Mineweb, 22 May 2008
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DRDGOLD has been informed by the South African Police Service ("SAPS") that two employees of its East Rand Proprietary Mines Limited mine ("ERPM") at Boksburg died in the violence that occurred in the Ramaphosa informal settlement on the East Rand. The names and nationalities of the employees will be withheld until such time as the next of kin have been informed. Production at ERPM is still continuing. However, employee attendance has been negatively impacted since the weekend following violent attacks against foreigners in the area. ERPM has reported that approximately 58% of its day shift did not report for work today and that this was believed to be related to the continuing unrest in nearby communities. DRDGOLD's two other operations have not been affected by the violence. 621, or 32.6%, of ERPM's semi-skilled workforce are foreign nationals, mainly from Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. The largest proportion, some 480 employees, or 77% of the foreign nationals on the workforce, are Mozambicans. Some 398 of these employees (83% of the Mozambican workforce), have opted for living-out allowances from the mine, in preference to hostel accommodation. Management and the National Union of Mineworkers ("NUM") officials met with representatives of the Mozambican workforce on Monday afternoon to discuss, amongst other matters, alternative accommodation. DRDGOLD is assisting affected employees of ERPM with temporary accommodation, food and security and has appealed to all employees who have sought refuge at police stations and elsewhere in the community to come forward for assistance. Management also met with SAPS officials on Wednesday and SAPS has agreed to provide additional protective support to the foreign nationals on the ERPM workforce. No further reports of violence have been received by mine management on Wednesday night or today. A meeting is scheduled for this afternoon with NUM officials, the Mozambique Consulate and employees of the mine, to attempt to resolve the current situation and return the mine to normality.