Pretoria - Gold Fields will no longer apply for an eviction order to legally remove the 5000 miners from its KDC West hostels, the company said on Monday.
“We are no longer applying for the eviction order,” spokesman Sven Lunsche said.
“We reached the agreement with (the National Union of Mineworkers) that the miners should disarm. That was the reason for the eviction and now that the majority have been disarmed we feel that it is fair enough to halt the legal process.”
However, he warned if they took up arms again the process would have to continue.
“But for now it is calm at the hostel.”
Workers at the West Rand mine have been on strike for 29 days and are demanding a monthly pay of R12,500 after deductions.
Last week, the miners gathered on a hill off mine property as the word spread that they might be evicted.
On Wednesday, miners thought they were being evicted after receiving a notice from management.
They thought the notice was an eviction order, but Lunsche said the application for an eviction order was yet to be processed by the High Court in Pretoria.
What the workers had received was a sheriff's notice requesting reasons why they should not be evicted.
Lunsche said then the mine wanted the miners living in hostels evicted because of safety concerns.
Hostels were becoming a “hot-bed of violence” where petrol bombs were being made and plans for illegal action were being drawn up.
However, some miners on the hill, who began streaming down towards the hostel after getting the notice, wanted to gather their belongings.
Security guards stationed at the entrance gates to the hostels were confiscating weapons and searching cars.
On Wednesday evening, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and NUM president Senzeni Zokwana addressed the miners on the hill.
They told the crowd all CEOs of gold-producing mines would meet the two unions the following day to discuss the need to reopen wage negotiations.
They also said after a meeting with Gold Fields' CEO Nick Holland earlier in the day that it was agreed the strikers should go back to the mine hostels under the condition they disarm.
Later on Wednesday night, NUM announced that wage negotiations in the gold and coal mining industries would reopen under an agreement reached in a meeting in Johannesburg between the Chamber of Mines, NUM, Solidarity, and UASA.
“The chamber agreed to negotiate... (an) increase for entry level workers, (and) adjustment or upgrading for operators, which includes rockdrill operators...,” NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement.
However, Lunsche said on Monday the company had not heard anything from the union.
“We are waiting for the NUM to present the framework agreement to workers at our mines to get them back to work.” - Sapa