Workers at 3rd Gupta mine not paid


Cape Town – It has now been confirmed that workers at a third Gupta-owned mine have not been paid their wages.

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu told Fin24 on Monday afternoon that their members at the Shiva Uranium mine near Klerksdorp had not been paid.

He added that management at the mine had a meeting with workers on Monday, and had promised that they will be paid on February 28.

NUM said in a statement on its website on Friday that its members at Koornfontein Mine would embark on a strike this week as they are concerned about the future of the mine and the nonpayment of their wages last week. NUM is the majority union at the mine with 512 of the 612 workers at the mine being NUM members.

The union also confirmed that workers at the Optimum Coal Mine had not received their wages by Friday morning. Workers at that mine will also not go to work until their salaries are paid, according to NUM.

Optimum Coal Mine, Koornfontein Mine and Shiva Uranium are all owned by companies that fall within the larger Gupta empire.

As Fin24 reported earlier on Monday, a number of Gupta-linked companies, including Optimum Coal Mine and Shiva Uranium, this month appointed business rescue practitioners. 

Payments to employees and creditors are expected to be finalised by February 28, according to the practitioners. 

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union  (AMCU), meanwhile, said its members had also embarked on protest action at Gupta-owned mines over non-payment of salaries. 

“AMCU condemns this blatant exploitation of workers by employers who fail to pay their salaries when workers have worked hard in the production process,” the trade union said in a statement. 

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), of which Zwelinzima Vavi is the general secretary, on Monday pledged its full support for workers at Gupta-owned mines who have not been paid.

“It is intolerable that mineworkers, their families and communities are being punished for the crimes of the Guptas and their cronies in Eskom, who have looted billions of rands by exploiting the workers who risk their lives and health mining the coal for Eskom’s power stations,” SAFTU said in a statement on Monday. 

“Now the workers face unemployment and their families and local communities face poverty.”SAFTU wants all the money owed to the workers and the cost of keeping the mines open to be recovered by the Assets Forfeiture Unit from “those who embezzled it”.

In the view of SAFTU the latest non-payment of workers is further justification for its (SAFTU’s) demand for the nationalisation of mines.

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