NUM members allegedly being ‘held hostage’ at Rustenburg mine

13th February 2020 By: Simone Liedtke - Writer

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Thursday voiced its concern that more than 100 of its members were allegedly “being held hostage” underground at the Lanxess chrome mine, in Rustenburg.

According to a statement issued by the NUM, this was as a result of members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) having gone on an unprotected strike during a mass meeting on Thursday morning.

The NUM’s offices at the operation were allegedly “taken over by force”, according to NUM branch chairperson at the Lanxess mine Unforget Dube.

According to the NUM, Lanxess management’s “inability” to control the situation has ensured that NUM members “are victimised with impunity daily”.

In an emailed response to Mining Weekly, Lanxess MD Ben Marais confirmed that, for safety reasons, the mine's management had decided to stop mining operations immediately and to clear the mine underground. Until further notice, no one will be allowed underground, he said.

The reason for the work stoppage has not yet been communicated to the mine management, Marais added, but noted that Lanxess has asked the workers to address possible demands through the Numsa leadership and discuss them with the mine management in the appropriate forums.

Mining Weekly did reach out to Numsa for comment, but at the time of publishing, had not received any feedback.