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Solidarity appalled by hostage drama at Gold One Mine


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Solidarity appalled by hostage drama at Gold One Mine

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13th December 2023


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Solidarity views the latest hostage drama at the Gold One Mine in Springs in a very serious light, condemning it as yet another case of appalling and cowardly behaviour.

Around 440 miners were trapped underground from 7 to 11 December, some of whom were not just being held hostage but were also assaulted and humiliated. White supervising managers are believed to have been specifically targeted for some of the assaults. 

Moreover, this incident follows in the wake of the equally shocking incident in which around 562 miners were held hostage at the very same Gold One Mine from 22 to 25 October following a labour law dispute between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and Gold One’s management about recognition rights. 

Since then, the Gold One Mine has subjected 52 of the miners who had participated in this unlawful action to disciplinary hearings and has dismissed them.

In the latest incident the hostages are believed to have been the victims of a group of miners who held an unlawful sit-down strike to object to the dismissal of those very 52 workers. They demanded that those workers be re-instated.

Paul Mardon, Deputy General Secretary: Strategy and Sustainability at Solidarity, says although there is relief about the release of the miners, many of them had to undergo medical treatment afterwards.

“Some of the perpetrators were armed with traditional weapons used to seriously assault some of the approximately 440 hostages. Apparently, the assaults targeted supervising managers who were also held hostage, white supervising managers in particular. 

“These managers were also humiliated by having to take off all their clothes, after which they were assaulted,” Mardon said. 

While these persons were specifically targeted, the health and safety of all the hostages was put at risk by the action and Mardon says their lives were at stake.
“There was insufficient provision of water and food for the hostages. Some of them had to use chronic medication which of course was not available to them underground,” he said.

Solidarity also wants to emphasise that the labour law issues in question can be resolved by means of existing procedure.

The Labour Relations Act and the disciplinary code of the Gold One mine provide for procedures that can be followed if there is a disagreement with an employer’s actions. 

However, this group of mine workers did not follow the right steps and took matters into their own hands by taking out their anger on their co-workers, holding them hostage, assaulting them and humiliating them. 

Mardon says that efforts have been made in recent years to improve the health and safety of employees in South African mines. 

“The mutual trust and cooperation between all interest groups such as employees, trade unions, employers and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy lays the foundation for this cooperation. 

“Mineworkers’ health and safety and those affected by mining operations should be the most important factor in mining. It is even more important than traditional labour relations. 

“Labour disputes must therefore never be conducted in such a way that it endangers the health and safety of people,” he said.

Solidarity demands that the Gold One mine and the South African Police Service take action against the culprits. If it is found that any trade union approves or allows this illegal action, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy as well as the Department of Labour must intervene. 



Issued by Solidarity

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