Eight National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members will appear in court on Wednesday after they were arrested outside Optimum Coal Mine in Mpumalanga, where they were protesting and demanding their outstanding wages.
NUM Spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said the union was “deeply concerned.
Recounting the events that led to the arrests on Tuesday, NUM Highveld regional chairperson Nelson Ratshoshi said union members were “peacefully raising their frustration” about salaries and bonuses that have not been paid by the Optimum Coal Mine management.
“Optimum Coal Mine employees were supposed to be paid their bonuses last week, but they have not been paid,” said Ratshoshi, adding that the NUM members were arrested by police officers from Hendrina.
“The NUM strongly condemns the action and attitudes of the Hendrina police who had randomly fired rubber bullets and physically assaulted our members who were protesting peacefully outside Optimum Coal Mine in Mpumalanga yesterday afternoon.”
The NUM regional chairperson said union members will not be intimidated by the police.
“The NUM is extremely disappointed at the action of the Hendrina police. We call on the police to stop assaulting and shooting our members for protesting peacefully,” said Ratshoshi.
“Our members’ right to strike is enshrined in the constitution of South Africa. Their rights to strike cannot be taken away by anybody including the trigger-happy police and Optimum Coal Mine arrogant management.”