November 1995 Volume 2 Number 11
Foreign Mineworkers in South Africa Get Vote; Residency
Following a request form the National Union of Mineworkers, South African President Nelson Mandela held talks with several senior government officials on October 27 to determine if foreign mineworkers should be allowed to vote in the November 1 local elections. On October 28, he announced that the more than 90,000 mineworkers will be granted permanent residency. The agreement was reached to late to allow them to vote in the November 1 elections.
The National Union of Mineworkers claimed that immigrants from European countries were being favored over the mostly black migrant workers form southern African nations. The union says that the workers from other African nations are being treated the same way they were under apartheid.
According to the Chamber of Mines, more than 400,000 gold and coal miners are employed in South Africa. It estimated that 45 percent of its 1994 workforce and 44 percent of its 1993 workforce were hired from outside the country, primarily from southern Africa.
The union challenged the Aliens Control Act, under which workers are entitled to permanent status after five years of working in South Africa. The union argued that many black workers have worked in South Africa for 20 years and are denied permanent status.
"Permanent residency granted to over 90,000 migrant mineworkers," BBC, October 31, 1995. "South Africa's migrant miners win residency right," Reuters, October 29, 1995. "Foreign miners might be allowed to vote: Mandela, "Xinhua News Agency, October 28, 1995. "S. African trade union demands right to vote for foreign workers," Xinhua News Agency, October 24, 1995. "S. Africa Mine Union to Lobby for Migrants in Court," European Business Report, October 17, 1995.