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Stop the violence, says premier

Oct 05 2012 15:13

Striking Amplats mineworkers. Picture: Lucky Nxumalo/City Press

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Johannesburg - North West premier Thandi Modise has appeal for calm following a spate of violence associated with the mineworkers' strike at Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] mine (Amplats) in Rustenburg.

"Wage negotiations should not be characterised by violence," she said on Friday.

"Urgent interventions have to be made to manage the situation and compromises reached before it deteriorates further. We are extremely worried that violence is once again rearing its ugly head and spilling over to local businesses and people who are not party to the labour dispute.

"The price that we all paid in Marikana was too costly. Sanity has to prevail for an urgent solution to be found to avert further violent confrontations that might have dire repercussions for the mining sector and the economy. We cannot afford another Marikana," she said in a statement.

A mineworker at Amplats mine was shot dead on a hill at the Nkaneng informal settlement in Photsaneng on Thursday night.

North West police said a case of murder had been opened and forwarded to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

"The cause of the death and all its circumstances are currently under investigation by the Ipid as the incident appeared to have arisen from police action," Colonel Emelda Setlhako said.

About 300 mineworkers met on a hill at the Nkaneng informal settlement in Photsaneng, about 18km east of Rustenburg, on Thursday afternoon.

"The police instructed the mineworkers to disperse, but the instruction was ignored. The crowd began stoning the police, who then had to use stun grenades, rubber bullets, and teargas to disperse them," she said.

Workers' spokesman Gaddhafi Mdoda said police ordered them to disperse and counted up to 10 before firing teargas and rubber bullets.

"They (workers) first gathered at the Bleskop hostel and were ordered to leave. They went to the informal settlement. They were also ordered to disperse (there), and they went to the hill to continue with their meeting."

The workers went on an illegal strike on September 12, demanding a R16,000 monthly salary and allowances.

Since then, shops and cars have been attacked. On Monday, six cars driving past the mine's shafts were set alight and two shops looted and burnt.

A training centre was torched at the Jabula hostel at 1:30am on Thursday.

Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said two conveyor belts - one between the UG2 and Bathopele shaft and the second at Khuseleka shaft two - were also set alight. No arrests had been made.

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thandi modise  |  mining unrest



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