Fochville - Hundreds of striking mineworkers were gathering
on a hilltop at the Mahalesuku informal settlement outside Fochville, North
West, on Friday morning.
The workers were awaiting a mass meeting at the AngloGold
Ashanti [JSE:ANG] Mponeng gold mine. They had been on strike since September 25
for better wages.
"How can we go back to work if our demands are not
met?" workers' representative Rodgers Motlhabane said.
They wanted a monthly salary of R18 500.
He said their strike at Mponeng shaft one was joined by
workers at Savuka mine shaft two and Tautona shaft three, all AngloGold Ashanti
Strikers carried sticks and iron rods and sang. Others sat
quietly under umbrellas, trying to shield themselves from the sun.
They had been meeting on the hill since September 20 as they
were not allowed to hold meetings on mine premises.
Workers' representatives had had one meeting with management
so far, to discuss security during the strike.
"Since (the) strike started nothing has been
vandalised. We don't have to vandalise anything. We will act peacefully until
the strike ends," Motlhabane said.
"The biggest thing is our wages. We feel that we are
Another worker's representative, Tshepo Motloi, said they
had not had any contact from former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.
"We don't have any contact with Julius Malema. There's
no influence from outside."
Several weeks ago Malema spoke to mineworkers at several
mines in support of their strike, and called for a national strike by
mineworkers for at least four days a month until their salaries improved.
When he tried to speak at a mine near Rustenburg police
stopped him and escorted him from the North West town. He had not spoken
publicly to miners since.
One of the striking workers said he wanted to buy a house,
but due to the strike was now unable to do so. He had worked at Mponeng for six
years and had two children, aged six and two.
"You never know what is going to happen after
this," 26-year-old Johannes said.
He was concerned workers would be fired or the mine closed
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