Purity Manganese denies exploiting workers
The management of the Purity Managanese mine has dismissed allegations of poor working conditions, living conditions and the exploitation of workers at the mine. In a press statement issued by Purity Manganese, Executive Manager Asi Eretz the company denies exploiting its workers but instead accuses Purity Managanese Head of Safety, Immanuel Shilongo and labour consultant Martin Nepembe of being part of a smear campaign against the company.
It is alleged that Shilongo last week visited the head offices of the mining company in the capital and confessed to providing defamatory information to Nepembe and illegally recording a meeting between Purity Managanese and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. Shilongo later went to the mine premises and put 200ml booster explosives around himself and continued throwing allegations against the company, after which the company opened a case against him. Shilongo was charged with threatening suicide on mine premises, threatening the lives of employees at Purity Managanese, deliberate and willful interruption of company operations and threatening to damage the property of the mine. A disciplinary hearing will be held next week Friday after which a decision will be made regarding Shilongo’s future at the company.
“Purity Manganese has policies and procedures which guide company employees, inclusive of a grievance procedure policy which is active and followed through. We do not, and have never victimised any employee” said Human Resources Manager at Purity Manganese, Frans Beukes.
Purity Manganese said it employs individuals at N$5.65c per hour who do not have any experience and qualifications. The individuals are then inducted and trained in posts for employment. A performance review is then conducted , wher by raises are given based on attendance and performance in duties. The statement also revealed that all qualified employees receive higher remuneration. The rate scale for the employees ranges from N$5.65 to N$30.00 per hour.
The mine said it employs approximately 400 Namibian nationals, putting Purity Manganese as a front running operation in Namibia. The company plans to increase its workforce by employing more people in 2014.
Purity Manganese has frequently been the victim of malicious labour attacks. It operates a mining license on half of a former single manganese EPL. The other half of the EPL, belonging to an empowerment group, lies fallow.