The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strongly condemns a rape incident which took place at Thembelani mine in Rustenburg on Sunday. Thembelani Mine is an Anglo-American Platinum operation.
It is alleged that a woman was raped in a female change room at the mine. Apparently a suspect entered the change room holding a screwdriver, he forcefully ordered the woman to undress and threatened to kill her if she resists.
As the NUM, we want to ask Anglo-American Platinum why female change rooms are easily accessible to male counterparts? We are reliably informed that the suspect is not an employee of the company. We are asking Anglo Platinum again, how did the suspect get access to the mine premises. The NUM is extremely worried about safety measures at the mine.
We want to remind Anglo-American Platinum that we still haven't forgotten the brutal rape and murder of Binkie Mosiane in 2012 whose body was found lying in a pool of blood with a used condom next to her. The murder happened at Khomanani Mine in Rustenburg which is also an Anglo-American Platinum operation.
It is the NUM that took a decision to fight for women to work underground in the mines because the industry was untransformed and male-dominated.
The NUM is worried that not much has been done to change the culture of aggressive masculinity that characterises the mining sector as a whole, and mine shafts, in particular. Although women are now working underground in large numbers, nothing has been done to make mines safe in which women can work free from sexual harassment and violence.There is no doubt that sexual abuse and gender-based violence in mines is still pervasive.
It is very disappointing that women workers while being subjected to the evils of capitalism, face yet another challenge, that of being invaded, raped, sexually abused and killed by co-workers who are supposed to be their protectors and comrades in arms.
As the NUM, we abhor violence and call on the law enforcement agencies to act without fear or favour. It is regrettable that the escalating violence against women, in particular, seeks to reverse the gains the country made in relation to the employment of women in the mines.
The NUM objects to the intentions made by some to try and turn the mining industry into a “men only” enclave.
It is time that mining companies build momentum on women ‘s rights, peace and security at the workplace.
For more information, please contact:
Sydwell Dokolwana: NUM Rustenburg Regional Secretary:082 882 3329
: Acting NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257
7 Rissik Street.
Twitter: @Num Media