Lanxess mine protest

Image: Ryanj93 – Wikimedia Commons

CCMA set to intervene in Lanxess mine protest after miners hospitalised

Following a request from Numsa, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has offered to mediate in the Lanxess mine protest.

Lanxess mine protest

Image: Ryanj93 – Wikimedia Commons

The CCMA has offered to mediate the dispute in the Lanxess mine protest after several of the protestors had to be taken to hospital.

Lanxess mine protest

The situation began over a week ago when around 200 members of the Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) went underground to protest the mistreatment of a female colleague.

Specifically, they were claiming that she had been sexually assaulted by a mine captain and that management of the mine had done nothing about it, even though it was reported back in August 2018.

“The victim reported the incident in August last year. She was so traumatised that she even went to a psychiatric hospital for a few months because of her experience. The alleged perpetrator has never been suspended, and no disciplinary action has been taken against him,” Numsa spokeswoman Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said at the time.

Poor conditions for protesters

The conditions for the protesters in the Lanxess mine protest were not great to begin with. They had limited food and water and were apparently sleeping on the concrete floor.

These problems, especially with food and water, have been exacerbated as the strike has gone on.

Numsa has even made accusations that the Lanxess mine management has blocked their attempts to take food and water to the protesters, as well as shutting off electricity to the underground mine in a bit to force them top side.

Switching the power off is a big deal if true because without power the miners would have no sanitary or air-filtering facilities.

The poor conditions have taken their toll as the protest has stretched on and has resulted in several of the protesters being taken to hospital.

Numsa calls for aid

With the situation steadily worsening in the Laxness mine protest, the finger-pointing has become more intense. Lanxess says the protesters needed hospital care because Numsa was only sharing food with their members, while the union claims Laxness has been blocking their food trucks altogether.

Numsa called for government intervention after 12 of the workers had been hospitalised.

This call has been answered by the mineral resources department, who revealed that the CCMA has made an offer to mediate the dispute in order to bring the matter to a peaceful conclusion.

“Anything that endangers the lives and health of mineworkers is unacceptable to the department. Our immediate focus and priority on this matter are to ensure that all employees come up from underground safely,” spokesperson for the CCMA Ayanda Shezi said in a statement.