CCMA asked to intervene in bid to break deadlock at Lanxess mine

26 June 2019 - 16:23
By Yolisa Sobuwa
Close to 300  members of Numsa have been underground at the Lanxess chrome.
Image: LANXESS Close to 300 members of Numsa have been underground at the Lanxess chrome.

The mineral resources department has requested assistance from the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in an attempt to resolve a  sit-in by about 300 Lanxess chrome miners.

The miners decided to camp underground in protest of an alleged sex-for-jobs scandal. Ayanda Shezi, the spokesperson for the department, said CCMA commissioners have made an offer to mediate. 

“Amongst the interventions the department convened the CEO, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) to resolve the impasse," Shezi said.

"Anything that endangers the lives and health of mine workers is unacceptable to the department. Our immediate focus and priority on this matter is to ensure that all employees come up from underground safely.”

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Numsa national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said the union wanted the dispute resolved with speed because the longer the workers remain underground the more dangerous it becomes for them.

“We do not want this situation to end in bloodshed,” Hlubi-Majola said.

Bheki Buthelezi, another leader of Numsa, said the management had agreed for food to be delivered to the striking workers. 

"Today only two people were sent to hospital but they have since been discharged," Buthelezi said, adding that they will continue camping outside the mine with the hope that management will respond positively to their grievances.