The future of workers at Lily Mine looks bleak, with 900 of them still waiting to be paid their salaries for April.
The Vantage Goldfield mine, near Barberton in Mpumalanga, has been in financial crisis since a massive sinkhole swallowed a lamp room container with three workers still inside exactly three months ago.
Gold production at the mine ceased following the tragedy. The three workers, Yvonne Mnisi, Solomon Nyarenda and Pretty Nkambule, have not yet been found due to constant delays in the rescue operations.
Although the mine applied for business rescue last month, its appointed business rescue practitioner is still trying to secure funding to save the mine, Barberton Times reported.
“The mine management and the business rescue practitioner are doing all in their power to ensure this outcome. It is imperative that we start the new access to the mine as soon as possible to ensure the future sustainability of the mine and secure the jobs of its employees,” Vantage Goldfields operations manager Mike Begg said.
The workers were meant to be paid on April 25, however, following a meeting with management, they were told the date would be moved to Friday, 29 April.
However, workers were on Friday given R650 rand each in lieu of last month’s salaries “to get them through the weekend”, according to Begg, who added the mine hoped to secure funding by next week, according to a Mpumalanga News report.
The workers have since embarked on a peaceful protest outside the mine demanding to be paid their salaries as promised.
“We only depend on the income from the mine and have no other alternatives. What is R650 going to do for us?” a worker at the mine said, describing the amount as “disturbing”.
When approached by The Citizen, Vantage Goldfields spokesperson Coetzee Zietsman declined to comment.
“I have no mandate to speak on the situation at Lily Mine anymore,” he said.
Read More: Lily Mine workers facing retrenchment
– Caxton News Service