Bloodied corpses litter mine battleground

2012-08-16 16:55

Marikana - Police opened fire on Thursday on thousands of striking miners armed with pangas and sticks at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, leaving several bloodied corpses lying on the ground.

A Reuters cameraman said he saw at least seven bodies after the shooting, which occurred when police laying out barricades of barbed wire were outflanked by some of an estimated 3 000 miners massed on a rocky outcrop near the mine in the North West.

Police officers said talks with leaders of the radical Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) had broken down, leaving no option but to disperse them by force.

"Today is unfortunately D-day," spokesperson Dennis Adriao said.

Ten people, including two policemen, have died in nearly a week of fighting between rival worker factions at the mine, the latest platinum plant to be hit by fallout from an eight-month union turf war in the world's main producer of the precious metal.

On Wednesday, up to 3 000 police officers, including members of an elite, camouflage-wearing riot control unit backed by helicopters and horses, confronted the striking rock-drill operators, but there were no clashes.

Before the police advance, Joseph Mathunjwa, president of AMCU, which has been on a big recruitment push in South Africa's platinum mines, said there would be bloodshed if police moved in.

"We're going nowhere," he shouted through a loudhailer, to cheers from the crowd. "If need be, we're prepared to die here."

Operations suspended

The unrest has forced Marikana's London-headquartered owner to halt production at all its South African operations, which account for 12% of global platinum output.

Lonmin [JSE:LON] said it had lost the equivalent of 15 000 ounces of platinum from the six-day disruption, and was unlikely to meet its full-year production target of 750 000 ounces.

Its London-listed shares were down more than 6% on Thursday, bringing total losses since the violence began to more than 13%.

The Marikana strikers have not made their demands explicit, although much of the bad blood stems from a turf war between AMCU and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the dominant union for the last two decades.

At least three people were killed in a similar round of fighting in January that led to a six-week closure of the world's largest platinum mine, run by Impala Platinum.

That helped push the platinum price up 15%.

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  • danny.archer.589 - 2012-08-16 16:59

    "Deadly force bill passed" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....Well played ANC...well played. *clap clap*

      amanda.victor.92 - 2012-08-16 23:50

      Can you imagine the outrage if this happened under Apartheid. Why, all the bleeding heart liberals would be peeing their pants in outrage. Today under the ANC? Crickets. It's ok for blacks to kill willy nilly, but racist and oppressive when the whites did it.

      junebugg.kinte - 2012-08-17 06:23

      amanda.victor.92 Please explain who said its okay for Blacks killing blacks? where are you getting this statement? "t's ok for blacks to kill willy nilly" ..some people do not like using brains I see

      junebugg.kinte - 2012-08-17 06:25

      What happened is as bad as what happened to apartheid...unless Amanda can show me who said "It was okay" and to try to justify Apartheid with yesterday's events is plain ignorance

      Andre - 2012-08-17 06:52

      Now the pink liberal humanists will realize what happened at Sharpville when more rioters attacked less policemen!

  • christopher.m.lowe - 2012-08-16 17:05

    Back to the 1970's. This is very serious. Watch the ANC start the finger pointing now.

      tooka.loosh.5 - 2012-08-16 17:12

      Yeah, pointing it back to apartheid as usual. - 2012-08-16 17:37

      Calls to make the City of Cape Town ungovernable. Miners being shot. The more things change the more they stay the same.

      mal10s - 2012-08-16 18:27

      four legs good, two legs better...

  • jeeves.eddings - 2012-08-16 17:07

    Yup, you wanna kill cops, you open a can that no man should open!

  • smalefane - 2012-08-16 17:09

    Joseph Mathunjwa, president of AMCU must be arrested for inciting violence. These people are criminals and must be treated as such.

  • osmaseko - 2012-08-16 17:12

    its so unfortunate that people have to die fighting for a salary increase...when the company accounts for 12% of global platinum output. They get paid only 4K mxm Welcome to the capitalists world. RIP to all the lost souls - 2012-08-16 17:21

      Shame, I suppose that's what happens when you burn schools down instead of studying in them. How is this for black logic - i want a higher salary so let me grab a panga, go on strike and kill people who are trying to work??? Wish more of these b@stards were taken out. Reports are coming in that they attacked police again. Sadly they will probably die as martyrs, they should be thrown in a rubbish heap.

      press.enter.12 - 2012-08-16 17:59

      Just how simple to you want to make the debate - if you want to compare salaries to profits please reflect all operational costs - dont be an idiot or do you think land and capital comes for free . . .

      clive.pops.5 - 2012-08-17 07:32

      They did not die for a salary increase! They died for a union turf war.

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-08-16 17:19

    What would one expect. Don't try flank armed police members. You are only going to come off second best. You can't take pangas and knob kirries to a gun battle.

  • NickvanderLeek - 2012-08-16 17:23

    Sharpville II.

      lucky.luck.98 - 2012-08-16 17:59

      This day must be marked for our history that the minister of the police allow that the people must be killed like that.why the black people are killing each others,if it was the white people that were killed like that will stand still.why blacks are always the one that must do this bad killings while the owner of the mine is white,production is better than humanbeings yoo i blame this anc government.

  • wendetutubalang.wende - 2012-08-16 17:23

    Strike is a constitutional right in this country, but when there are loses of life, the limitation clause need to prevail to ensure that no further loss of life is realized. Maximum force is unavoidable and state of emergency must be declared in that are to safe life.

      spartanx93 - 2012-08-16 17:34

      Yes, it is right but the police also have a right to defend themselves against aggressors.

  • colin.langley - 2012-08-16 17:25

    Come on guys. There is no need for the statements some of you have made. People are people and people got killed today. We all know how expensive South Africa has become! For these men to work for only R4000 a month!...Come on. Mining is a dangerous occupation and no matter what you say, the amount of profit these companies make is shocking!. This world has become selfish and greedy ( this includes union leaders who use rhetoric to stir up trouble, we all know how much money you take from these workers just to belong in a union!). Totally ashamed to be South African right now!

      jeeves.eddings - 2012-08-16 17:31

      No-one is contesting their right to strike. Their right to murder on the other hand...

      joe.irwin.50 - 2012-08-17 04:29

      No it is not Kyle. But they have the right to defend themselves.

  • james.lance.969 - 2012-08-16 17:26

    The police were initially there to just ensure peaceful protests, they never intended to beat, shoot or oppose the protesters. However, the protesters started the violence toward the police and the security guards. I don't blame the police, the rioters dug their own grave. There wasn't ever any need for the protesters to behave like animals, but I guess that it is in their nature to create chaos. Also, the unions should directly carry the blame for this.

  • ad.madock - 2012-08-16 17:28

    Blind leading the blind. Union leaders get fat from members fees and lead their members blindly into the see. These uneducated members took the bullets for the union fat cats.

      lwazi.sibiya.10 - 2012-08-16 17:42

      U re spot on

  • george.michaelides.71 - 2012-08-16 17:32

    Sad Sad Day and time.........we supposed to be the power house of Africa....i dont think so...not to be negative....daars a drol in die drink my oupa used to say........

  • lwazi.sibiya.10 - 2012-08-16 17:39

    It is a sad day indeed, to see a massacre of fellow workers by SAPS. Now can Vavi explain the betrayal of workers by NUM president and if I remember well they couldn't resolve the issue of NUM workers who wanted to join NUMSA

  • - 2012-08-16 17:40

    I hate to say this but rockdrillers who have been doing a good job for ages can not be always be termed 'unskilled'. I remember watching a video where a traffic cop stopped a man and asked for a driving licence. The man quipped, 'ouga, can a piece of paper drive a car?' Of course it was a Nigerian movie, but it reminds me of how narrowly we define 'skill'. On another note, there is an advert that says Anglo gave R572k to each of its workers a years ago (if I can be correct with time). Why the continued loss of blood?

  • vmeiring1 - 2012-08-16 17:45

    Good, shoot the bastards as well as the Unions

  • lwazi.sibiya.10 - 2012-08-16 17:48

    Nathi Mthethwa, what were u say the other day about crowd control? Dream on. Mxm

      elnino.ninog - 2012-08-16 20:32

      This shot to kill thing is not right at all

  • colin.taylor.9883 - 2012-08-16 17:48

    if you look at the picures it reminds me of my time in the Army during the 80's..... its wrong but its right in a different way... you need to be there in that situation to understand both points of view...

  • sycomachinery - 2012-08-16 17:53

    Just what the struggling Platinum industry needs, a 15% cut in production will certainly have a positive effect on the Platinum price, plus think of the huge amount they save on wages. Thank you unions I think I'm going to buy Lonmin shares tomorrow, you should do this more often.

  • refiloe.shikwambana - 2012-08-16 17:59

    U just dnt kill of their own.POLICE

      Watkykj - 2012-08-16 18:18

      Wat u mean ur own eh??

  • lucky.luck.98 - 2012-08-16 18:22

    If Mr President talk to those miners they were going to come down.who is that commader who can'nt wait for several days just like in Impala mines.The leaders of SAPS must be reviewed.YOU DO NOT PROVOKE THE PROTESTERS YOU SIMPLE WAIT UNTIL THEY GET TIRED AND THEY LOST HOPE.

      zanele.msebenzi - 2012-08-16 19:39

      why is the cops shooting and killing mine workers just like that as if they not humans

  • samgaf - 2012-08-16 18:51

    Good news,shut down the mines and let the m%^% fu^^*& starve,Zim here we come

  • jaap.kotze - 2012-08-16 18:57

    Loss of life should allways be very sad. So, why dont I feel sad?

  • moagima - 2012-08-16 20:07

    Africa has been both a blessing and curse.A blessing in that it is mineral rich.But a curse in that it's people are exploited and rarely benefit much from it's riches. Today we saw how human life has been so devalued.The raw minerals are worth more than human lives,they know they can easily replace those labourers. I can only feel for the families who have lost loved ones since the begining of the strike.Was it worth it?I can only imagine what it is like for children and wives today waiting anxiously to find out if their husband or father is still alive.I can only imagine what life will be like for those who have lost breadwinners.Was it worth it? The shareholders of the mine in most probability have never laid foot in Marikana.But I bet it will be business as usual in a few days in Lonmin,the tragic losses will be both burried and forgoten.I only ask,was it worth it?

  • kholwanimasie - 2012-08-17 07:30

    Its just a sad situation and i pray something is done about it before more souls are taken

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