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Lily Mine Workers Were Not Paid During Gupta Protests

Featured image: www.newsghana.com.gh

by Zama Khumalo

Dear Editor,

I’m sure we all still remember the story of three mine-workers –
sister Pretty Nkambule and Yvonne Mnisi as well as brother Solomon
Nyendere – in Mpumalanga’s Barberton who disappeared underground when
the mine of their bosses collapsed and swallowed them.

Well, my favourite editor I still remember the story quite clearly
myself as the three workers are still not ‘rescued’ as per the pledge
of their bosses and are believed, my favourite editor, by the same
bosses to have died now. Well, my editor, except for the ones presumed
dead already, other workers belonging to this same mine, the Lily
Mine, the Vantage Goldfields, didn’t receive their pay as required by
law since the collapse February this year my favourite editor and as
I’m sitting here in my granny’s RDP house in Badplaas, just less than
60km to Lily’s mine, writing this letter to you it is still not clear
as to why whites chose to fail a simple test: rescue and pay workers.

It is believed therefore my favourite editor that since the collapse
in February, an episode which traumatised South Africa cruelly,
Vantage Goldfields bosses escaped my dearest editor to the nearest
safest place, the suburbs my dearest editor – leaving workers unpaod
till today, that is 5 months.

So this means between the time Jacob Zuma was disrupted in Parliament
during #Sona2016 by the DA and EFF about the Gupta and Nkandla to the
time the banks were intervening, taking the side of the moguls who own
them, against the family, workers in Lily Mine were in urgent need of
the voice that would see white mining moguls rescuing workers in a
hurry, paying reparations and being fined heavily for gambling with
workers’s safety.

My dearest editor, had Lily Mine been a Gupta mine, the family would
by now be facing very serious criminal charges in one of the high
courts in the country – because of the political pressure the
‘non-profiting’ NGOs, DA, EFF, Sunday Times and City Press would be
putting on government officials to capture or arrest the Guptas dead
or alive! In fact, a warrant of arrest would have been issued by the
Sunday Times and City Press (see Aurora case) – a program for the DA
and EFF to work on nationally.

“#GuptaPayLilyMineWorkers, PayLilyMineWorkersNow! GoToJail!” That
would have been the famous slogan in South Africa…

It is therefore believed my dearest editor that Vantage Goldfields
bosses were aware about cracks inside the undeground tunnels of their
mine and these cracks, my dearest editor, dating back to atleast the
early 1990s, were avoided by bosses for profits.

Then on 5 February was a Friday my dearest editor and the surface of
Lily Mine, the mine which has produced billions and billions of rands
in lawful gold theft for its owners, sank and swallowed workers – the
three workers were inside a container doing the dirty work of the
capitalist imperialists during operations. Then on Monday morning, the
8th of February I still remember my editor, Nico Cronje, a safety
officer of Vantage Goldfields in the area, decided not to come to work
but to commit suicide – they say he was too coward to face all sins
committed by his bosses, so what the safety officer did, “he got
dressed on Monday morning as if he was going to work, got into his car
and shot himself,” a source was quoted as saying in the media.

Workers are expected to be paid before the weekend if Vantage
Goldfields bosses keep their 5-months-long promise to workers but
according to various others, workers who work for Vantage Goldfileds
and who rent rooms around the Barberton area have now all been kicked
out of their accomodations by their land-lords due to unpaid rents and
other of their belongings like furniture have been ruined since then
and what followed was real poverty to workers and their dependents my
favourite editor.

“We are doing three more food-aid drops. We are also assessing the
situation and the families’ needs. We’re trying out if there are
babies who need medical care that their parents can’t afford,” the
Gift of the Givers’s Badr Kazi said.

It is thus said my editor that Michael McChesney, the CEO of the Mine,
takes home a salary of more than R100 000 a day yet he insists each of
the families of the three-trapped workers must get a R200 000 in
once-off compensation for losing their loved ones. The families
refused to accept this R200 000, demanding more, despite the fact that
all political parties in South Africa are not helping them as this
particular mine is not a Gupta-owned mine, but a white-owned.

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