Johannesburg - More than 500 mineworkers were not allowed
into Harmony Gold's Kusasalethu hostels in Carletonville on Tuesday night, a
workers' representative said.
"They went out to buy food and when they came back they
found that security and police blocked the entrance," Paul Motaung said.
Security guards were only allowing people to go out of the
hostels and not letting them back in. He said police were called.
"More than five police vans are here, and when I spoke
to them they said they were here for backup."
Some of the workers went to a nearby village to borrow
blankets. Motaung said they wanted to camp outside the hostels to support their
colleagues who were inside, because they did not know what might happen to them
during the night.
Harmony spokesperson Henrika Basterfield said there should
be no one at the mine because it was closed.
"All I can say is the mine is closed. Only about a 100
people came to the mine two days ago. Transport was arranged for them to go
She said out of that 100 only seven produced their employee
numbers when asked to do so. They were given transport back home. The rest
refused to show their numbers and were not helped.
She further said workers were told on December 21 and 31
that the mine would be closed.
"Only that little group came after people were notified
about the closure."
On Monday, Harmony Gold Mining Company [JSE:HAR] said it
would keep its Kusasalethu mine closed while it considered whether to continue
operations there or begin retrenchments. It said it had started a process under
section 189 of the Labour Relations Act, which determines procedures to be
followed when retrenching workers.
"Management is of the view that the status quo
concerning production and labour strife will remain, as it has exhausted all
possible avenues to achieve normal production and cannot find a solution to the
current state of lawlessness prevailing," it said in a statement.
In December, more than 1 000 employees staged an underground
sit-in at the mine demanding that their fellow employees, who had been
suspended, be reinstated.