COSATU Free State and NUM conclude talks with Jagersfontein Development Mine management

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the Free State facilitated a day-long programme to consolidate concerns and grievances from workers from all sectors and union affiliation in Jagersfontein. Workers relayed their gruesome experiences and the impact that resulted from the disastrous collapse of the slime dam wall and the sludge that caused extensive damage in the area. Drawing from these discussions, it was evident that workers needed effective and constructive intervention from the employer, the government and support from our structures.

As COSATU and the NUM, we reassured the workers of our commitment to engage with the employer on their behalf.  It was imperative to safeguard job security and guarantee payment of salaries despite the prevailing circumstances. It was based on that need from our members and workers in general, that we convened a meeting with Jagersfontein Development (JD) Mine management.

At the end of our talks with management, consensus was reached on the following, in principle:

  1. Payment of full salaries for the current and subsequent months has been guaranteed by the employer until the operations have fully resumed.
  2. A full occupational health and safety inspection should be conducted, to ensure safety of workers and the community prior to the commencement of the operations at the mine.
  3. There will be no retrenchments and the employer sees the operations at the mine continuing into the foreseeable future.
  4. Workers who have lost their personal belongings will qualify to be assisted through the program engaged by the mine to restore the lives of the community members who have been affected by the disaster.
  5. Mine Management will keep the community updated on the developments around the cleaning, rehabilitation restoration process.

We are aware of the engagements with the community on the challenges that arose from the disaster, and we respect such. We will also remain consistent in our mandate to give any required assistance to workers at their places of employment.  

We commend the mine for taking responsibility for this disaster and its commitment to play a noticeable role in rebuilding and restoring the town. Despite this crisis, the mine remains a major contributor to the economy of Jagersfontein.  When a just transition has been concluded, mining operations must resume to sustain economic activity. Management of the mine must prioritise health and safety. As COSATU, we will monitor that safety laws are adhered to throughout the process.

COSATU Free State sends condolences to families who lost their loved ones, and speedy recovery to all who sustained physical and emotional trauma.

The struggle continues!

Issued by COSATU Free State

Enquiries Provincial Secretary Monyatso oa Mahlatsi @ 051 447 5499 or 076 115 9923