Gold One ‘kidnappers’ plead guilty, face the axe

Most of the employees who were involved in the hostage situation at the Gold One Modder East mine have pleaded guilty and are on the brink of dismissal, said the mine’s head of legal Ziyaad Hassam.

Speaking to Sunday World, Hassam said most of the cases have been finalised.

“There are a few still going on today (Thursday) and tomorrow, but we anticipate that all will be concluded by Monday.

“We will be in a position to provide further details regarding the outcome and sanctions of the hearings thereafter. Of the 60 cases involving the hostage situation, most have pleaded guilty and will be dismissed.

“I do not have a number yet [of employees who pleaded guilty], but will be in a position to comment once I receive the comprehensive report from the independent commissioners, hopefully on Monday.

“There are a large number of hearings to conduct and independent mediators adjudicating the process. The proceedings are both fair and speedy.”

Last month, 15 mineworkers held about 540 other miners hostage underground at the mine in Springs, east of Johannesburg. The miners were held against their will from the evening of October 22 until October 25 when they resurfaced.

Gold One said at the time miners belonging to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) were responsible for the hostage underground. However, Amcu dismissed the hostage allegations, saying the workers had decided to stage a sit-in.

Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili said there are no updates in the kidnapping case that police opened against the people behind the hostage situation.

Three weeks ago, Muridili said police were investigating a case of kidnapping. She said no arrests had been made.

Meanwhile, Hassam said the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) bears the responsibility of conducting the ballot to determine which union the employees want to join between NUM and Amcu. This follows the Labour Court judgment on November 17 that the ballot should be held within 15 business days.

“The ballot must take place on or before December 8. It is the responsibility of NUM to conduct the ballot, facilitated by the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration).


“We will meet with them [NUM] later this week to get an update on the plans in place for the ballot,” said Hassam.

However, NUM regional organiser Victor Ngwane said the organisation will appeal the judgment.

“We terminated our closed-shop agreement with the mine. We will not be doing any ballot. Since we have lodged an appeal, the court judgment is suspended and nothing is forcing us to do the ballot,” said Ngwane.

Ngwane said the union represented around 160 employees during the hearings.

“We believe we represented the workers very well. We will wait for the outcomes of the disciplinary hearings and determine our course of action afterwards,” he said.

Two weeks ago, NUM terminated its closed-shop agreement with Gold One mine.

“The termination will be effective from December 14. Currently, the agreement allows the NUM to be the only union representing Gold One workers.

Amcu general secretary Jeff Mphahlele said he was not aware that NUM is appealing the court judgment and will not be conducting the ballot.

“They [NUM] have not said anything to us. I am hearing it from you that they are appealing.

“We will wait for them to inform us that they are appealing, and we will see what options to explore,” said Mphahlele.

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