Seventy-five members of the National Union of Mineworkers are expected to appear in Transkei's Umtata Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of furthering the alms of banned organisations — the Congress or SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the NUM. Both worker movements are banned in the Transkei, according to NUM representative Tshidiso Mothupi.
The mineworkers from the Anglo American Corporation- controlled New Denmark colliery near Standerton in the south-eastern Transvaal were detained at the weekend on their way to the funeral of a colleague McDonald Mvundla, in Elliotdale. Their detention took place only days after former Selous Scout Major-General Ron Reid-Daly and a group of military advisers were deported from Transkei.
The workers are believed to have been stopped at one of the numerous roadblocks set up after Reid-Daly and his men were thrown out of the country at gunpoint. Mvundla's death was not unrest-related. No confirmation of the expected court appearance could be obtained from the homeland, police or Anglo.
On Wednesday workers went out on strike in protest against the detention of the mineworkers. The NUM and Amcoal management, a subsidiary of Anglo American Corporation, were last night involved in talks to get the striking workers to return to work. Mothupi said workers were not satisfied with management's response that there is nothing they can do to secure the release of the NUM members.
In a statement Anglo denied the charge. Management "registered their extreme concern to the Transkei authorities but are in no position to negotiate for their release at this time," Anglo added.