Workers ‘left in difficult situation’ after Optimum mine fails to pay salaries

The firm says it has been transacting through the Indian-based Bank of Baroda, which is leaving South Africa.

FILE: Protesters at the Optimum coal mine entrance in Mpumalanga. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Many Optimum coal mine employees say they have been left in a difficult situation after the Gupta-owned mine failed to pay them.

The firm says it has been transacting through the Indian-based Bank of Baroda, which is leaving South Africa.

For the past two days, workers have been demonstrating outside the mine, demanding to be paid.

Car installments, groceries and home loans are some of the financial burdens that workers are faced with.

One worker says things are going to be difficult at least until she is paid.

“I’ve not paid my child’s monthly fees for creche and his transport.”

The National Union of Mineworkers chairperson, Goodwill Mthombeni, says the government should intervene urgently.

“The government needs to intervene as soon as possible because the workers are here today not because of their own making.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to attend to the crisis with the mine apparently placed under business rescue.