Aurora workers get helping hand

2010-12-08 18:04
Johannesburg - Solidarity and Solidarity Helping Hand gave out food parcels to Aurora employees on Wednesday, the trade union said.

"These workers are entering their third dismal Christmas season, spokesperson Gideon du Plessis said in a statement.

"Late payment and non-payment of employees of Pamodzi Gold, which later was placed under provisional liquidation, already dates back to November 2008."

Solidarity Helping Hand and the trade union said it hoped the food parcels made a difference.

Du Plessis said since Aurora took over the management of Pamodzi mining operations, the workers' circumstances had worsened.

"These employees are filled with uncertainty over their future and their ability to provide for their families and other dependants."

Aurora Empowerment Systems took control of the Pamodzi Gold Orkney and Grootvlei mine about a year ago, after its owner went bankrupt.

Aurora has, however, been plagued by a lack of funding since it was named the preferred bidder, forcing it to close both mines.

Zondwa Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, and Khulubuse Zuma, a nephew of President Jacob Zuma, are both executives of Aurora.

Solidarity had accused Zuma of making "empty promises" and giving workers at the mines "false hope", Du Plessis said.

"Zuma approached Solidarity last week with promises to pay outstanding salaries in the sum of R5m out of his pocket," he said.

The High Court gave Aurora until December 17 to obtain the necessary funding for the final acquisition of the Orkney and Grootvlei mines.

However Solidarity would still "lodge a protest" with the competition tribunal when Aurora applied for the acquisition owing to the company's poor record - even if its started paying outstanding money to the employees, Du Plessis said.

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