Former Koornfontein Coal Mine workers in Mpumalanga are blaming government and the mine’s business rescue practitioner for failing to finalise the section 11 sale of the mine to enable them to get their outstanding salaries and severance packages.
It’s over two years now since the mine shut down its operations. The former employees say the mine business rescue practitioner promised them that once the mine is sold, they will be paid.
Over 8 00 former Koornfotein mine employees are demanding what is due to them. The workers were retrenched in April 2019, after the mine failed to pay their salaries. The workers claim that the two months’ salary promised to them is yet to be paid into their account and they also want their six months salary and severance packages.
A 37-year-old mineworker Thandi Skosana, who is a mother of two says she was forced to move back home.
“This thing has affected me very badly. I had to sell my house and my car was repossessed and I have kids. They are in school. I can’t pay their school fees. They need lunch box. I can’t afford to buy food or buy anything.”
Koornfontein Mine stopped paying nearly 850 workers in October 2018. In December, the mine management requested the workers to take special leave. In April the mine management resolved to retrench all its workers.
One of the affected employee, Elias Mthimunye says this situation is frustrating.
“Since we stopped at the mine – I think it was in 2018 December – they gave us special leave. They told (us) that they were going to give two months’ salary for November and December … some of our colleagues (whom) we worked with have been passed away. I can say approximately thirty of them.”
The Mine Business Rescue has confirmed that the process of selling the mine has been concluded. They are now waiting for the regulator bodies to sign the approvals.
Business Rescue Practitioner, Louis Klopper says they are hoping that the deal will be approved in the next few weeks. He says the process has been delayed by court battles and regulatory bodies.
“All that we are waiting for is the regulator approvals; that is, amongst others, the so-called section 11 transfer of the mineral rights for the new mine to mine, the water licences, the transfer of the property.”
Koornfontein Mine is the second Gupta-owned mine to shutdown in Mpumalanga and it has since been sold to Black Royalist Minerals.