Cosatu disagrees with decision to resume operations at Lily Mine

By Drum Digital
30 May 2016

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says they disapprove of the decision by Lily Mine’s senior management to resume operations while three mine workers are still buried underground.

By Ayanda Sitole

Sizwe Pamla, the organisation’s spokesperson, says the decision is insensitive and shows that profit is prioritised above workers.

“The decision to resume operations before the rescue operations have been finalised, proves that Lily Mine views workers as cheap labour that is easily disposable,” he says.

“It is shocking to hear that one of the unions, that represents mostly white surface workers, has been urging the mine management to reopen the mine and forget about the trapped miners. The families of the trapped miners deserve to see their loved ones rescued and brought to the surface, so that they can get closure.”

Sizwe also says injured miners and their families have not received any financial compensation from mine management or Government, despite promises to do so.

He says the Department of Mineral Resources, Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, has failed to pay workers and abandoned them at the mercy of the “marauding mine profiteers”.

“It is galling to see that both the mine management and the Department have treated the Lily Mine disaster as a public relations problem, instead of genuinely assisting the injured workers and the families of the trapped workers.”

“If Lily Mine cannot bring to the surface the trapped miners, how can they guarantee the safety of the workers they want to send underground? We call on both the Department of Labour and Mineral Resources to stop the deadly mining operations at Lily Mine and we also demand that the trapped workers be rescued first, and the injured miners compensated, before the mine can invest money on reopening the mine.”

It’s been over four months since a container with the three workers, Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyarende, inside collapsed and was buried during a rockfall and rescue operations were stopped in March, with experts recommending a new point of entry to drill.

Operations were expected to resume in June.

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