Gold Fields: Strikers must disarm
Johannesburg - The disarming of Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] KDC West mine strikers was a positive step towards averting the need to evict hostel-dwellers, the company said on Thursday.
"We are considering the alternatives, if the strikers are doing that [handing in weapons]," said Gold Fields spokesperson Sven Lunsche.
On Wednesday evening, a verbal undertaking was made that workers could return to their hostels if they handed in their weapons.
Earlier on Wednesday, many strikers carried sticks, pipes and axes when they gathered on a koppie outside mine property. Petrol bombs had also been used during the strike.
On Tuesday, the company filed an urgent application for an eviction order at the Pretoria High Court after it became concerned that the hostels were becoming a "hot-bed of violence".
"Our main rationale was that it was lawless in the hostels. If they hand in their weapons, then there is far less need [to seek court action]," said Lunsche on Thursday.
Hearings for the order would only likely be held some time next week.
He said while the company continued to "observe its legal rights" it was supportive of a drive to get the rest of the 5000 hostel-dwellers, who had not yet done so, to hand in their weapons.
Earlier on Thursday, the workers said they would continue the strike.
"We will not go back to work until our demands are met," a leader of the strikers, Ellis Booi, proclaimed to the cheers of thousands of workers who had gathered at a stadium close to the West Rand mine.
Mine operations at KDC West have been shut down since the vast majority of the mine's 13 000 workers embarked on a strike three weeks ago.
Another 9 000 workers at Gold Field's Beatrix mine in the Free State remained on a "peaceful" strike, said Lunsche.
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