A number of people who claimed to be workers of Gloria coal mine near Middelburg in Mpumalanga said on Friday they were struggling to make ends meet because they had not been paid their salaries for four months now.
Tumelo Pule, who said he was a truck driver for the Gloria coal mine, told the African News Agency (ANA) that he could no longer buy food for his family. He was among a group of about 20 men and women who got free meals and drinks on the premises of Gloria coal mine on Thursday. They said the meals were donated to them by an unnamed organisation.
“I cannot even get another job elsewhere while I’m still employed here,” said Pule.
“I come here every day with the hope of getting paid. My children are starving.”
Mbali Moloto, who also said she was a worker, said she had had a bad Christmas because she could not buy groceries for her family.
“I want my money because I worked for it,” she said.
Gloria coal mine, which is owned by the Gupta family, was placed under business rescue a year ago and its workers were put on special leave in December last year, said business rescue representative Mike Elliot.
Elliot confirmed on Friday that the workers have not been paid for four months because Gloria coal mine has no money. He said he was not aware that Gloria coal mine workers got food donations on the premises on Thursday.
“The business rescue team is working hard to sell the mine so that funds can be generated to pay the workers,” said Elliot.
Rescue workers retrieved the bodies of five people suspected to be copper cable thieves from the mine’s underground area this week, added Elliot.
“A sixth person was brought to the surface alive but later died at a hospital. And 22 other people are thought to be still trapped underground,” said Elliot.
Rescue operations have since been halted and would be resumed when it was safe to do so, added Elliot.
– African News Agency