Over 400 workers at the Gold One Mine’s operation in Springs, east of Johannesburg, have not yet returned to the surface.
Mine management says it will continue to provide food and water to the workers who have been underground since Thursday night.
The mine’s head of legal, Ziyaad Hassam says it’s both a hostage situation and a sit-in as some are acting in solidarity with the 50 workers that were retrenched for their involvement in a sit-in in October.
“Clearly there are a number of people who had planned to stage a sit-in. But there is a large number of people who are being kept underground against their will. That includes miners, middle managers and contractors.”
Over 400 miners remain underground at the Gold One Mine:
Meanwhile, Hassam says investigations are underway to determine the motive of the sit-in.
“Shortly after the commencement of the night shift, it became apparent that employees who were underground were not going to come out. There’s a small group of people in balaclavas. So, we don’t know their identity, but they are holding the rest of the employees against their will.”
“Some will be sitting in solidarity, but a large number, we are told, are being held against their will. At least 70 out of the 447 employees are middle management or contractors. They are certainly being held against their will. Two employees escaped in the early hours of this morning and they have confirmed that people are being held against their will,” adds Hassam.
Gold One Mine management gives an update on the underground sit-in: