The “slave” mineworkers at the black-owned Aurora company’s Grootvlei Gold Mine in Springs haven’t been paid in four months and are increasingly desperate – 548 families now are being fed daily by the trade union charity Helping Hand ; 25 families have lost their homes and are now living in squatter tent-towns; another 490 families are in heavy arrears in house-payments… their trade union Solidarity reports that some desperate miners even try to commit suicide: one father of two was recently stopped by a comrade from jumping into a mine-shaft…
In March, the Sowetan reported that gold-mine owners “AURORA Empowerment Systems had temporarily shut down its Grootvlei gold mine on the West Rand, “temporarily” laying off about 60 percent of the workforce after not paying their salaries for months and looting their pension-payments. The owners of Aurora Empowerment Suystems are President Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma and ex-president Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa Mandela.
A year earlier Khulubuse Zuma and Zondwa Mandela had also purchased Pamodzi Gold mine in Orkney for R215m with the help of a mystery-underwriting from a private equity fund in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The two men at that time had promised to retain all the jobs in the gold-mines which were under their control. Report
The electricity to the Grootvlei mine was cut off in March 2010 after Aurora failed to pay its Eskom bills. This in turn created a dangerous pollution hazard as the mines were unable to pump out the chemical slush operations and the stuff is now spilling over into the adjacent stream at a rate of 1million liters a day – rapidly polluting the Hartbeespoort dam: and the greater Limpopo river system, which are the only fresh-water drinking resources for many millions of people in four countries: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Botswana.
“1,440 mineworkers have not had wages for months… and then they get ‘temporarily laid-off’ after the company looted their pension-payments:
Cosatu trade union spokesmen told Sowetan being “appalled” that the mine had been shut down. A total of 1,440 workers had been “temporarily laid off after not being paid their wages for months.The firm has also made no payments to the mine’s security and insurance companies, and suppliers claim they are not being paid and are therefore not delivering equipment and supplies. Things came to a head when Eskom cut off power because they had not been paid, forcing mining to stop.” Cosatu said it supports the workers who have taken strike action in a bid to save their jobs. The federation was also “alarmed” at the allegation that thousands of workers’ pension contributions had been deducted from wages but not paid into the fund over for the past five months. The Mineworkers’ Pension Fund has also reported the firm to the Financial Services Board and the National Prosecuting Authority.
548 mineworkers’ families fed each day:
Solidarity trade union’s Helping Hand charity ‘s executive director Danie Langner reports July 6 2010 (left) - "You want to work, you have the skills, you have years of faithful job experience, but one day your employer simply decides there’s no money to pay your salary. The workers at the Aurora Empowerment Systems-owned goldmine at Grootvlei in Springs have not received any salaries for the past four months. Among the 548 miners’ families we have been feeding every day since April are twelve infants.
“Two miners tried to commit suicide out of desperation this month: one man was thwarted by a colleague from killing himself when he was just about to jump into a 30-metre-deep mineshaft. He is the father of two children. A total of 25 mineworkers have already lost their homes, 490 mineworkers are far in arrears with their house payments. Countless families have sold their cars just to keep a roof over their heads. Helping Hand charity of Solidarity trade union presently feeds and helps out 548 mineworkers and their families who work at the black-owned Aurora company’s Grootvlei mines. Aurora Empowerment Systems is headed by SA President Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma and former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa Mandela. Report:
“Food-parcels with a value of R265,000 were handed out over the past three months in Springs at ex-workers of Grootvlei mine. Since the mine-closure, these families have known nothing but worry and hunger. For this reason Helping Hand held a free fair for the families in Springs last Saturday, with artists such as Ray volunteering their time to entertain them. There was boerewors, pap, cool drinks and hamburgers and Cresta volunteers painted the children’s little faces, handed out surprise parcels and played football with the youngsters. It was a wonderful day to help them forget their worries for at least for the duration of that one Saturday. “ Helping Hand Fund