It was a huge success for AMCU when Judge Lagrande ruled in favour of AMCU and its members at the Labour Court in Braamfotein, Johannesburg on Tuesday 3 November.

Speaking at a media briefing held at the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank on Thursday 5 November President Joseph Mathunjwa said: “In 2013 539 of our members were unfairly dismissed at its Vaal Reef operations for staying away from work on a Saturday, this is after the employer refused to recognize and pay the workers accordingly for overtime.”

In his judgement Judge Lagrande ordered the company being Anglo Gold Ashanti to reinstate our 539 members with immediate effect with 12 months compensation.

“This victory gives the working class hope that there are still unions that are prepared to walk an extra mile in pursuit of justice and the rights of the workers at the workplace,” said Mathunjwa.

Sellwane Lekone (31) said she was one of the members who got unfairly dismissed. “AMCU is different from the other unions. It stood up for us and in two weeks we should be back at work with 12 months compensation.”

She said she was happy but she was sad for those who are not around to see this day. Sellwane said it was rough for her and her family when she was not working. I could not apply for grant because I had no proof that I was no longer working.

Phumilsa Aros (29) said she was suspended because she was a member of AMCU. “Life was hard. I no salary and many of us are breadwinners. We have been struggling.”

She said many committed suicide because of the situation but now because of Mathunjwa things are different.

“AMCU has represented us and has shown us that they are trustworthy.”

Lesala Moea (49) said he they were innocent and were punished unfairly. “AMCU never gave up on us. If it was not for AMCU we would have never seen this day.”

He said he was happy to be going back to work and provide for his family. “AMCU is for the workers. It is life. It’s our umbrella,” said Lesala.