Sibanye Gold has made a financial offer to relocate and build temporary structures for 167 impoverished mineworkers it expelled eight years ago. The Star reports the company has for years been involved in a legal battle to get the miners evicted from a hostel near Rustenburg – which the company had been renting for about R100 000 a month since 2009. However, the occupiers refuse to leave, claiming the company still owes them pension funds since it fired them for taking part in an unprotected strike.

At the time they worked for Murray & Roberts Cementation, which was later sold to Aquarius Platinum. Sibanye Gold has since bought Aquarius. The employees, some of whom are foreigners, won the initial eviction case in 2009. However, an appeal by the company went in its favour and the court ordered the firm to find them alternative accommodation. Late last year, the company informed the miners to vacate the premises within 60 days, but this was also ignored.

Aquarius has now brought an application to the Randburg Land Claims Court to have the eviction enforced.

Mbuso Majozi, legal representative for Aquarius, said the company was willing to contribute R4 100 per worker for relocation to a township 40km away, near Magaliesburg. The miners’ Advocate Johan Botha said his clients would discuss the proposals and that some of them were willing to take between R25 000 and R35 000 compensation. Aquarius is expected to make a decision on an offer at the end of this month.

Full report in The Star (subscription needed)