NUM calls off strike at South Deep gold mine

Gold Fields’ South Deep mine
Gold Fields’ South Deep mine

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called off the strike at the South Deep gold mine due to calls by members at the operation to go back to work, NUM's deputy president Phillip Vilakazi said on Thursday.

The NUM regional branch in Gauteng notified the South Deep branch that it should end the strike on December 1, but this call was ignored by the local branch.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gold Fields notified employees of the South Deep gold mine, west of Johannesburg, that NUM had called off its strike, which is in its sixth week.

In a note issued to South Deep employees on Tuesday, Martin Preece, head of Gold Fields' local operations, and Benford Mokoatle, South Deep mine manager, said that they had “received notice from the NUM head office calling off the current strike”.

City Press has a copy of the note that Preece and Mokoatle have issued.

“This follows a directive from the NUM regional office to the South Deep NUM branch to call off the strike,” Preece and Mokoatle said in the note. South Deep employees would resume work this Thursday, they added.

Vilakazi confirmed that workers will be back at the mine on Thursday.

NUM started its strike at South Deep on Friday, November 2 over the axing of 1 082 employees and 420 contractors at the operation.

Last week NUM general-secretary, David Sipunzi, suspended 13 members of the South Deep branch following an attack on its Gauteng regional chair, Ndlela Radebe, last week.

Radebe was stabbed and injured at a mass meeting at the Greenhills Stadium in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg, and was rescued by NUM security. This after he issued a directive ordering the South Deep branch to end the protracted strike.

* This article was updated on December 12 to include the NUM's comment.

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