Relief as 400 miners re-emerge from underground

DFA reports that another sigh of relief echoed at the Gold One Mine Modder Easter Mine late on Monday after more than 400 miners re-emerged to the surface after four days trapped underground. There was a lot of singing and dancing from some of the miners who were waiting patiently for their colleagues to re-emerge from underground after spending four days trapped inside the mine shaft. The latest incident was described by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, as a hostage situation, and no longer a sit-in, after it was revealed that at least three miners were badly assaulted by unknown culprits underground and let out of the mine at the weekend.

This comes after the mine retrenched 70 workers who were alleged to have participated in the previous sit-in at the mine in October. “This weekend, we visited Gold One Modder East operations to engage with mine management and the workers on possible solutions to the underground sit-ins. Regrettably, the situation changed dramatically with evidence pointing to a hostage situation which requires police intervention,” Mantashe told Newzroom Afrika on Sunday. An employee who identified himself as Hendrik Nchabeleng, described the last four days as challenging.

Sifiso Nkosi, who is the National Union of Mineworkers branch secretary at the mine, said all the employees resurfaced on Monday after spending nearly four days in the mine. “We can confirm that all employees have resurfaced and those who needed medical attention were able to get assistance. I can also confirm that those assaults that took place were taken from them,” he said.Nkosi added that the union was assisting some of the workers who were dismissed by the company for allegedly taking part in the first sit-in at the mine two months ago.

“We are assisting some of the employees who came forward to appeal against their dismissal. Our relationship with our members is still alive. It is a great concern to us because some of our members have been bullied and victimised by some hooligans who are not satisfied, but they need to take this up with the company,” he said.

by Siyabonga Sithole

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