Fin24

Amplats strikers hit back

2012-09-12 15:29

Rustenburg - Striking mineworkers hit back at claims by Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] (Amplats) on Wednesday that protesters near its Thembelani mine in Rustenburg were not its employees.

Agitated protesters said they were indeed employed by the giant platinum producer, at different mine shafts in Rustenburg.

"If it were not for this industrial action, most of us would be deep inside shafts, sweating for Anglo Platinum. Do not be tricked by them," said protester Themba Ngaba.

He and dozens of other protesters showed their Amplats identification cards.

"I am a rock driller for them. Among other things, workers are angered by the sub-standard mageu (fermented mealie-meal energy drink) provided by the company," he said.

Ngaba said he had worked for Amplats for seven years.

The protesters are demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.

Another employee, Johannes Molefe, said the mineworkers were struggling to fend for their families.

"I am paid R5 900 per month. Imagine how a family man can survive on such a low salary," he said.

He said he had worked for Anglo Platinum for the past five years.

"We are always hungry at work. They give us nothing but sub-standard mageu," said Molefe.

Another protester, Xolisa Ntwana, said the workers were disappointed that Amplats had suggested they were not its employees.

On Wednesday, Amplats insisted that the protesters gathered near its Thembelani mine in Rustenburg did not work for the mine.

"The facts are, our employees are not on strike. The people who are chanting around the mines are from neighbouring communities and we cannot identify who they are," said Amplats spokesperson Mpumi Sithole.

National Union of Mineworkers spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said most staff members had been prevented from going to work due to intimidation by those who were now protesting outside the mine.

"I don't know whether you want to call that a strike, when workers are prevented from going to work and some are protesting," Seshoka said.

A large group of protesters, carrying traditional weapons, gathered at a Thembelani mine shaft on Wednesday morning, with police keeping watch.

Five police nyalas and a water cannon were at the scene. A police helicopter hovered overhead.

Most of the protesters sat in a field under a scorching sun. Small groups, clutching sticks and clubs, marched, sang and danced.

Some men arrived at the scene wearing ANC Youth League regalia. They joined the protesters, but declined to speak to the media about their role in the strike.

Sithole said no memorandum of demands for a wage increase had been given to management by staff members.

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Comments
  • pierrefrewd.juice - 2012-09-12 15:47

    snowball in africa of all places

  • frederik.conradie - 2012-09-12 15:47

    This story will go back and forth, growing uglier by the second. Soon somthing will have to give. Either way, SA will be paying the price!

  • jan.human - 2012-09-12 15:55

    We are willing to pay more for better quality mageu... just give us R12 500 pm and we will stay away from work not only Monday... But also Tuseday..... R12500 can buy lots of beer!! Viva!!!

  • clive.priestman - 2012-09-12 16:14

    All very sad & concerning. The rainbow nation is fast being replaced by a big dark cloud.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-09-12 16:19

    So this whole mine fiasco is politically motivated.

  • p.borchard - 2012-09-12 16:45

    Why are the strikers allowed to brandish pangas etc.? How is that supposed to portray "Peaceful Demonstration"? If you pitch up with weapons, you should expect to be met with equal force. And the international media is just lapping it up.

  • Joubs1957 - 2012-09-12 16:47

    And while all of this is going on: The oil price is rising, the rand is weakening, our current account deficit is growing. By the time (if) they do get more pay - they are probably effectively going to be worse off anyhow!

  • ben.louw.5 - 2012-09-12 16:52

    Malema's "rent a crowd" protesters. Lazy guys walking mine to mine that doesnt want to work.

  • jacques.shepperson - 2012-09-13 06:21

    on another angle, inflation is out of control, rand has little buying power, so R5900 is not R5900 of last year... We are all in the same boat yet we dont go around striking and killing others.

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