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Unpaid Optimum Mine workers can't cope with mounting bills

Former Optimum employee Sibusiso Skhosana says his financial wellbeing is now in the hands of his church and neighbours who witness his daily struggle.

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

JOHANNESBURG – Despite assurances by management that all workers at the Optimum Coal Mine have been paid, several employees have told Eyewitness News that this is definitely not the case.

Some workers at the mine near Hendrina in Mpumalanga say they are still unable to pay their bills.

Those who have worked for the company for over 10 years say despite the firm having been under financial strain before, they have never experienced this type of non-payment.

One of the former Optimum employee Sibusiso Skhosana says doctors told him to use a punching bag to work through his frustrations.

He says his financial wellbeing is now in the hands of his church and neighbours who witness his daily struggle.

“The only way I’m still here and surviving is through the church, my pastor is providing for me.”

Martin Lubisi, who is employed as a semi-skilled boiler maker, says he is worried about the future of his siblings and children who all depend on him.

He says he now faces eviction from the communal room he rents just outside the mine because of his failure to pay rent over the past 3 months.

Lubisi has called on the Minerals Resources Department to find a solution soon.

At the same time, Business Rescue practitioner Chris Monyela says the mine is in the process of obtaining finance to ensure an economically viable mine.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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