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NUM hopes for 'fruitful' outcome after meeting with Optimum

Striking employees at the Mpumalanga mine are angry and fear their lives will be badly affected after the company failed to pay their salaries.

Chief operating officer at the Optimum Mine receives a memorandum of demands from workers at the mine on 22 February 2018. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN

MIDDELBURG/JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is hoping for a fruitful outcome after its meeting on Friday morning with management at Gupta-owned Optimum coal mine.

Striking employees at the Mpumalanga mine are angry and fear their lives will be badly affected after the company failed to pay their salaries.

NUM’s Goodwill Mthombeni says they hope to ensure miners’ job security.

“It’s been my responsibility that we ensure the employees' job security and wellbeing is taken care of.”

The Bank of Baroda, which is the only one handling the Guptas’ finances in South Africa, announced its decision to exit from the country amid questions about its dealings with the controversial family.

The workers have gathered outside the mine, where they say they’ll intensify their demonstration.

Bills, debit orders and groceries are only some of the concerns expressed by workers.

They’re questioning how the mine expects them to get by without their salaries.

One worker says government should urgently intervene for the sake of the over 2,000 striking employees.
Workers are waiting for mine management to address them.

The Indian-based bank has made headlines for being the last financial institution to hold Gupta bank accounts.
The country’s main commercial banks have cut all ties with the Guptas, citing reputational risk.

However, former president Jacob Zuma and the Guptas have consistently denied any wrong-doing.

Last week the Hawks declared Ajay Gupta, one of the three Gupta brothers accused of corrupt links to Zuma, a “fugitive from justice”.

Gupta’s lawyer and the Hawks had an agreement that he would hand himself in, in relation to an ongoing investigation over the Estina Dairy Farm in Vrede, in the Free State.

The Gupta brother was due to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court and he failed to do so.
Meanwhile, his brother Atul is challenging a preservation order valued at R10 million.

WATCH: Workers demand clarity on Optimum Mine's future

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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