Mineworkers supporting their colleagues staging an underground sit-in at Lanxess mine in Rustenburg, North West. Picture: ANA

Rustenburg - Families of mineworkers staging a sit-in underground at Lanxess chrome mine operations in Rustenburg gathered at the mine on Friday, demanding to know the state of the undergroud strike.

"I come here hoping to get answers as to when will the miners underground come up but nothing. Management has not said anything to us to give us hope. It is sad for a parent to not know if their child is safe," said Leonard Pitso from Marikana near Rustenburg.

His son Mpho Pitso, 32, is among those underground at the mine, about 14km from Rustenburg. Mpho is on a learnership programme at the mine. 

About 280 members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) have staged a sit-in underground since Wednesday over an alleged sexual harassment matter which workers claimed management wanted to sweep under the rug.

A woman was allegedly sexually harassed in 2018 by a senior official, and no action was taken against the alleged perpetrator despite the woman reporting the incident.

Union members also wanted Numsa to be recognised and the mine to reinstate 50 workers dismissed for participating in a strike last year.

Protesting mineworkers have threatened that they will not come out until their demands are met.

Union member Boase Mere said he had been talking to strikers underground, and they were demanding proper treatment of all mineworkers.

"Proper investigations need to be done into the alleged sexual harassment matter for the dignity of all female miners," he said.

African News Agency (ANA)