A Travesty and a Fairy Tale in One

January 20, 2010

And so the wheel eventually turns, or perhaps I should say; “As the stomach turns”

 It feels like yesterday when NUM members took hostages at the Two Rivers Mine in an attempt to reinforce their noble attempts at transforming the mining industry. The action by NUM at the time was not surprising, after all, one could say they invented and perfected the art of underground hostage taking. As a matter of fact, I am surprised that they, like the taxi drivers in the case of taxi routes, do not claim intellectual property rights.

Be it as it may, a rival union, on the self same Two Rivers Mine, has now had the audacity to infringe on the irrevocable and sole right – bestowed on NUM by the leaders they proudly spawned, Mantashe and Mothlanthe – to take hostages on mines.

To make matters worse and more insulting, the hostages taken are NUM members, more likely than not, the same people responsible for the previous hostage drama at Two Rivers. No wonder then the exasperation of NUM officials condemning this travesty of justice.

I could not help thinking about an hostage taking event not so long ago which has subsequently become the stuff legends are made off. The legend goes;

The Emperor and the Miners

Once upon a time at a Platinum Mine – in the far west of a country, well known for its dancing emperor and Clown Prince, the ruler saving money by multitasking the prince to fulfil the role of court jester and stand-up comedian – the workers, having been told, by the emperor that they were special and feeling they were entitled to all the riches of the platinum mine, an idea mooted by the Clown Prince, decided to cease work until their wages were higher than in any other place in the world.

The workers, quite rightly, believed they were solely responsible for bringing the ruler to power and anyway, he did promise them wealth and comfort beyond their wildest dreams should they carry him to power. The workers fought hard and dirty and got the emperor to power and this was payback time.

Much to the shock and surprise of the workers, now refusing to work in support of their demand for their promised rewards, the evil Mine Boss dismissed them, banished them from the mine banishing them to a life of hardship, a life without DSTV and washing machines. The Evil One brought in other workers; workers who promptly and without hesitation took over the meaningless jobs with great proficiency. Imagine the confusion, humiliation and surprise of the Banished, having been chased away like worthless dogs, witnessing the cockroaches that have been begging for jobs day-in and day-out at the mine gates, taking the jobs that rightly belonged to them, the members of the guild of miners, who swept the Emperor to power.

They were understandably upset and appealed to their guild and the Clown Prince and the Emperor to assist them with reinstatement but to no avail, because friends of the Emperor were also friends of the Evil One. When they saw there was no deliverance from the fate delivered upon them, they slinked back to their houses. There they lay about, drank beer frolicked with their wives, when mentioned wives returned from the fields, where they were trying to eke out a living.  However during lonely moments they, the Banished got together and counted there remaining and fast dwindling cash resources with great concern.

And so it came to pass. Whilst they were sitting around drinking beer and bemoaning their financial woes, having realised the money promised by the Emperor for the unemployed was barely enough to buy food, a scary short little man of demonic appearance arrived, as if out of nowhere, in their midst. This little man of much power declared himself to them as the Tokoloshe – master of malevolence

The Tokoloshe, having listened to doleful lamentations, presented them with a plan so evil, it almost froze the blood in the veins of the bravest warriors amongst them, one of them, Funa Pumile, so-called because of his urge to rest often, afterwards swore the HIV viruses in his body instantly died. The Tokoloshe as is his want, did not only give them a plan, his servant, dressed in a splendid blue uniform, not dissimilar to that worn by the Emperors Police, gave them short sticks that fired very small arrows at great force and velocity. One of the banished workers fired a test arrow at the wall of his hut to find his recently born baby as dead as a dodo. Strong muti indeed.

The Tokoloshe also had his personal witchdoctor at hand and he promptly supplied the banished workers with a potion, made from wondrous herbs blended with body parts of the now dead baby using a machine – borrowed from a workers kitchen, they haven’t reached the pawning phase of hardship yet – blessed by Russel Hobbs himself, to give them immense strength and make them impervious to the weapons of their enemies.

After drinking their potion, mixed with copious amounts of alcohol, and smoking lots of magical herbs the banished and rejected workers proceeded to the mine with sticks, dancing and singing, jubilant in the knowledge that they will regain their positions, and more. After all, did the Clown Prince not ask for the seizure of mines by the people? Did the emperor’s councillor on gold, gems and fabulous mineral wealth, not threaten the evil mine owners to fit-in-or-fuck-off? They marched with the knowledge that, as in the past, their ruler expects them to act strongly and take, with necessary force and commensurate trashing, what is rightfully theirs.

Soon after they arrived at the mine, whilst they were singing and dancing, summoning the great spirit of the Machine Gun and focussing their minds, now slightly befuddled by a haze of intoxicating herbs, a few rotund policemen, not dissimilar in appearance to Mr. Plod, good friend of Noddy, arrived and prevented them from approaching the Evil One where he was sitting in his sumptuous office sipping coffee and counting his fortune.

Having recognised friends and allies amongst the police and not wanting to hurt friends, they used tactics taught by the Tokoloshe and some of the Emperor’s advisers many years ago and staged a fake retreat. The police, not seeing any killing opportunities, promptly withdrew, signalling the opportunity for the banished workers to attack and breach the defences.  

And children, that is what they did.

They broke through the barriers of steel and concrete and proceeded underground. There they secured an area and promptly proceeded to, using the skills passed on by guild leaders and Emperor’s advisors, construct pipe bombs using pipes and explosives liberated underground. They secured a comfortable area, not to cold and not to warm, a suitable sleeping place, for those that do not have watch or bomb making duty, where they could dig in so to speak.

Once they secured their control centre they did what they do best underground; they promptly went to sleep, all of them except one, a man by the name of Katalile Minadagiwa, who, due to his inability to participate in logical debate and being a fan of the Clown Prince, having studied every speech ever made by the crown prince, was chosen to negotiate with the Evil Owner.

In the meantime, the police were called back and arrived with the police’s newly trained special forces, flown in by special jet, in tow. Whilst the suitably obese police commissioner shouted instructions, Katalile spoke to The Evil One on the telephone, demanding the presence of the ruler, the Clown Prince or the big cheese of the guild. 

Whilst this hullabaloo was carrying on the task force proceeded underground armed with rifles, grenades flame throwers and all manners of violence perpetrating equipment, to back up their newly acquired licences to kill, proudly displayed on cards contained in a little pouches hanging around there necks. Positively professional, reminding somewhat of the ID tags of conference-delegates, all very smart.

Yes children; they were ready and well prepared to marinate, tenderise and roast their adversaries. The scene was set for an epic battle. A fight to death – a battle for the hart and soul of the economy.

The first bomb was set off by the rebel miners, a policeman was pole axed by shrapnel from the pipe bomb and all hell broke loose. After the lapse of a suitably long period of time to justify the description of ‘epic battle’, surpassing in length and intensity of the well publicised turf wars of the Zama-zamas having produced a sufficient number of wounded on both sides, the begrudged miners were subdued and hauled away to be drawn and quartered by the Emperor’s men, at the behest of the Evil One, who, it was learned, made a sizeable contribution to the “Welfare of the Emperor” fund.

The mine owner subsequently liberated his money and moved it to a far of land with an honest Emperor and peaceful hard working people. There he started a new mine and became immensely rich.

The Clown Prince became bloated and fat, and his head – like a black hole, dark, empty and dense – imploded and he became rather pleasant blabbering incoherently day in and day out in the process, driving the Emperor insane, prompting him to embark on a crusade against fair-weather friends.

The mines in the once great land quietly died and the workers returned to the land where they tried to eke out a living and eventually succumbed to famine and pestilence.

Ed. What a load of non-sense. You certainly have a wild imagination

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The Emperor and the Miners

November 21, 2009

Once upon a time at a Platinum Mine – in the far west of a country, well known for its dancing emperor and Clown Prince, the ruler saving money by multitasking the prince to fulfil the role of court jester and stand-up comedian – the workers, having been told, by the emperor that they were special and feeling they were entitled to all the riches of the platinum mine, an idea mooted by the Clown Prince, decided to cease work until their wages were higher than in any other place in the world.

The workers, quite rightly, believed they were solely responsible for bringing the ruler to power and anyway, he did promise them wealth and comfort beyond their wildest dreams should they carry him to power. The workers fought hard and dirty and got the emperor to power and this was payback time.

Much to the shock and surprise of the workers, now refusing to work in support of their demand for their promised rewards, the evil Mine Boss dismissed them, banished them from the mine asigning them to a life of hardship, a life without DSTV and washing machines. The Evil One brought in other workers; workers who promptly and without hesitation took over the meaningless jobs with great proficiency. Imagine the confusion, humiliation and surprise of the Banished, having been chased away like worthless dogs, witnessing the cockroaches that have been begging for jobs day-in and day-out at the mine gates, taking the jobs that rightly belonged to them, the members of the guild of miners, who swept the Emperor to power.

They were understandably upset and appealed to their guild and the Clown Prince and the Emperor to assist them with reinstatement but to no avail, because friends of the Emperor were also friends of the Evil One. When they saw there was no deliverance from the fate delivered upon them, they slinked back to their houses. There they lay about, drank beer frolicked with their wives, when mentioned wives returned from the fields, where they were trying to eke out a living.  However during lonely moments they, the Banished got together and counted there remaining and fast dwindling cash resources with great concern.

And so it came to pass. Whilst they were sitting around drinking beer and bemoaning their financial woes, having realised the money promised by the Emperor for the unemployed was barely enough to buy food, a scary short little man of demonic appearance arrived, as if out of nowhere, in their midst. This little man of much power declared himself to them as the Tokoloshe – master of malevolence

The Tokoloshe, having listened to doleful lamentations, presented them with a plan so evil, it almost froze the blood in the veins of the bravest warriors amongst them, one of them, Funa Pumile, so-called because of his urge to rest often, afterwards swore the HIV viruses in his body instantly died. The Tokoloshe as is his want, did not only give them a plan, his servant, dressed in a splendid blue uniform, not dissimilar to that worn by the Emperors Police, gave them short sticks that fired very small arrows at great force and velocity. One of the banished workers fired a test arrow at the wall of his hut to find his recently born baby as dead as a dodo. Strong muti indeed.

The Tokoloshe also had his personal witchdoctor at hand and he promptly supplied the banished workers with a potion, made from wondrous herbs blended with body parts of the now dead baby using a machine – borrowed from a workers kitchen, they haven’t reached the pawning phase of hardship yet – blessed by Russel Hobbs himself, to give them immense strength and make them impervious to the weapons of their enemies.

After drinking their potion, mixed with copious amounts of alcohol, and smoking lots of magical herbs the banished and rejected workers proceeded to the mine with sticks, dancing and singing, jubilant in the knowledge that they will regain their positions, and more. After all, did the Clown Prince not ask for the seizure of mines by the people? Did the emperor’s councillor on gold, gems and fabulous mineral wealth, not threaten the evil mine owners to fit-in-or-fuck-off? They marched with the knowledge that, as in the past, their ruler expects them to act strongly and take, with necessary force and commensurate trashing, what is rightfully theirs.

Soon after they arrived at the mine, whilst they were singing and dancing, summoning the great spirit of the Machine Gun and focussing their minds, now slightly befuddled by a haze of intoxicating herbs, a few rotund policemen, not dissimilar in appearance to Mr. Plod, good friend of Noddy, arrived and prevented them from approaching the Evil One where he was sitting in his sumptuous office sipping coffee and counting his fortune.

Having recognised friends and allies amongst the police and not wanting to hurt friends, they used tactics taught by the Tokoloshe and some of the Emperor’s advisers many years ago and staged a fake retreat. The police, not seeing any killing opportunities, promptly withdrew, signalling the opportunity for the banished workers to attack and breach the defences.  

And children, that is what they did.

They broke through the barriers of steel and concrete and proceeded underground. There they secured an area and promptly proceeded to, using the skills passed on by guild leaders and Emperor’s advisors, construct pipe bombs using pipes and explosives liberated underground. They secured a comfortable area, not to cold and not to warm, a suitable sleeping place, for those that do not have watch or bomb making duty, where they could dig in so to speak.

Once they secured their control centre they did what they do best underground; they promptly went to sleep, all of them except one, a man by the name of Katalile Minadagiwa, who, due to his inability to participate in logical debate and being a fan of the Clown Prince, having studied every speech ever made by the crown prince, was chosen to negotiate with the Evil Owner.

In the meantime, the police were called back and arrived with the police’s newly trained special forces, flown in by special jet, in tow. Whilst the suitably obese police commissioner shouted instructions, Katalile spoke to The Evil One on the telephone, demanding the presence of the ruler, the Clown Prince or the big cheese of the guild. 

Whilst this hullabaloo was carrying on the task force proceeded underground armed with rifles, grenades flame throwers and all manners of violence perpetrating equipment, to back up their newly acquired licences to kill, proudly displayed on cards contained in a little pouches hanging around there necks. Positively professional, reminding somewhat of the ID tags of conference-delegates, all very smart.

Yes children; they were ready and well prepared to marinate, tenderise and roast their adversaries. The scene was set for an epic battle. A fight to death – a battle for the hart and soul of the economy.

The first bomb was set off by the rebel miners, a policeman was pole axed by shrapnel from the pipe bomb and all hell broke loose. After the lapse of a suitably long period of time to justify the description of ‘epic battle’, surpassing in length and intensity of the well publicised turf wars of the Zama-zamas having produced a sufficient number of wounded on both sides, the begrudged miners were subdued and hauled away to be drawn and quartered by the Emperor’s men, at the behest of the Evil One, who, it was learned, made a sizeable contribution to the “Welfare of the Emperor” fund.

The mine owner subsequently liberated his money and moved it to a far of land with an honest Emperor and peaceful hard working people. There he started a new mine and became immensely rich.

The Clown Prince became bloated and fat, and his head – like a black hole, dark, empty and dense – imploded and he became rather pleasant blabbering incoherently day in and day out in the process, driving the Emperor insane, prompting him to embark on a crusade against fair-weather friends.

The mines in the once great land quietly died and the workers returned to the land where they tried to eke out a living and eventually succumbed to famine and pestilence.

Ed. What a load of non-sense. You certainly have a wild imagination


Marijuana Mine for South Africa

November 13, 2009

With mining production continuing to decline, it is very inspiring to see their is hope for the industry.  

I was privy to some correspondence mooting a new project that can save out mines. The following letter sets out a very feasible plan in my opinion. Thank heavens for entrepreneurs.

Brent Zetti,

Chief Executive Officer

Prairie Plant Systems Inc.
#1 Plant Technology Road
Box 19A – RR#5
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 3J8

Dear Sir

Marijuana Mining Facility 

The only connection between mining and the smoking of marijuana in South Africa, is the smoking of pot by mineworkers. Where they will insist they smoke it for cultural and traditional reasons, union leaders, expediently so, insist they smoke it to numb their senses, enabling them to face the hazardous conditions in which they are required work whilst relieving the monotony of their meaningless jobs.

The article about the threat to your operations touched me for a number of reasons, guilt being one of them. South Africans, especially those of lighter hue, you must understand, are very susceptible to guilt trips. Because of this, I could not help getting involved in a program to salvage job opportunities in a contracting mineral resource industry. 

My program is aimed at creating opportunities for retrenched and unemployed miners, robbed of opportunities by treacherous capitalists disinvesting because of prohibitive legislation and greedy and confused unions. The result; mining is driven back to, traditionally expensive countries, like Canada, a shift causing the dilemma you find yourself in. As I understand it, you are forced to close down your operations because mineral production is encroaching on your operations. 

I believe it will be possible and very lucrative to move your marijuana mining from Canada to South Africa. This may pose some challenges, but as we know, every threat brings opportunity. The biggest challenge will be safety, a big issue in South African mines. It seems that for some obscure reason, deaths in mines are, unlike murder and road deaths at the hands of taxi drivers, totally taboo. 

The safety risk to marijuana miners in South Africa however, pales in insignificance to the immense risk faced by an Inuit, trudging across the icy tundra, mile after mile, with heavy sacks of pot strapped to his back, only to die in his desperate attempt to get his valuable cargo to the nearest ice road. Mining dagga will also be safer than harvesting the it from plantations in the remote valleys of KZN, where the harvesters have to dodge police gun-ships, fitted with Browning machine guns and flame throwers and police on horse back carrying licenses to kill issued by The President in person. 

This is where I see the opportunity. By turning huge worked out areas into marijuana producing operations we can keep mineral production areas more sustainable. Providing free “medicinal” dope to the workers, we can break the power of the unions thus restoring profitability. 

Mine managers, realising the positive and strong effect dagga had on workers have been lobbying for ages to get the use of pot legalised, not only because of its performance enhancing properties but also its mind-expanding qualities. It is amazing how clever an uneducated person becomes after a single zol, no wonder it is often referred to as the “Tree-of-wisdom”. 

An added advantage is the calming effect it has on users. You can only imagine how easy mining will be if miners were walking around underground wearing “peace signs”, Rasta hairdos and ill-fitting hard hats, instead of calling for death and destruction of racist and murdering mine bosses. Sorry I’m digressing. 

With the attitude of our new Minister of Mines, keen to promote the nationalisation ideas of our designated future president, who coincidentally, started his campaign for mine nationalisation at about the same time as your woes were reported, we will have to move fast. I honestly believe the young man, from appearance and the things he say, is obviously a serious participant in the pleasures afforded by the magical herb. I say this with conviction, his behaviour, to my expert eye, seems to indicate a state of almost constant intoxication. 

Given the situation I outlined, I am certain you agree, we cannot allow a quality resource such as yours to be destroyed by ruthless miners in Canada who will always put profit ahead of pleasure and wellness, nor can we allow a bunch of pothead Marxists to control the world’s Marijuana supply. I can only imagine the consternation of pot smokers, recreational or otherwise, the world over at the news of the imminent closure of your Marijuana mine and the threat of their stash in the hands of drug-crazed ideologists. 

I believe with the fragile state of mining in South Africa we can secure enough closed down mines to move your operations to these shores. By giving the current President, the future president and the minister of mines a cut of about 30% in the company, we can secure their support and kill the nationalisation idea, simultaneously creating the prospect of attaining lucrative stakes in viable mines in exchange for protection against state interference. 

I trust you will give my idea serious consideration. 

Yours Faithfully

Jorik Dumfries

http://www.prairieplant.com/

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE56L6Z320090722


Zuma – A Miracle of Our Time

September 14, 2009

http://www.news24.com/Content/MyNews24/Letters/1050/725409ae1fae400d8ea3643f3eb9597e/14-09-2009-11-57/A_mracle_of_our_time 

I cannot help marveling at the brilliance of our President. Those mocking his lack of education must be choking on their words. There we had it again this weekend when he displayed his brilliance when it comes to insight and logical deduction. I am off course referring to his profound statement that South Africa will be taken over should the soldiers strike whilst we are being invaded. Now who, but a genius, could have foreseen the grave risk with such clarity. It never occurred to us mere mortals that striking soldiers could threaten our democracy, risk our sovereignty and expose our weak, unprotected underbelly. My goodness…imagine South Africa’ s vulnerability with fiendish power hungry predators like Robert Mugabe and Lesotho’s vicious, expansionist Pakalitha Mosisile lurking in the background. 

Zuma surprised his critics even more when he an admonished strikers for damaging the economy and trashing the streets. A clear show of integrity and consistency by our brave leader who will not waver when he has to face up to current realities. His statement is true to form. His critics will remember, during stay-away action and protests, in support of his legal battles, he steadfastly admonished his followers to go to work. He went so far as to do war dances and issue direct threats to shoot them with his machine gun, fortunately for the anarchists someone hid the gun, in a genuine effort to force them back to work. 

The cherry on the top was the way he told business to sharpen their negotiation skills. It is their bargaining skills, or rather lack thereof, that cause strikes. The so called “captains of industry”  should be ashamed of their failure as leaders. There, staring them in the face, right in front of them they have an example of a man who have the ability to make people believe that excrement is chocolate. All they have to do is learn from the master. But no…the clever business leaders with their fancy MBA’s, thinking they are dealing with an uneducated “native”, are too smart to learn from someone considered academically inferior.


Of Crocodiles and Mines

July 13, 2009

I am not sure whether I should be sad, bemused or angry. The hostage drama at the Crocodile River platinum mine near Brits has to stand out as another extreme act of sadomasochism by the “entitled proletariat” under the guise of the “poor oppressed worker”

To understand the issues and dynamics of the situation it helps to have a bit of a background of events leading up to the crisis. The existence of this mine in itself is a minor miracle, having changed hands five times since it came into existence in the mid eighties. The mine has been profitable for very short periods and only when the platinum group metals were at extremely and unsustainably high levels. Currently the mine is not profitable and are burning cash in the hope that the platinum price will pick up, the rand will weaken or hopefully both. Should this not materialise, the mine will probably close before the year-end. The  current situation will, most likely, expedite the eminent mine closure and resultant job losses at this company built on hope and prayers.

 During the checkered history of the company, few people made money. Those who made money can thank good timing, luck, greed and good marketing. Some who owned the mine during the years were able to sell their “asset of dubious value”, to often poorly informed, and over-optimistic investors, “high” on platinum price euphoria. The current owners represent a considerable number of ill-informed Canadians since the company is registered in Canada with its trading in Toronto and Johannesburg. This can be interpreted as a subtle warning to the few stupid investors out there who, despite the Fraser report, are still investing into South African mining projects.

In order to keep the mine going, management I believe, took a number of actions to preserve cash thus prolonging mine life in the hope that the platinum price will recover. The objective of these actions is to recover losses and to make profit. As a result, people remain employed and suppliers are paid. Actions taken, I believe, included the reduction of development, necessary to open ore reserves for longer-term sustainability, the removal of the mining contractor responsible for operations and taking over the work force from the contractor, thus removing waste from the value chain.

 It is the ex-contractor workers who now hold people hostage demanding permanent employment on a mine making a loss but with the clear intent to keep them employed as long as humanly possible.

These “entitled” elements in our society are intent on biting the hand that feeds them. They are quite prepared to go and lie at home and breed once they have destroyed the business. Unfortunately, this action is the result of a strike culture that permeates South African society. A culture perpetuated by unions in their power struggle against the market economy. The union of course, denies that their members are holding hostages. Anyone believing this assertion is incredibly naïve taking into account that the union involved is  the National Union of Mineworkers, the same lot that is holding the country hostage with the 2010 soccer stadium gun against our heads.

It is ironic, were these poor hostage holding strikers stuck underground because of a power failure or other technical reason, the union and the DME would have been extremely critical of about management’s disregard for miners’ safety. It must be understood, dangerous situations in mine can only be created by management. The “experienced, intelligent and highly perceptive worker” will never expose himself to danger

With the Pamodzi case still fresh in our minds the astute thing is for Crocodile River Management to cut their losses, stop the bleeding and get the hell out of there. One just wonders how many companies must be closed down by irresponsible unions and their members before sanity will prevail.

 There are few winners here. The investors, with few lucky exceptions, will lose their money, the employees will lose their jobs, the strikers and hostage takers deservedly so and suppliers will have to write off what is owed to them.  The BEE partners, who obtained their stake in the company at a discount, may not loose and probably already took their profits at the expense of workers and real investors. The Union will be walking away, smiling and flexing their collective muscles after another “well-deserved” victory for the left and a body blow for sanity.


Application For Membership

July 10, 2009

                                                                                                            July 4, 2009

The President

Association of Mine Managers of South Africa

PO Box 61709
Marshalltown 2107

Dear Sir,

Application for Membership (Class – Ordinary)

I wish to apply to become a member of your esteemed organisation. There is however a number of issues I need to clarify. Your constitution clearly states the requirements for ordinary membership but there may be a few grey areas in my case. Let me explain.

I am manager of a mine in the Free State, Elands Mine, an operation you may be familiar with since we have been, like many other mining operations the world over and particularly in South Africa, on the receiving end of some negative and, may I say, unfair and unwarranted media attention. The media campaign against us because of an unfortunate, isolated incident of minor consequence resulting in the fire that killed a few unfortunate workers can only be described as a travesty and exceeded the norms of fair reportage. Truth be known, had it not been for the lack of cooperation from the so killed called, “formal mining sector“, this incident would never have occurred. Matter of fact, had it not been for this misguided action of a confused worker nobody outside our organisation would have known about the incidence. As a mining man, you would understand these things.

In support of my application, I have a Mine Managers Certificate of Competency, which I legally purchased when I was working on the Platinum mines in Rustenburg. A friend, employed at the DME’s office in Klerksdorp, will confirm it is kosher, should anyone decide to do checks.

There are currently about 1500 people employed in the operation, this number fluctuates since workers disappear in the “madala sites” from time to time, others just abscond, a cultural trait of my brethren that will never seize to amaze me, resulting in a need to recruit replacement which, as you well know is not so easy these days. Not with the lowly skilled and lazy riff-raff out there. It is also not possible to give you an accurate estimate of tonnage mined in the operation. We have learned that “grade is king” and we measure output in ounces only. I found that linking earnings to ounces, I get better performance and we do not need “hangers on”, such as surveyors and grade controllers.

I believe my experience can add substantially to the body of knowledge of your esteemed organisation. The nature of our operations necessitates unorthodox methods and entrepreneurial thinking, which can assist people like you and I to reverse the shrinking trend that besets our industry. The fact that we are successfully mining in areas, abandoned by the formal mining sector, proves beyond any doubt that we have a working model.

Areas of operations in which my knowledge can be of particular importance is training and multi-skilling of employees, most of our people are skilled in the entire value chain, from exploration to final product. We have people in our employ who specialise in logistics, a particularly daunting challenge if you consider workers live underground for extended periods, quite an achievement since we do not have the luxury of hoisting facilities as you know it. I always say, “We find, we mine and we process”.

Although we are not bound by DME rules and even though the Minister denies us our constitutional rights to make a living, we do take safety seriously. Excluding the unfortunate fire that resulted in the so-called, “Illegal Mining Disaster”, we have been doing very well in work place safety, with our safety record improving every year. Last year we had an estimated fifty fatalities and this year, excluding the fire deaths, we had only forty. The real improvement can be seen in the number of amputations reported. It came down from 150 last year to an estimated 90 this year. These numbers, I can assure you are correct. My son, who passed Mathematics Literacy at school, is the chief statistician for the company and he can teach you a lot about statistics.

I will also contribute my experience in the in safeguarding of investments against the likes of Jelly Tsotsi Malema, his Buti Malemela and Ballcrusher Vavi with their plans for a hostile takeover of the mining industry. We have established tried and tested defense systems against this type of hard-line guerilla tactics. Our people had training from the best in anti-insurgency and defensive warfare, which we adapted for underground conditions and include the use of grenades, anti-personnel mines, deadly gas, not to mention guns, that’s right, we are the reason the President can’t find his machine gun…we’ve got it. We do not use guns too often underground, only in close combat; ricochets can be dangerous in that environment, whilst poisonous gas, ingeniously used with the ventilation flow, is very effective.

Cynthia Carroll will vouch for us on this one, I recently advised her on defensive systems against the threat posed by that Swiss company with the funny name and Swiss Army Knives as main weapon for “hostile” mergers. We know how devious the Swiss can be. War after war they pretend to be on the fence just so they can lay there frostbitten hands on the gold. It will not surprise me in the least to find they swindled the poor Paul Kruger out of his gold, for all we know the Kruger Millions have been stashed in a UBS vault, in Zurich all the time, whilst treasure hunters are running all over the Mpumalanga countryside looking for gold . It is also quite conceivable that Paul Kruger set this up all those years ago to take revenge against Anglo, whose founding fathers, were in many quarters considered British agents and conspirators in the oppression of the “Boere”.  

I can tell you a lot more, but I’m sure you get the picture. I’m looking forward to the many opportunities, we will have to chew the fat, or shall I say chew the Crayfish, whilst drinking copious amounts of John X Merriman and Blue Label at those famously wild monthly meetings I heard about.

Yours in Safety

Sticksaait Chugumisa


Illegal miners – Unsung Heroes

June 3, 2009

                  

The President of the Association of Informal and Illegal Miners of SA, Malaisha Kipastofile, called on the minister to enforce a code of practice that will ensure illegal miners can apply their trade safely. He was reacting to the minister’s call for a coordinated attack on the problem and her denial of their inalienable right to earn a living. Kipastofile said the reason for their activities must be laid squarely at the door of the government and the unions. He said the protectionist intent of the NUM and Cosatu has resulted in an out-of-balance labour market with artificially inflated salaries, causing large-scale unemployment and ever increasing job losses in an uncompetitive South African gold mining industry. Other mines will become targets when they, like the gold and diamond mines, become uncompetitive because of high cost of legal mining, which result in the willful and reckless abandonment of valuable in-situ gold resources. To the DME’s comment that the state will not carry the cost of the death of the illegal miners, Kipastofile said he was already in touch with Richard Spoor and the Associaton will sue NUM, The State and the Company for damages. Kipastofile further declared his intention to form a Union representing the unemployed. He said, we do not care about meaningful, and decent jobs, we just want jobs and pay so that we can feed our families.

 When told about the views of the Association of Informal and Illegal Miners of SA (AIIMSA), the spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers, Mina Kokomoya, said Kipastofile was a counter-revolutionary with ties to the security establishment of the old Apartheid regime and a cohort of Willie Madisha COPE. Kokomoya added that NUM would demand subscription arrears for the deceased miners since they were working on a mine where NUM has an agency agreement, which compels workers to become members of NUM. The union will however, not entertain claims against the Union by deceased illegal miners or their next of kin. Kokomya vigorously denied the accusation that Unions in general and NUM in particular were destroying employment opportunities. He said, “It is better to die like dogs than to work like slaves” He said he knew for a fact that at least 80% of the unemployed agrees with NUM on this issue.

 In a separate statement, Slack Notsosmart, COSATU spokes person, warned anyone contemplating the formation of organisations opposing COSATU of grave consequences. He said COSATU will not tolerate interference by non-workers in employment matters and threatened mass action in support of the wage demands, the banning of labour-brokers and subversion of the social dream. This tragedy of illegal miners must be laid at the door of labour brokers who undermine union efforts to uplift workers thereby promoting capitalist market myths. Asked about COSATU’s alleged intimidation tactics, Notsosmart said allegations of intimidation during any COSATU industrial action were perceptions created by the white owned media.

Leading economist, Adam Smith, believed that this tragedy could lead to a fresh look at the sustained viability of South African mines and could signal a reversal in the sagging fortunes of the South African gold mining industry. “This could provide us with an alternative model to extract gold from deep ore bodies”, he excitedly said.

A mining industry spokesperson, Tyranny Fortune expressed his admiration for the efficiency of the illegal miners and said, “Their commitment to the task ahead should be a lesson to all. Their ability to remain underground for long periods gives new meaning to the expression. “sleeping on the job” and the management are examining the possibility of applying this principle to current operations”. He added; “This is what we had in mind when we first thought about continues operations.” Fortune denied that the mine owners were discussing off-take agreements with the illegal miners.

The national director of Lawyers for Human Rights, advocate Jakob van Esel bemoaned the fact that the illegal miners, known as zama-zamas, had to recover the bodies of their colleagues themselves. He questioned the commitment and so-called bravery of Mine Rescue Teams and referred to them as ninnies for not volunteering their lives to safe the illegal workers, it is not that they are oppressed like the Emergency Workers currently on strike. The striking workers have the right to refuse assistance to the malingering elite, accident victims, who probably contributed to the situation they are and innocent victims of violent crime, committed by the oppressed poor. Unlike the striking emergency workers, the Mine Rescue Brigades consists of volunteers and have no real right to refuse laying their lives down for the oppressed illegals.

It is believed that the Inspector of Mines issued the illegal miners with a Section 54 order, which could result in a suspension of operations of at least 48 hours. It is also rumoured that the incident may result in a “DME Blitz” on Harmony operations. NUM are debating whether they should call for a 24-Hour sympathy stay away at Harmony operations.