PRESS RELEASE: S.African Company "Cape Gate" arrogantly refuses to speak with workers and activists

Today a group of 50 workers, environmentalists and human rights activists gathered at the Vanderbijlpark head office (near Johannesburg) of the South African steel manufacturing company, Cape Gate ( Workers and activists demanded a response to their memorandum submitted almost 7 weeks ago on the 18th of September (and also emailed to the company on the 08th of October, find attached PDF). The issues, that have been repeatedly raised with Cape Gate, date back to almost 18 years - 18 years that Cape Gate has been sending workers from pillar to post and refusing to genuinely engage.

According to Abraham Mokete of the Vaal Community Assembly: "Cape Gate didn’t have the decency nor respect to respond to us, and thus we were forced by their lack of respecting us to convene, in person, at Cape Gate's head office earlier this morning. The arrogant anti-worker attitude of Cape Gate is shameful and disgraceful. To make things worse, even though Cape Gate was aware that we were coming this morning, they sent a company representative, Mr Smith, who had no updates, no knowledge and no information on our previous memorandum. Mr Smith refused to provide us answers to our demands from 18th September so we requested that the company provide someone with the appropriate authority and information to respond to us, this request was arrogantly refused by Cape Gate."

7 weeks ago, on Wednesday the 18th of September, former and current employees of Cape Gate together with the Vaal Community Assembly Vaal Environmental Joint Alliance (VEJA), and the Palestine solidarity organisation Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions against Israel in South Africa (BDS South Africa) gathered and held a joint protest and picket at Cape Gate. Workers and activists came together demanding that Cape Gate :
- Immediately discharge to ex-employees (and/or their respective next of kin) the "pension surplus fund" owed to them for the last 18 years (and approved by the Financial Services Board), including full compensation for the unclaimed funds by families of the deceased;

- Award to the ex-employees the company shares which were promised to ex-employees 18 years ago;
- Afford workers and ex-employees the due process of medical check-ups that should have been carried out, and that these workers be awarded Occupational Health Compensation due to them in the cases of damage to health (due to employment by Cape Gate);
- Report back to VEJA and to surrounding communities regarding Cape Gate's carbon emission levels; Cape Gate' has, till today, refused to issue a report to VEJA and the Vanderbijlpark community regarding Cape Gate's carbon emissions and pollution levels. The request for such information and report was informed by continuous chest pains and lung respiratory related infections experienced by members of communities surrounding Cape Gate;
- Respect international law and end relations with Israel (Cape Gate through its Israeli subsidiary "Yehuda Welded Mesh", shamefully supplies material to, and profits from, the construction of Israel's notorious, "Apartheid Wall". Cape Gate also supplies material to and for the construction of Israel's illegal settlements).
 - Recompenses Palestinians for having violated international law in supplying Israel with materials (directly and indirectly through its Israeli firm "Yehuda Welded Mesh") for the construction of Israel's "Apartheid Wall" and illegal settlements.
Workers will now be consulting with lawyers and are planning a major protest for the end of November. Abraham Mokete said: "We will returning at the end of this month in our numbers in a major protest action that will see Cape Gate shut down and be forced to respond the the legitimate concerns of workers. We have begun to liase with other community, political and youth organizations to join us but we also invite all members of the public, including media, to join us in holding Cape Gate accountable to South African Labour Laws, Environmental Law and International Law. We, in good faith, requested democratic and transparent engagement with the management of Cape Gate in addressing our issues and in attempting to resolve them. We are disappointed that Cape Gate has refused to engage us in discussion and dialogue to resolve our issues. We now have no option but to protest and resort to legal recourse. We are also appealing to lawyers that could assist to also please come forward and please be in contact with us."


Muhammed Desai: 0842119988
Abraham Mokete: 0838787894
Desebo Mapela: 0734017318
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