Situation tense at Sibanye mines after intimidation, destruction of property


JOHANNESBURG, November 28 – Sibanye-Stillwater said on Wednesday acts of violence were continuing at its South African gold operations due to an ongoing strike action, following a relatively peaceful weekend as worker attendance improved.

Sibanye said the situation at the Beatrix and Driefontein operations, in particular, remained tense, with striking workers causing damage to company property and restricting access to the company’s operating mine sites.

About 15,000 members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) embarked on a protected strike at Sibanye on the evening shift last Wednesday after a deadlock in wage negotiations. The union is demanding R12,500 salaries plus R1,000 increments every year for three years. Sibanye says this is unaffordable.

Soon after the strike commenced, a miner was killed and several injured in shootings and stabbings at Beatrix mine in Welkom and at Kloof mine in Johannesburg as clashes broke out between Amcu and rival union members.

This prompted Sibanye to approach the labour court for an urgent interdict to prevent further violence.

On Wednesday, Sibanye said Tuesday’s violence was in direct contravention of the interdict granted by the labour court.

“Sibanye-Stillwater respects the right of Amcu members to strike, and upholds the right of employees who wish to work to do so,” it said in a statement.

“By their unlawful actions, striking employees are preventing other employees from exercising their right to work, thereby inflicting financial hardship on employees who do not wish to strike.”

“In order to ensure that the rights of all workers are respected and to avoid further violence, management continues to engage with union leadership with a view to signing a Peace Pact,” it added.

Sibanye said it regarded the safety and wellbeing of all its employees as its top priority and would take appropriate measures to ensure that the interdict granted by the labour court was honoured while pursuing efforts to secure a peace pact among all stakeholders.

– African News Agency (ANA)