Striking Bokoni miners meet at stadium

Nov 14 2012 20:09

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Johannesburg - Striking miners met at Bokoni mine stadium in Limpopo on Wednesday to discuss a possible solidarity strike in the region, spokesperson Mametlwe Sebei said.

"About 15 to 20 000 people came," said Sebei.

They had only expected around 2 700 people who were involved in the strike but found that people from the surrounding communities arrived to support the demands of the miners.

"Old women were speaking. It was quite inspiring. They were saying they were here to support their sons and husbands who are miners," he said.

"They don't want to see this poverty continue beyond this current generation. They were very articulate and eloquent. People are rising on their feet," said Sebei, of the National Strike Committee and an organisation called the Democratic Socialist Movement.

He said there were complaints that there had been very little development along the platinum belt in the Sekhukhune and Burgersfort region of Limpopo.

Mines had been there for over 50 years but nothing had been achieved in terms of infrastructure development, such as public education, and there was "hardly water", he continued.

The roads that there were led in and out of the mine.

"People want decent housing, not to mention the level of unemployment," he said. "These are issues that are coming out."

On Thursday, they would go to the Sekhukhune Magistrate's Court where 56 people arrested on Tuesday, after stones were thrown at vehicles passing the mine in Limpopo, near Apel, are expected to appear.

Bokoni is 49% owned by Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS], which is hoping that striking workers at its other operations Amandelbult, Rustenburg and Union will accept a new offer to return to work.

Police spokesperson Lt-Col Ronel Otto said people set a tuckshop on the Bokoni mine's property alight on Tuesday and threw stones at buses bringing people to work at the mine.

Three policemen were injured by stones.

"They threatened to burn property inside the mine and also some people working in the shafts were prevented from [coming and going]."

Police took action, using rubber bullets and teargas, and over the course of the day and night arrested the large group.

Elias Juba, chairperson of the National Strike Committee, was among those arrested, said Sebei.

He said Juba was also chairperson of the local workers committee.

Sebei said the workers of Bokoni want a minimum wage of R16 500. Their strike was not started in terms of Labour Relations Act procedures, he said.
anglo platinum  |  limpopo  |  mining unrest  |  strikes



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