NUM supports Lily Mine workers protest to demand salaries

2017-02-04 20:00
Nkomazi Executive Mayor Thulisile Khoza addressing residents regarding the Lily Mine protest. (News24, file)

Nkomazi Executive Mayor Thulisile Khoza addressing residents regarding the Lily Mine protest. (News24, file)

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Barberton - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Saturday announced its supports for workers and communities near the Lily mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga who are demanding salaries.

On Friday, a small group of mineworkers and residents blocked off a main road and burnt tyres in protest over unpaid salaries and the abandoned rescue of three bodies trapped underground at Lily Mine.

"We fully support the workers who are protesting irrespective of their union affiliations," NUM Deputy President Joseph Montisetse said in a statement.

"The NUM has not lost hope that the miners should be rescued from underground. We will make sure that those workers are rescued whether they are alive or dead so that their families can find closure," Montisetse said.

Members of the KaloMshiyo community in Barberton joined some of the retrenched miners in a protest around 22:00 on Thursday night. Police arrived on Friday morning and cleared the scene.

READ: Heartbroken Lily Mine families still waiting to say goodbye

Business rescue

Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the Lily Mine disaster.

Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule, and Solomon Nyirenda were in a lamp room housed in a shipping container on the surface of the coal mine, when a supporting pillar underground collapsed. The container was buried under tons of rock and soil, about 60m underground. Seventy miners were rescued through a ventilation shaft.

The search for the three was suspended indefinitely when the mine’s Australian owners, Vantage Goldfields, said they needed R200m to continue the rescue mission and resume operations. The mine was placed under business rescue.

Mine management postponed Sunday's memorial service, saying it posed a security threat.

NUM previously said it would not be part of the service because there was nothing to commemorate since the bodies of the three mineworkers were still trapped underground.

"We have not lost hope that the miners should be rescued from underground. So what are we commemorating? Are we commemorating that those mineworkers are still trapped in the belly of the earth?

"The people who are organising this kind of event are unreasonable and they do not care. Shame unto them. We are not going to participate in this event," said Montisetse.

"We will make sure that those workers are rescued whether they are alive or dead. We believe that God is great. For now, we cannot speak about any commemoration and we are not going to be part of it."

Read more on:    num  |  lily mine  |  lily mine collapse  |  labour action  |  mining

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