Retrenched AngloGold miner battles to repay labour broker

25Jan 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Retrenched AngloGold miner battles to repay labour broker

A 34-year-old miner facing retrenchment at AngloGold’s Carletonville gold mine is still paying off the bribe which secured his job two months ago.

He claims he had to borrow cash from a money lender to pay a labour broker R3 000 to get his job at the mine in November, GroundUp reports. The miner, identified only as Manuele from Mozambique, asked not to be named.

Earlier this month, AngloGold Ashanti announced plans to retrench about 850 employees. It said they would receive financial packages.

The Carletonville gold mine, 78km from Johannesburg, mostly employs people from the nearby Khutsong township, where Manuele lives with his wife and their two young children. Manuele, who sweeps under conveyer belts which shuffle crushed ore, says he feels duped.

“I paid R3 000 to a labour contractor to get this job. I’m in line to be dismissed and I don’t know how I will repay the money lenders,” he says. He has until 1 February to repay the money.

With a salary of R6 100 a month, Manuele is considering joining the illegal miners in Carletonville to make ends meet. The area is a hotspot for undocumented immigrants, mostly from Zimbabwe and Mozambique, who do illegal mining.

National Union of Mineworkers spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu says the miners were issued retrenchment notices on Wednesday. The union intends taking the matter to Labour Court. They want to meet mine management to discuss their grievances.

AngloGold cited the declining state of the mines and concerns for the safety of its workers as reasons for the new wave of retrenchments. Mammburu says the retrenchments will have dire consequences for the workers and their families.

“One mineworker supports up to eight dependents. The impact of poverty and hunger will hit all of these dependents when the small [retrenchment] packages dry up.

“We don’t want to see workers lose their jobs. If mines are no longer lucrative, why dismiss bottom-level workers and leave highly paid executives in cushy positions?”

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