South Africa: Energy Minister Declares Hostage Situation At Gold One

Minister for Energy Gwede Mantashe has declared the sit-in at…

Minister for Energy Gwede Mantashe has declared the sit-in at Gold One Mine in Modder East, Springs, a hostage situation after some 500 workers are reportedly being held in a shaft underground.

More than 500 miners were held underground from 22 to 25 October as part of a strike — still ongoing — by mining union Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) to demand recognition. They were challenging the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)’s status as the only union recognised by the company. All the miners resurfaced when police threatened to use force to clear the mine.

The second sit-in underground has been in progress since Friday, when miners who were working night shift did not resurface, and demands were made for the mine to reverse its decision to dismiss over 72 miners.

The spokesperson of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Natie Shabangu, confirmed to Scrolla.Africa that Mantashe has declared a hostage situation.

This is after two miners who surfaced on Sunday were badly assaulted and confirmed that they were held against their will.

”The minister has called the police to intervene and engaged the three parties — the mine, AMCU and NUM — to find a lasting solution,” he said.

Over 200 striking miners have also been suspended for participating in what the mine labelled a ”hostage situation” during the first underground sit-in in October. Earlier this week, mine management confirmed that it was conducting disciplinary hearings for all the workers involved in the October hostage drama.

This means hundreds of jobs may be at risk.

Amcu representative at the mine, Sipho Nzuza, said he believes the miners still have enough food to last them another day underground, after allegations emerged that food supplies have run out.