Aurora: screw the workers
Aurora boss Zuma has to decide which of his 19 cars he'll drive today, while workers beg for foodOct 17, 2010 10:38 PM | By JUDY LELLIOTT
Desperate workers at Aurora's Grootvlei gold mine are furious that their boss, Khulubuse Zuma, has been enjoying his fleet of multi-million-rand cars while they have not been paid for eight months.
Its not right . they have no decency . it's shameful
The Times visited the mine in Springs, east of Johannesburg, yesterday and showed the miners a picture of Zuma, nephew of President Jacob Zuma, driving a new R2.5-million Mercedes-Benz SLS63 AMG Gullwing, on his arrival at the wedding of national police chief Bheki Cele last month.
The picture and details of Zuma's fleet of cars were published yesterday in the Sunday Times.
The miners' wives have left them and their children have been forced to drop out of school because their parents cannot pay the fees.
Khulubuse Zuma and Zondwa Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, own Aurora Empowerment Systems, which took over the liquidated mine last year from Pamodzi Gold.
The miners last received their R1600-a-month wages at the end of February and say they have been abandoned by the mine's high-flying owners.
Simon Khanjane, a worker who lives at the mine hostel, said it was "shameful" that the workers have to endure squalor and hunger while Zuma drives around in one his 19 cars, including a R935000 Range Rover Sport.
Zuma also owns two BMW 750is, each worth about R1.1-million, and has been seen driving a Bentley and a Rolls-Royce.
"It's not right . they have no decency . it's shameful," he said of Zuma's arrival at Cele's wedding in the gull-winged supercar.
It is not known if Zuma owns the red Mercedes in which he arrived at the Cele wedding.
Khanjane has two children, aged 15 and 10, who have had to drop out of school in Lesotho because he could not pay the fees. His wife is unemployed.
His colleague, Sehohalo Mafalosa, is a widower who says he cannot afford to go home to Lesotho and has no idea how his two children, aged 17 and 13, are surviving.
"Everything I earned I used to send to them. I used to have a minder who looked after them. Now I can't pay the minder.
"I don't have anything to eat. I can't give my children anything to eat. I go out and beg for piece jobs to see if I can watch cars but there is nothing," he said, lying in a dimly-lit room he shares with 16 other men.
The hostels in which the mineworkers live have a sporadic electricity supply and no water.
Workers walk 2km to the nearest tap to collect water in drums so they can wash and drink. Many cook their food, donated by nearby businesses, on open fires on their doorsteps.
Another miner, Tala Sehlabo, said: "We have children. We have wives who are divorcing us because we have no money. Our passports are expired and we have no money to renew them so we can go home."
The mine kitchen has been stripped bare. Electricity cables litter the floor and menus pasted on the wall remind the miners of better times.
A dusty poster setting out the terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act hangs lopsided on a wall.
"Zuma and Mandela just closed and left us," said Sehlabo.