Our members at Masimong gold mine in Free State downed tools on Tuesday after the employer refused to grant them a day off to mourn a late colleague who lost his life working underground.

The unidentified deceased male worker died on Sunday after rocks fell on him while he was working underground.

Members who gathered outside the health care centre told AMCU news team that they decided to gather in mourning against the will of the employer before the corpse would be sent home in Mozambique for the burial.

“The employer refused to give us a day off so we stayed away from work without the employer’s approval because as Africans, we mourn when someone dies and we also practice this even here at the shaft.

“This is the first time that this has happened, our management started side-lining us since we joined AMCU,” member Makwena Mushweshwe said.

They said that they hoped that this demonstration will twist the employer’s arm to grant them a day off to mourn.

Another member Matshediso Seskhosana said they were not deterred by the employer’s threat to charge them for staying away from work.

“Now the employer has sent us SMSes threatening to charge us but we don’t mind because we have chosen to support each other even after one is no more. In the past when someone dies, there is an announcement and the deceased is shown on a screen around the shaft and the employer will usually say a few words of comfort; but because he wasn’t under NUM that hasn’t happened,” Matshediso said.