Sibanye starts dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Di­neo Faku

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.

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