Members of local and national media became highly irritable late this afternoon at the Sibanye Gold’s Beatrix mine in Welkom after they had to wait for over two hours for Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane to address them.
Zwane was expected to meet with NUM and AMCU representatives as well as the management of Sibanye Gold on the matter of the 955 workers that were rescued from the mine this morning after being trapped underground since Wednesday due to a power outage.
Instead of Zwane AMCU’s union representative, Koos Sello, addressed union members who were also waiting at the mine, saying that the union leader Joseph Mathunjwa is still in talks with Zwane.
“I came here to tell you that the meeting between Mathunjwa, Zwane, the mine’s management and other stakeholders may still take a while because they only just began deliberating. Mathunjwa will be making pleas on your behalf with regards to this thing that has happened here and how to make sure it never happens again,” Sello said.
He also said that the workers have the option to either go home and find out about the matter on Monday, when they return to work, or to wait for Mathunjwa to conclude his meeting.
The workers told Sello that they were willing to wait for Mathunjwa no matter how long it took.
Meanwhile, one worker revealed that the mine management has communicated with all workers and informed them to only return to work on Monday as they will be given a few days off following the traumatic incident.
It remains to be seen whether Zwane will address the media and provide answers on why there wasn’t an alternative power source when the power outage occurred on Wednesday, why workers were only provided with food, water and medical supplies on Friday after midnight and also what action the Department of Mineral Resources intends to take on the matter.