Johannesburg - The fate of hostel-dwelling workers at Gold
Fields [JSE:GFI] hung in the balance on Wednesday pending a court decision on an
application to evict them.
The urgent application, filed in the Pretoria High Court on
Tuesday, sought to remove striking workers from their hostels at the KDC West
Mine in Carletonville, company spokesperson Sven Lunsche said.
He said the mine "believed it will take a few
days" for the court to deal with the application.
As the three-week strike by miners at both the KDC and
Beatrix mine continued, the company's management told workers living in hostels
to leave on Tuesday. They ignored the order.
Lunsche said about 5 000 of its 13 000 KDC workers lived in
"The hostels had become a hot-bed of violence and we
felt there was an immediate threat of danger to hostels and mine property. We
want to create a safety valve by evacuating the hostel," said Lunsche.
National Union of Mineworkers spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka
said on Wednesday Gold Fields was "totally out of order" in applying
for an eviction order.
"You can't fight fire with fire," he said, adding:
"Where must they go? In our view evictions can only exacerbate the
He said reports that the strikers were gathering on a hill,
as workers at Lonmin in Marikana, North West, had done, were correct.
"They are congregating on a hill because they have been
chased out of the hostel. Where must they meet?"
Also on Wednesday, eight striking miners from KDC West mine
were expected to appear in the Carletonville Magistrate's Court on charges of
public violence and intimidation.
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