Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Mine workers and community protest force Mines to talk

Kanana – Klerkdorp
16 June 2020
Mahadio Mohapi

My name is Mahadio Mohapi from Kanana Klerksdorp. Orkney mine workers losing and some lost their job and facing the hunger during this difficult times of the pandemic and the lockdown in our country. On 21st of March 2020 when the lockdown commenced, Orkney mine workers started losing their jobs while others have already lost theirs. A month after the lockdown started, workers were unable to get/receive their Unemployment Insurance Funds (UIF).

The workers suggested that they must go to mine’s office to ask about how the process of the UIF and how long it takes for one to receive their allowance. On the arrival they realized that the VMR company already on the process of retrenching the workers of shaft no10 and the company didn’t notify the workers that the company will be closed.. The company started chasing the workers who resides at their hostels and some of them are from neighbouring countries. They chase out the workers knowing very well that the boarders are closed because of lockdown. After some workers heard about the issue of retrenching and the company won’t be able to pay them their money for retrenchment and services.

Workers started mobilizing themselves and with the assistance from various (VMR) shafts workers to protest. Each and everyday workers gather on the shaft’s gate to demand what’s theirs. I spoke with the one of the mine workers who they told me that they are in a processes of combining themselves with the communities in order for their voices to be heard. After the mine heard that community and mine workers are combined they started shaking and called the urgent meeting with the union. So far we are waiting for the feedback from the workers and some workers they didn’t get their UIF since lockdown commence and that’s the burning issue.