workers at Pamodzi still unpaid

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

The no pay, no work situation at Pamodzi Gold's Free State operations enters its ninth day today.

The financially troubled junior miner has been defaulting on salary payments at different operations since the beginning of the year.

Since October last year there have been a number of industrial actions against the company and all of them were related to its finances.

Bongi Radebe, investor relations manager at Pamodzi Gold, confirmed that some workers and suppliers had not been paid.

"Yes, it's true and we are working around the clock to ensure that they are paid.

"We are not happy with a situation where people worked and are not paid," said Radebe.

She said the problem was as a result of a delayed R200million investment fund from Best Rock Investments.

"In light of this delay we are working on a bridging finance, which will help us with short term finance.

"As a way of ensuring that production is not lost at all operations, we paid the workers at East Rand operations in Johannesburg."

Radebe said the mining company's management had also not been paid. "We have a policy that management are last to be paid in these circumstances," she said.

Lesiba Seshoka, national spokesperson of the National Union of Mineworkers disputed the claim that management had also not been paid. "It's hard to believe this because we can't get proof. Workers are generally in debt on a monthly basis because of low wages. Now you can imagine what happens in a month where they are not paid, without prior arrangements," he said.

Thabo Gazi, chief inspector of mines at the Department of Minerals and Energy said: "If a mine is in a financial crisis it raises concerns of whether it can maintain infrastructure.

"Usually in such situations, mines prioritise good relations with suppliers to ensure that maintenance continues," said Gazi.

Professor Nicola Smit, of the labour law faculty at the University of Johannesburg said the situation at the mining company contravened the basic conditions of employment. "In terms of the law, the company would be expected to put the workers in a financial position they could have been in if the wages were paid on time".