South Africa: New Underground Social Storms in Mines

2 Min Read
south africa

A fresh hostage situation has emerged in a South African mine, with 447 employees being held underground since Thursday, December 7, by disgruntled miners at the Gold One gold mine on the outskirts of Johannesburg. This is the same mine where a hostage situation lasted nearly three days in late October 2023.

The reasons for this new blockade are not very clear, according to the mine management, which mentions a show of support for the fifty employees who were dismissed following their mobilization in late October. On Friday evening, the police were on-site attempting to resolve the situation.

Dialogue may prove difficult at the Gold One mine. The union involved in the previous standoff has distanced itself from this new hostage situation, which is holding over 400 employees underground, including several dozen subcontractor executives. What triggered the miners’ anger in October 2023, namely the recognition by the management of the dissident union, has almost been resolved, explains Ziyaad Hassam, the mine’s legal director.

Disciplinary Procedures

However, disciplinary procedures against 52 miners for their involvement in the last hostage-taking incident appear to have escalated the situation. Tensions are running high, especially since the head of investigators, appointed to shed light on the last hostage-taking incident, was assassinated this week on his way home.

Blockages in South African mines always raise fears of violent clashes, as seen in the Marikana massacre in 2012 when 34 miners were killed by the police. For now, according to the mine management, no one has been injured in the mine, but they fear the situation may become entrenched. The miners reportedly intend to stay underground throughout the weekend.

At the same time, 250 miners are on strike underground in a platinum mine in Rustenburg, also in South Africa. They are demanding higher wages, payment for maternity leave, and an end to the hundreds of job cuts.

Soukaina Sghir

Share this Article
Leave a comment