Saturday, September 25, 2010

Workers turn to looting to survive -- Aurora, South Africa

The situation at cash-strapped mining aspirant Aurora Empowerment's Grootvlei Mine on the East Rand is so desperate that workers are resorting to looting the operation's resources to make ends meet.

Criminal gangs are also cashing in on the mine's assets.

Copper pipes, electricity cables, aluminium and wires are being stolen. And at least five people have been killed in running battles with security guards over illegal mining activities.

Trade union Solidarity deputy secretary-general Gideon du Plessis said "these are the results of Aurora's failure to meet its obligations".

Farsy Namanyana, chairman of the National Union of Mineworkers' Grootvlei branch, denied that workers were involved in illegal mining activities and blamed it on crime syndicates from Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

"In fact, workers have resorted to vigilantism to protect the assets because they provide a legitimate source of income for them. Police are not doing anything about it."

Aurora, owned by former president Nelson Mandela's grandson Zondwa Mandela and current president Jacob Zuma's nephew Khulubuse Zuma, has made headlines for its non-payment of employees.

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