Mineworkers, who recently resurfaced from underground Gold One Mine in Springs, in Ekurhuleni, say they were ambushed into a sit-in.
Authorities have evacuated more than 500 workers from the facility following a three-day long sit-in by disgruntled AMCU-affiliated mineworkers, who are demanding that their union be legally recognised.
Ayanda Bambisa (27) is one of the miners who were trapped underground.
He says he had no idea that chaos would ensue when he arrived to work on Sunday.
The mineworker says he’d been caught off-guard by his colleagues, who were determined to see their demonstration through.
Following three days without food, Bambisa says he had to force his way out.
He’s denied reports by the leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) that those who kept them underground were heavily armed.
Bambisa told YNews he’s most excited to return to his children who, he says, kept him going through the ordeal.
The AMCU-affiliated employees are demanding that their union be recognised as the majority union at the gold mine.
Workers have called on the mining company to scrap its closed shop agreement with NUM.
They’ve accused the union, that’s aligned to the governing ANC, of failing to effectively represent employees and putting the interest of the employer above the workers’ needs.
The allegation is also at the centre of some workers’ dissatisfaction with the country’s biggest labour federation, Cosatu, of which NUM is an affiliate. Article by Naomi Kobbie
Standoff in pictures:
Written by: Lindiwe Mabena