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Striking Sibanye-Stillwater miners at Union Buildings insist on meeting with Cyril Ramaphosa

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa addresses the striking Sibanye-Stillwater workers at the Union Buildings. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa addresses the striking Sibanye-Stillwater workers at the Union Buildings. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 25, 2022

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Pretoria - Striking Sibanye-Stillwater gold mine employees are determined to remain at the Union Buildings until President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses them on their deadlock with management.

The workers said they remained resolute in their decision to camp at the Union Buildings until the president has addressed them.

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Mandla Mgadi, a representative of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), said their national leadership and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) counterparts managed to meet the staff of the Presidency on Monday.

Mgadi said, however, there were no political leaders at the meeting and therefore no decision or resolution could be reached.

Sibanye-Stillwater workers camp at the Union Buildings demanding the intervention of President Cyril Ramaphosa in the wage dispute with the employer. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

He said the workers noticed that there was a delegation from Germany that arrived to meet the president and they were hopeful that Ramaphosa might be able to address workers afterwards.

Ramaphosa was hosting the head of government of the Federal Republic of Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was on an official visit to the country.

According to the Presidency, Scholz was visiting South Africa at the invitation of Ramaphosa due to the strategic nature of South Africa’s relationship with Germany.

“We know that the president is here and we hope that he will take the time to address us because workers are determined to stay here forever if needs be.

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“We know that Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe has the powers to revoke the mining licence awarded to the company, but there are also speculations that the company may consider approaching the courts to stop this bid.”

Sibanye-Stillwater workers camp at the Union Buildings demanding the intervention of President Cyril Ramaphosa in the wage dispute with the employer. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Mgadi said workers would be more than happy should the mineral resources minister revoke the mine’s licence, as he claimed workers had been unhappy with the management since 2013.

Workers are demanding a R1 000 increase for entry-level and semi-skilled workers, and for artisans, miners and officials to receive a 6 percent salary increase.

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Lucky Motlhakola, co-ordinator of Amcu, said the reason workers were determined to stay at the Union Buildings was because of the promise he made to them at the Workers’ Day rally in Rustenburg.

Motlhakola said despite Ramaphosa’s assurances to workers on May 1, it had been almost 24 days with no communication or indication from the Presidency of his efforts to honour his word.

“Workers are going to remain here considering the comments made by Sibanye that they have the funds to fight the strike for the next five years. This shows they have the money, they just don’t want to pay the workers.”

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He said while they welcomed the indication by the mineral resources minister of considering a different route to deal with the mine management’s brazen acts, workers were still looking to be addressed by the president first.

Pretoria News

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