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Strike shuts down Harmony's Kusasalethu gold mine

Nov 13 2017 15:19
Jan Cronje

Kusasalethu gold mine near Carletonville (Photo: Harmony Gold)

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Cape Town - Harmony Gold on Monday said it would approach the Labour Court to get an urgent interdict after a wildcat strike broke out at its Kusasalethu gold mine near Carletonville in Gauteng. 

Trade union the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), meanwhile, said that four of its members working at the mine had their houses and cars torched in acts of "intimidation”. 

NUM claimed these acts had been carried out by “alleged AMCU (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) thugs”. 

AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa did not immediately reply to calls and WhatsApps for comment. AMCU spokesperson Manzini Zungu said Fin24'S request had been forwarded to the union's head office for comment.

In a statement Harmony [JSE:HAR] said it was appealing to employees to return to work, and that it “condemn[s] any act of violence or intimidation".

"It is important that discipline at the mine be restored to ensure the sustainability of the mine,” said Harmony's CEO Peter Steenkamp in a statement. 

Strike action 

Harmony said that employees at the mine did not report to work on Sunday evening or Monday. The mine had earlier issued employees with an ultimatum to return to work after an illegal stay away that started on Friday. 

Harmony said this initial stay away was in response to the dismissal of the AMCU branch leadership at the mine. 

It said the leadership had been dismissed “following a number of reported incidents of illegal industrial action towards the beginning of calendar year 2017”.

NUM, meanwhile, said the torching of the cars and houses followed the dismissal of AMCU leaders on matters related to misconduct.  

"The AMCU members supporting their leadership went around on [Thursday] November 9  in the evening stopping workers from reporting for duty,” said Mbuyiseli Hibana, NUM’s Carletonville regional secretary. 

“This happened again in the morning of the [Friday] November 10. This led to our members losing their shifts due to intimidation by AMCU members, some of whom are on suspension due to ill discipline," Hibana said in a statement. 

“This intimidation against members of the NUM has been happening for some time now and our members have reached the stage where they cannot tolerate it anymore," Hibana added.

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