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Sibanye-Stillwater mineworkers sleeping at Union Buildings want Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in wage strike

Scores of Sibanye-Stillwater mineworkers protest over wage negotiations at the Union Buildings. Picture: Goitsemang Tlhabye

Scores of Sibanye-Stillwater mineworkers protest over wage negotiations at the Union Buildings. Picture: Goitsemang Tlhabye

Published May 23, 2022

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Pretoria - Scores of Sibanye-Stillwater mineworkers under the banner of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have braced the freezing weather in Pretoria to urge President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in their four-month long wage strike.

Mineworkers from Sibanye-Stillwater, the world's primary producer of platinum, have been sleeping on the lawns of the Union Buildings in Pretoria since last week Thursday to demand intervention from the presidency on their protracted wage negotiations.

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Mandla Mokadi, a representative of NUM, said the workers, mainly miners, and artisans, had gathered at the Union Buildings as they were demanding a salary increase from the mine management

Mokadi said despite the workers demanding a reasonable 6% salary increase, as well as a R100 living out allowance, the employer, was only offering R800 for entry-level workers who were semi-skilled and only 5% for officials with a R50 allowance instead.

He said the workers rejected the employers' offer and have been on strike for 11 weeks since March 9, with no end in sight to the impasse between the unions and the mine management.

"The reason we decided to come here is because the president met with workers at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Workers Day and he promised the workers to engage with the mine's Chief Executive Officer."

Mokadi said following the meeting with Ramaphosa, the president allegedly instructed the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe to intervene as there were no meetings held since the strike began.

He alleged the only thing minister Mantashe was able to do was to facilitate a meeting between the trade unions and the mine management, however, he said that fell through as the company stood by its mandate and so too did the workers.

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As a result, of the continued impasse he said workers decided to come to the man who promised them a solution as the employer remained adamant that they can't give workers a decent increase whilst at the same time awarding the CEO millions.

"They are maximising profit by selling on the international markets yet they don't want to pay workers who toiled and sweated for that company daily."

"The CEO Neal Froneman can say he deserved every cent of the R300 million bonus he was given but the question remains who does not deserve anything? Who wasn't working?"

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