JOHANNESBURG – Black Rock Mine on Wednesday said it was investigating an internal complaint of sexual harassment involving a manager and a female employee.
The investigation was initiated after the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) reported the matter to senior management last week. NUM said the alleged perpetrator should not continue to interact with other employees at the the Black Rock operation.
The Assmang manganese ore mine in Norther Cape is 50%-owned by billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Minerals (ARM).
Commenting on behalf of Assmang, ARM’s head of investor relations Jongisa Magagula said the incident was being thoroughly investigated.
“Yes the alleged sexual harassment incident was reported to management,” Magagula said.
“The incident is currently being thoroughly investigated according to the policies and procedures of the Black Rock Mine, which allow for the facts to be heard from all parties involved and allows for the appeal of any outcomes of such disciplinary processes by the parties involved.”
Magagula would not be drawn to comment on whether the accused manager had been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
“Black Rock Mine management takes any allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and is committed to ensuring that any such complaints are dealt with thoroughly, fairly and without any prejudice to either the accused or the complainant.”
On Monday, the NUM’s spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu accused Assmang’s management at Black Rock Mine of sweeping the incident under the carpet.
“What angers the union and its members at Black Rock, is the vile and disgusting treatment the employee received from the company, whose management is hell-bent on defending one of their own and thus violating several rights of the victim,” Mammburu said.
“This includes being subjected to an intrusive polygraph test, suspended and charged by the company for reporting the sexual harassment by the superior.”
Mammburu said the victim was suspended, while the alleged perpetrator remained at work.
“The NUM is seeking urgent legal counsel on this matter, as the union’s 1987 strike was not the triple victimisation of women in the workplace, especially in a so-called ‘Black Owned or Empowered Company’.
“Our first objective is to ensure all charges against our member are withdrawn; secondly, the alleged perpetrator is put on precautionary leave.”
Mammburu also said the union wanted the company to investigate the role played by the management in allegedly covering up the incident and victimising the complainant by subjecting her to a polygraph test and disciplinary process.