Home Feature South Africa Miners Formed Union ‘to Fight Exploitation’

South Africa Miners Formed Union ‘to Fight Exploitation’

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When Joe Montisetse came to South Africa from Botswana to work in gold mines in the early 1980s, he saw a black pool of water deep in a mine that signified deadly methane. Yet after he brought up the issue to supervisors, they insisted he continue working, but Montisetse refused.

Two co-workers were killed a few hours later when the methane exploded.

Today, Montisete is newly elected president of the National Union of Mineworkers, a position he achieved after helping form a local union at the gold mine soon after his co-workers’ deaths. After they formed the union, workers were safer, he says.

“We formed union as mine workers to defend against oppression and exploitation.”