The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is extremely disappointed about the decision by Lily Mine to place the mine on a business rescue administration.
"We reject the management decision to put the mine on a business rescue administration. Why would the Department of Minera Resources (DMR) agree to this decision? This company is running away from its responsibility to rescue the lives of the black Africans who are still trapped underground. How can a company that is responsible for such a horrible tragedy be given a leeway to escape the responsibility," said Joseph Montisetse, NUM Deputy President.
"Is it because the trapped mine workers are black and that is why the company had stopped the rescue mission. It is very clear that mining companies do not care about the lives of black mine workers. We wonder if the company was going to behave the same if the trapped mine workers were white," Montisetse added.
The NUM is appealing to the highest office in the land, the office of the Presidency to intervene and stop this business rescue. We believe that the company must first take responsibility to rescue the trapped mine workers.
We also want to register our concern to the religious community about their silence in this matter. The religious community can help the families of the trapped mine workers by forcing this company to take responsibility to rescue the workers.
The NUM want to put its hope on the event of 5th of August 2010 that happened in Chile where 33 mine workers were trapped underground for 69 gruelling days. It was during the event that the government of Chile, the company, universities, unions, faith-based organisations and the people of Chile focused their attention in the business of rescuing the trapped mine workers. It is what we need at Lily Mine.
This effort led to the design of a rescue machine known as Phoenix 2 Capsule that was used to rescue those mine workers. Is the mining industry in South Africa have such rescue machines? If they do not, why not buy such machines? This is the story that inspires for the rescue plan at Lily Mine.
The NUM will fight tooth and nail to make sure that those trapped workers are rescued dead or alive so that their families can find closure.
For more information, Please contact:
Joseph Montisetsi: NUM Deputy President: 082 809 2391
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesman: 083 809 3257
The National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257