S. Africa mine suspends women who refused to strip

A woman miner works at the Rustenberg chrome mine in South Africa. (AFP)
Updated 29 July 2017
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S. Africa mine suspends women who refused to strip

JOHANNESBURG: A South African mine suspended dozens of women on Friday after they refused to strip as part of measures to stop workers delivering food to illegal miners, their union said.
The women who refused the intimate inspection were “assaulted and handcuffed using cable ties as if they are criminals,” the National Union of Miners (NUM) said in a statement that claimed 52 women were suspended.
Mine owner Sibanye Gold confirmed that it had suspended a number of female employees for “allegedly attempting to assist illegal miners,” but put the figure at 45.
“It is unacceptable and deplorable what these male security officers are doing at Sibanye Gold Cooke Operations,” it added referring to the mine in Westonaria, southwest of Johannesburg.
“This is the worst violation of their human rights and degrading to their dignity.”
Since January, 665 illegal miners have been arrested at the mine, and 123 employees have been suspended for smuggling food and other contraband to the illicit miners, the company said in a statement.
In June the NUM and Sibanye Gold signed a deal banning workers from taking food into the shafts in an effort to combat illegal mining.
“Clothing is searched for food items in the presence of the employee and two protection services employees,” Sibanye said.
“Female employees are searched by females and the male employees are searched by males.”
Thousands of illegal miners operate in South Africa, often drawn from neighboring Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho, risking their lives mostly in disused mines in the hope of retrieving small amounts of gold residue to sell on the black market.
Gold mining was South Africa’s life-blood for centuries and helped the country become the most developed economy in Africa but production has dwindled in recent years as reserves are exhausted.


France’s Nicolas Sarkozy loses bid to avoid influence peddling trial

Updated 19 June 2019
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France’s Nicolas Sarkozy loses bid to avoid influence peddling trial

  • Sarkozy is accused of offering to help a judge win promotion
  • Sarkozy’s lawyers have previously argued that magistrates investigating the alleged secret Libyan funding exceeded their powers

PARIS: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial for influence peddling after the country's highest court rejected his final bid to have the case thrown out, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
Sarkozy is accused of offering to help a judge win promotion in return for leaked information about a separate inquiry. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
The case came about after investigators used phone-taps to examine allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy’s successful campaign for the presidency in 2007.
As they eavesdropped on his calls, the investigators began to suspect the former president had offered the judge promotion in return for information on another investigation involving allegations Sarkozy accepted illicit payments from L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for the same campaign.
Sarkozy’s lawyers have previously argued that magistrates investigating the alleged secret Libyan funding exceeded their powers and went on a “fishing expedition” by tapping his conversations between September 2013 and March 2014, breaching lawyer-client privilege.
He was cleared over the Bettencourt allegations.
On Wednesday, his defence team said the use in this case of wiretapped remarks gleaned in relation to a different investigation contravened a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.
"These legal issues are still relevant," Sarkozy lawyer Jacqueline Laffont said. "It will be for the court to decide whether a French court can override a decision of the European Court of Human Rights."
Wednesday's ruling that the trial proceed came from the 'Cour de Cassation', which decides whether an earlier decision by an appeals court conforms with French law.