Over 2000 workers at the gold-mining company Aurora Empowerment Systems are struggling to make ends meet after their employer "vanished" with their two months outstanding wages, the National Union of Mine Workers said on Tuesday.

"The workers who could not be with their families during the Easter weekend are now in dire straits as they have no food. The employer told them there was not enough money to pay them," said spokesman Leseba Seshoka.

He expressed disappointment at President Jacob Zuma's nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, who is Aurora's chairman and former President Nelson Mandela's grandson, Zondwa Mandela, who is the managing director.

"Those two guys are nowhere to be found...they just disappeared into thin air."

Last month, the workers downed tools at the Grootvlei operation in Springs to protest non-payment of wages and job loss threats.

Aurora was not making any profit, hence the consequence of shedding jobs.

Seshoka called for caring South Africans to help these "destitute workers", who did not even have enough money to go back home, with food and other donations.

"We have people who suffer from diabetes and others who have gone without food for days," he said. - Sapa