Strike over at Somkhele, murder case continues

2012-10-09 00:00

SOMKHELE mine employees are breathing a little easier after the unions and mine management came to an agreement yesterday, ending a week-long illegal strike and returning the mine to production.

The strike, which has seen one security guard killed, will see miners receive an across the board increase of R1 000 and a R300 increase in their housing allowance to R900 per month.

Contract workers from Sandton Plant Hire (SPH) downed tools on September 28 at the mine on the outskirts of the Mtubatuba Municipality.

KZN National Union of Mine workers (NUM) regional officer Bonga Ngwane said he is pleased that NUM members employed by SPH have finally agreed to return to work after the illegal strike.

“Both parties have signed an agreement which includes back pay from September 1,” said Ngwane.

He said the employees will receive a shift allowance of 12% based on their basic salary. Ngwane added the employees will receive 20 working days’ (up from 18 days’) annual leave and 39 days per sick leave cycle, maternity leave payable at 25% of their basic salary, and five days per year or 10 days per three year cycle for family responsibility leave, while those with a long service record will qualify for a monetary award.

He said all employees will be encouraged to join the existing provident fund and an affordable medical aid scheme.

In a statement, Somkhele management said employees returned to work last Friday.

However, the strike, which began on September 25, left Alpha Security guard Bhekuyise Nxumalo dead. He was hacked to death in his guard room by four men wielding pangas.

KwaMsane SAPS spokesperson Jabulani Mdletshe reported that Qinisekani Mlambo (22) and Simphiwe Ngubane (25) are still in custody after their first appearance at kwaMsane Magistrate’s Court on Friday. The two men were arrested for allegedly murdering Nxumalo.

Mdletshe said the suspects were not employed by the mine and their attack on Nxumalo was a revenge attack. “They tried to maintain their cover by acting as if they were one of the men that were on strike,” explained Mdletshe.

In another alleged revenge attack at the mine in April 2011, four security guards were shot dead.

The SAPS said at the time that mine security guards had allegedly killed one man and wounded another prior to that attack.

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