement, according to local media .

This mine is located in Rustenburg, east of the capital Pretoria. They were demanding in particular an increase in salaries, payment of maternity leave and an end to the reduction of the workforce by the hundreds , detailed the spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Livhuwani Mammburu.

According to this spokesperson, the miners were also protesting against the fact that the operator wanted to cut 500 jobs and at the same time recruit new managers.

Twenty-eight demonstrators suffering from chronic illnesses came to the surface on Thursday. According to the ENCA television channel, around a hundred miners decided to come back after discussions between the NUM and the miners, and the remaining miners should follow suit.

The Ministry of Mines has expressed its concern over the recent increase in the number of underground demonstrations.

“ This poses serious risks in terms of health and safety ,” declared ministry spokesperson Makhosonke Buthelezi, saying he feared injuries or even deaths during these mobilizations.

The mining sector employs hundreds of thousands of people in South Africa, very rich in deposits of gold, diamonds, coal and other minerals, and the world's largest exporter of platinum.
Previous Post Next Post