Sibanye starts disciplinary proceedings
SIBANYE Gold, South Africa’s biggest gold producer, on Friday said that it had begun disciplinary proceedings against workers who were on an illegal strike, which has flared up at its Cooke Operations, about 30km south-west of Johannesburg .
The strike came after the JSE-listed company went out to defend its assets against illegal miners, also known as zama-zamas, who were illegally mining at Cooke and threatening the sustainability of the operations and posed a risk to safety of employees and surrounding communities.
Sibanye said that despite communication with employees and agreement from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the majority union, employees at Cooke embarked on the unprotected strike prior to the night shift on Tuesday (June 6).
It also said that it had applied for an interdict against the strike which had been granted by the Labour Court on Thursday.
“Despite the interdict and direct communication of the consequences of persisting with the strike, employees have not returned to work.
“As a result, dismissal procedures have been implemented against striking employees,” the company said.
“Despite adequate communication with employees and an agreement with the major unions, this strike action supports our view that there is significant collusion taking place throughout the industry that supports this illegal and dangerous activity.”
The company said that 71 illegal miners had surfaced from underground and had been arrested since the unprotected strike started, highlighting the extent of the problem.
Sibanye also said that it was concerned about the violent nature of the strike after 16 employees were assaulted on their way to work on Wednesday morning.
“Due to the intimidation and violence, we have increased security in the areas surrounding the mines and routes to the operations in order to ensure the safety of employees who wish to report for work,” Sibanye said.
South Africa is grappling with rising incidents of illegal mining. Last month 40 illegal miners were killed following a blast in Harmony’s decommissioned Eland Mine shaft in Welkom, Free State.
Meanwhile, the NUM said on Friday that it was disturbed and deeply saddened that 16 of its members were in a critical condition after the attack allegedly by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.
“The NUM is calling on the law enforcement agencies to investigate and arrest these heartless barbarians who assaulted and attacked our members,” the NUM said.
Sibanye said on Wednesday said it had received an affirmative rating from a credit ratings agency ahead of its bond issue, which would be used to fund its $2.2 billion takeover of US-based platinum and palladium miner, Stillwater Mining.
Sibanye rose 6.84 percent on the JSE and closed at R17.02 a share on Friday.