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NUM backs Mantashe to help end labour disputes at Gupta mines

Optimum Coal and Koornfontein mine failed to pay workers' salaries last week due to the Bank of Baroda's decision to pull out of the country.

FILE: Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says that it is confident that Gwede Mantashe's appointment as Mineral Resources Minister will help end the labour disputes at Gupta-owned mines.

Mantashe was appointed minister in Cyril Ramaphosa's Cabinet that was announced this week.

Optimum Coal and Koornfontein mine failed to pay workers' salaries last week due to the Bank of Baroda's decision to pull out of the country.

The bank was the only financial institution that kept Gupta-linked company accounts open when others decided to close them last year.

Operations at Koornfontein mine resumed on Thursday after over 600 permanent employees were paid. However, the Optimum Coal mine remains shut as miners wait to receive their pay.

NUM's Nelson Ratshoshi says that he's confident Mantashe will prioritise this matter.

"We are so confident as the man understands. He is a mineworker, he understands how the mines operate. What we are requesting that they do, is to get buyers to take this operation and give it to the right people who have the expertise to run the company."

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