Parliament calls on mineral resources dept to intervene at Gupta mine

2018-02-23 15:42
(Iavan Pijoos,News24)

(Iavan Pijoos,News24)

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Johannesburg - Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources has called on the mineral resources department to intervene at Gupta-owned Optimum Coal Mine in Mpumalanga. 

Chairperson of the committee Sahlulele Luzipo, said the department should establish the future of the mine with certainty.

"It should also assist in ensuring that workers are paid," Luzipo said.

Workers downed tools on Wednesday morning, saying there was uncertainty over their jobs and the future of the mine. 

Read: Striking Gupta mineworkers demand answers about their future

The striking workers demanded to know the "truth of the sale" of the mine.

The committee said it received a letter from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), requesting its intervention in the ongoing impasse.

Luzipo said the situation at Optimum was "reminiscent" of the events that led up to the Aurora mine disaster. 

In 2011, the company was liquidated and miners were not paid their salaries for five years.

"There, workers were not paid for several months before the mine was shut down and its assets stripped by owners," Luzipo said. 

"It cannot be allowed under this government dispensation, that workers are made to bear the brunt, while the owners walk away unscathed. 

He said they were not convinced by explanations given to the workers by Optimum chief executive officer, George van der Merwe. 

In a memorandum handed to Van der Merwe, workers demanded to know if they would be paid and asked to be informed of plans to pay outstanding debt to creditors.

Van der Merwe told workers on Thursday that legal processes were under way to keep bank accounts open.

Read more on:    optimum  |  labour  |  gupta family  |  mining  |  protests

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