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Malema threatens mines

Aug 30 2012 18:05 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema on Thursday promised to lead a revolution which he said would make all mines in the country ungovernable.

"We are going to lead a mining revolution in this country... We will run these mines ungovernable until the boers come to the table," he told workers at the Aurora mine in Grootvlei, Springs.

"We want them to give you a minimum wage of R12 500. These people can afford R12 500. Mining in South Africa amounts to trillions of rands."

Malema said the fact the Aurora crisis had lasted four years showed there was no leadership in the country.

"Four years shows that there is not leadership. When they (politicians) arrive to represent you, they give them money and they forget you."

Aurora Empowerment Systems bought the mines, one in Springs, the other in Orkney, North West, when the previous owner, Pamodzi Gold, went into liquidation in 2009.

Since then, workers have not been paid and the mines have been stripped of assets. About  5000 people have been left jobless.

Workers told Malema how their hostel was demolished.

Aurora is owned by President Jacob Zuma's nephew Khulubuse and former president Nelson Mandela's grandson Zondwa.

Malema said: "Every mine has a politician inside. They give them money every month, they call it shares. But it is (a) protection fee, to protect whites against the workers."

Blacks were worse off than during the apartheid years, he said.

"We are being killed by our own people. We are being oppressed by our own government."

Malema told the workers they should form a committee to speak to the lawyers and present their complaints to Aurora's liquidators.

Among those who attended Malema's meeting were workers fired from the nearby Gold One International, the prospective buyer of Aurora's mines. Gold One International confirmed it had fired 1 044 workers for embarking on an illegal strike.

"The workers were in an illegal strike and we asked them to come back and they refused... so we dismissed 1044 workers," spokesperson Grant Stuart said.

The workers wanted a minimum wage of R6 500.

Stuart said the company won an urgent court interdict which declared the strike illegal. Workers were fired and when the matter was appealed, the court upheld the previous decision, Stuart said.

In April, Gold One and Goliath Gold put up a R70m bid to buy Aurora's assets, with a view to build at least four new mines in the area.

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