The NUM union is angry that some mines will operate during the 21-day lockdown. Meanwhile, some mining companies are paying basic salaries during this period and others are not. Flashpoints for conflict between capital and labour are emerging, as are tensions between the ANC-led government and its political base. And Saftu is also seeing red.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has come out swinging.
In a strongly-worded statement on Tuesday, 31 March, the union reiterated what it told Business Maverick late last week, quoting its president Joseph Montisetse as saying:
"It is worrying and disturbing that these companies are still operating on reduced staff. It shows that these companies don't care about the lives of their employees. They care about profits. Profits cannot outweigh the lives of mineworkers. The decision to continue operating is barbaric, reckless, inhuman and irresponsible."
"We want to know as the NUM who gave these mining companies the right to operate during the 21 days of lockdown. It is clear that someone has given these companies the regulatory green light to operate during the lockdown," Montisetse added. NUM's rank and file is no doubt understandably concerned about the virus.
In response, the Department of Mineral...