D-Day for Lonmin workers

D-Day for Lonmin workers

2012-08-20 07:37

Marikana - An ultimatum issued by platinum giant Lonmin [JSE:LON] to workers to end a wildcat strike runs out Monday after the London-listed company ordered employees back to work at a South African mine where police killed 34 people.

Miners however remained defiant after the worst episode of police violence since the apartheid era, which President Jacob Zuma said will be officially mourned for seven days.

Lonmin said the call to staff was "a last opportunity to return to work" at its shut-down Marikana mine where union rivalry escalated into a police crackdown and more bloodshed on Thursday after 10 people died just days earlier.

"Employees could therefore be dismissed if they fail to heed the final ultimatum," warned the world's number three platinum producer.

But miners who first downed tools at the Marikana mine on August 10 pledged to press on with their wage demands, and called the order to return to work "an insult" to colleagues who were gunned down by police.

"Expecting us to go back is like an insult. Many of our friends and colleagues are dead, then they expect us to resume work. Never," said worker Zachariah Mbewu.

"Some are in prison and hospitals. Tomorrow (Monday) we are going back to the mountain (protest site), not underground, unless management gives us what we want."

Lonmin's Monday deadline coincides with the start of a week-long national mourning announced Sunday by Zuma.

Flags will be lowered to half mast and an official day for nationwide memorial services held on Thursday.

The violence at the mine stems from a conflict between the powerful National Union of Mineworkers and the upstart Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which is calling for a tripling of wages.

Thursday's crackdown left 34 dead, 78 wounded and 259 detained, and boosted the death toll to 44 after the 10 earlier deaths which included two police officers.

Workers say they are waiting to hear from mine bosses, whose ultimatum Sunday was an extension of a previous order to return.

Police have claimed self-defence and several probes have been launched, including Zuma announcing a judicial commission of inquiry.

A team of his ministers will also head to Marikana on Monday to "coordinate and lead all support" to grieving families.

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  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-20 07:48

    Who gave them all that brand new spears and pangas. With that at home no wonder so many get killed in an ordinary fight. Could it be a union who armed them.

      Andre - 2012-08-20 08:11

      I have it that NUM issued them with the weapons when they were forced to participate or be killed themselves. The source was a stone-driller who contacted 702 Talk Radio by telephone and was interviewed live on air. There was intent to harm and/or murder the police!

      marc.hugo.75 - 2012-08-20 08:21

      No ways Patricia!! Are they using branded spears and pangas!!!!!!!!!!! "Label brand" traditional weapons!! Now this is going too far.

      keith.roberts.98434 - 2012-08-20 08:28

      Gucci or Yves St Laurent perhaps?

      jonathancfarrell - 2012-08-20 08:51

      Dismiss them all and give the job vacancies to the other millions of South Africans hungry for work!

      cuthbert.murwisi - 2012-08-20 09:03

      Again the workers are the BIGGEST LOSERS. Be careful of power-hungry unions.

      paul.anthony.dawson - 2012-08-20 09:31

      NUM is not the militant union. AMCU is. Cyril Ramaphosa who was the general secretary of NUM is on the Lonmin board of directors. Go and look at their site. So, who do you think the company is in collusion with, whith respect to unions? Do your research. Let me ask a very simple question? What time did the police get to the protest site? I bet if they had woken up and been there early enough, they could have prevented a large crowd from gathering, which is much easier to do, instead of having to disperse one which had formed.

      dnxumalo2 - 2012-08-20 11:23

      hehehe you people like to exagarate.who said something about brand new spears and pangas i dont remember that appearing in the news.spanking new pangas.

  • hudayfah.newman - 2012-08-20 07:51

    I don't think they'll find trouble replacing the murderers. Unemployment in this country is sky high and a lot of people would jump at the opportunity.

      zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-20 07:54

      Which murderers, the police or mine workers?

      emilyjane.elson - 2012-08-20 08:03

      Zwele.. For every action there is a reaction.. It's unfortunate all the death but if you go armed, expect the worst.. The police are human and deserve their lives too. If the miners had not advanced, threateningly, this would not have happened. There are other ways to make and get your point across..

      zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-20 08:14

      I support the police 100% for their self defence, but i just wanted to know who Hudayfah is refering to by \murderers\.

      sekalf.nroc - 2012-08-20 08:23

      he meant murdered!

      hudayfah.newman - 2012-08-20 08:34

      No I meant what I said. Those mineworkers that killed those 10 guys are murderers.

      veldt66 - 2012-08-20 08:37

      Zwelethu demanding pay rise is uneducated? Being payed R3000 is enough working down there in those conditions? I understand the violence aspect was wrong especially against law enforcement, but just answer me on those two questions. I think pandering to the loyal residents of this site is clouding yr judgement.

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-08-20 08:46

      Any pay is better than nothing. If the pay is so bad, leave this sector or use the legal ways to get better pay.

      zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-20 09:27

      @Veldt66, it is uneducated to demand 300% wage increase with an illegal strike and weapons. And R3000 is not enough working under the conditions they are working in. But Lonmin didn't take the horses(mine workers) to the river(the mine) and it didn't force them to drink(work). If they are unsatisfied with their work and pay, they can all be entrepreneurs, take packages all 28 000, register a public company, contribute R10 000 each (overall amount will = R280 million), apply for a loan at one of the BEE funding institute like the IDC. Lonmin will have to close without the workers so the mine workers can buy the mine or mine other platinum that is so in abundance in S. A. There they can earn a lot more than the R12 500 they demand.

      zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-20 09:33

      Forgot to mention that the mine workers are not so driven enough or at all to be entrepreneurs. Someone has to do the thinking for them and that someone is sometimes Lonmin sometimes, like now, the unions

  • zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-20 07:52

    Your strike is illegal, and the way you act with your weapons is illegal, and your demands are uneducated, you're just attracting trouble. Go back to work!! We do understand that you love the attention that you're receiving right now, but you can't feed your families with attention, grow up.

  • rinus.groeneveld.7 - 2012-08-20 08:00

    So you want management to pay you R12,500 pm. You obviously do not understand that there are 5 million unemployed that are willing to do the work at R5,500 pm. Just think for 1 minute and return to work - you are being used as part of a political agenda that has NO regard for you as an individual. NO regard for your family if you lose your job. NO regard for your life if you are swept up by mass hysteria and charge the SAPS with pangas. Wake up!!!

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-20 08:47

      And that there is the main reason why this country will fail, just because we have unemployment and rampant poverty does not mean we must just roll over and accept any old job at any old pay. Please remember that a teacher doesnt risk their lives like police / mine workers / security guards etc do. More mine workers die each year than any other profession. They do deserve a heck of a lot more money, its the Unions that goes about striking in the wrong way, a mass stay away would be better. Just ask yourself how much money Lonmin has lost? 15,000 ounces of Platinum at $1450 per ounce = R174m... We are the only, sort of civilised country that treats our miners like slave labour and pays them a slaves pay! If you think that is acceptable then you need a labotomy.

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-08-20 08:05

    Malema told them to fight on, let's see who they listen to.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-20 08:33

      They, the miners are aligned with AMCU, who are the new union on the block, AMCU is headed up by Joseph Mathunjwa, an opportunist like Malema, they are trying to take over all the unions from NUM, Malema & Mathunjwa are trying to take control of the mineworkers so that come Manguang they can get rid of Zuma . They believe if they can get rid of Zuma, their preferred candidate, Motlanthe, will then become president, let Malema back into the ANC, & implement the radical changes they want, which is nationalisation of the mines, which they have convinced workers will be the silver bullet to solve all their problems. This is my understanding of whats going on. The current 300% salary demand is just an excuse to cause a major breakdown in all mining operations & make the mining industry ungovernable, an ANCYL trait.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-20 08:45

      Who would you listen to, a corrupt president that is friendly with the opposition union that has take its eye off the ball (NUM), or the popularist that stands up & promises you utopia, I have a hunch.

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-20 08:06

    this article sums the story up perfectly, read it ......http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/2012/08/20/news-analysis-marikana-shows-dangers-of-populist-leaders

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-20 08:16

    Looks like Malema & Joseph Mathunjwa from AMCU are cut from the same cloth, both Demogogues expelled from their organizations & now militant intolerant thugs using miners to promote their own popularist agendas. NUM & the ANC have become complacent in their comfortable positions & in this leadership vacuum & lack of service delivery the opportunists have capitalised on the neglected workers.

  • williewow.lekubs - 2012-08-20 08:26

    I am lost of words for the management of Marikana mine to even think of calling for employees to report for work after all what happened on thursday, they should be ashame of themselves to even think of resuming work.

      GregGow1234 - 2012-08-20 08:44

      The job must continue otherwise the mine will close down, then many people will loose their jobs.

      koos.vandermerwe.338 - 2012-08-20 08:48

      Life goes on.

      lila.hearst - 2012-08-20 08:56

      You really are daft. Do you think money grows on trees? How do these people expect to get paid if they don't work? Secondly - everything they get is already for free. Most of them get housing, free water and electricity etc. If they don't like what they're getting paid they can find another job or how about they start their own businesses then they can dictate what they earn and what people can get paid. Entitlement mentality. Don't blame the employer that they decided to have children they can't afford to raise. Anyone with half a brain knows you don't have kids if you can't provide for them.

  • mongwadi - 2012-08-20 08:30

    I feel sorry for those who were shot dead, but attacking cops with pangas and home made weapons #STUPID#

      Small.Mbongwa - 2012-08-20 09:42

      Which Police Officers were attacked on that day? Do you have facts or footage to support that, coz all we saw on the footage were guns blazing and people died>>

  • eriki.masha - 2012-08-20 08:31

    I'm starting to question Lonmin's Management decisions. What are these guys thinking? The poor workers are still in shock and stress about their family and friends. This ultimatum thing will escalate tensions and they might even see a repeat of impala plat.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-20 08:41

      yea, most of the workers will want to go back to work, but the ringleaders will intimidate them, & threaten them, I like the way one of the miners said " we work as a collective" which I sure he meant, " they work collectively to intimidate us"

      theo.schoeman.71 - 2012-08-20 08:53

      @eriki.masha must the mine just continue to loose millions in production. Many people now sympathize with the workers but they are the ones that choose to illegily strike, to kill and attack, to make rediculous wage demands. Fire the lot and give Thousands thats un-employed the opportunity to work.

      buck.ofama.313 - 2012-08-20 10:18

      And how do you suppose the mine will pay the workers salary if there is no production?

  • leigh.mos - 2012-08-20 08:38

    Funny how the article explicitly says Police killed 34 people but only mentions that 10 people died days earlier..... I suppose they must have died from old age? Sick of the one sided reporting on this story

  • Simphiwe - 2012-08-20 08:41


      buck.ofama.313 - 2012-08-20 10:20

      Rather it should be "the Evils of Simplistic minds". U really think those Pangas were for fashion?

  • brionyl.french - 2012-08-20 08:43

    fire them...

  • altusvanzyl - 2012-08-20 08:51

    R12 500 a month?? Wow, then I want R50 000 a month.

      kelvyn.davidson.1 - 2012-08-20 09:11

      @ dnxumalo2 Miners possess no or little skill, we all want in a perfect world to all be rich, or even just have some spare cash, but what you seem to miss is that education is the key to pen doors for earning potential, this is not slavery it is the system, every where in the world there are poor people, this is just not "your " problem, if you had an education and have travelled you would understand this. or are you as with the union management just happy to incite anger? JuJu has one path back into politics, that is through a union, all Cosatu, upper members are politically motivated and connected as are all other union heads, watch this space, the inciting of the masses for self enrichment is going to get worse. its just sad that so many people are still so ignorant to it, including you !

      buck.ofama.313 - 2012-08-20 10:22

      @dnxumalo, because rock drill operators have no skill, even you can operate the drill.

      dnxumalo2 - 2012-08-20 10:25

      yeah for your information i happen to be one of the most educated people on this land but thats none of your business.education does not give me the right to say that other people should spend 15 years in one position without a salary raise.thats ridiculous of you and all your friends here.

  • sibonangaye - 2012-08-20 08:59

    the violent culture in South Africa is still prevalent and Leaders like Malema do not help the situation at all. An insinuation of violence against another human being should be condemned and it has no place in our society. Opportunist like Malema would always say what the people want to hear and not the truth about the situation. The creation of expectations make people to become violent when such are not met. I saw mine-workers running amok towards the police carrying pangas. I was going to do the same if i were a police officer. Unless south Africans, start to condemn such behavior from the masses then we have not seen the last of such incidences.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-20 09:19

      he could have stood up & said, lets stop this violence, lets protest peacefully, lets work together with the ANC, NUM & mine management for a more equitable arrangement where all benefit, lets go back to work & the negotiating table, BUT NO, he said lets fight, lets over thow the ANC Govt, lets take.....this is not a leader, this is a madman, a demagogue, a popularist, that is using others to get what he wants.

      kelvyn.davidson.1 - 2012-08-20 09:24

      Thank you ! We live in a very confused society where the murderous thugs are dished out sympathy when infact they incited violence and wantantley sought out conflict with the police, This subculture of violent protest to get your point across belittles us all as citizens, this is 2012 not 1220. we all know from our history in this country, I do not mean apartheid, Shaka and Dingan ! warring factions, Impi very seldom engage without death.

  • zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-20 09:03

    If 28 000 people contributed R5 500, apply for a loan from one of the BEE funding institutions, they'll have enough to start their own mine/mines where they can earn more than R50 000pm without protest and death, but alas, the thinking man is few in South Africa.

      sekwati.robinson - 2012-08-20 09:08

      28000 miners as owners?..do you know how much it costs to start and run a profitable mine?

      zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-20 10:06

      sekwati.robinson, it is your lack of optimism stopping South Africa from reaching its potential best. Sasol, Vodacom, and facebook are owned by more than 28 000 people after the companies went into an IPO. And with the money the mine workers have contributed plus the loan, they can have enough money for 2nd hand equipment, and they can get excused by the government from the licencing fees and other costs. They can be the first 28 000 employees of the mine, this can be accomplished but i don't think the mine workers will want to make it. I'm am an entrepreneur and being the sort of person that doesn't like to be disappointed by banks, i always find a cheaper way to get something done, i'm speaking from experience ;-)

      dnxumalo2 - 2012-08-20 10:19

      not in the real world my brother.only possible if those people will not eat, dress and wash,pay for transport and food and also send their children to school.

      zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-20 11:00

      Nxumalo. When i started my company and wanted to accomplish a certain thing. I had to learn how to eat less than R10 a day, to do this, i bought 2 big fat cakes for R1, 20c at a shop near Park station called Mr. Chips those fat cakes will fill me up from 7am till about 5pm, i made sure i take 7pm or later train to Soweto because there a packet of fruits will sell for 50cents each and i bought 5 packets, that was my supper. I didn't wear clothing to show off unless i was going somewhere were i needed to make a good first impression. For transport i always walked and used trains and avoided taxis by all means, unless i didn't have a choice. When all this was done i succeeded, not just financially, but i got my experience and sense of accomplishment, nothing can ever stop me.\r\nWe are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world. Nxumalo, that is the real world. Not a world where you force yourself into living below your means. My brother, most of the time we need to make short term sacrifises to live better.

  • emilyjane.elson - 2012-08-20 09:06

    Seems the new MO for wage disputes is to kill, kill, kill! Been said Terblanche was also killed due to a wage dispute.. Nice.

  • vernando.rufftus - 2012-08-20 09:06

    all our opinions are great to read and listen to. but the dead must be barried, the wounded recover and those in pain mourn.and rest of the workers go back to work and honourner their contarcts.then start to engage in a legal way for better pay. but the fact will remain, this is a democratic country will all better ways to engage not violence. Those who feel they earn little must up their game and educate themselves or quit their situation and persue better options than to hold the employer at ransom with their skills. Lonmill must just replace this rock drillers with machines. We all poor at different levels must always strive to make means. so that 4000 is equal to their trade. illegal strikes are not allowed in south africa, police must continue to arrest elligal strikes they are dangerous in society. if they want increase,they must follow proper ways or they will be shot at allways.

  • vernando.rufftus - 2012-08-20 09:09

    The police were right in their action. if we feel to be black is a mistake then we will reap what we saw. people must follow and respect the ways and laws in the land or else bullets will eat them all. first the strike was not legal, two they all believed the criminals who were fooling them including the sangoma and amcu.

  • vernando.rufftus - 2012-08-20 09:10

    Amcu want membership to be rich like Num and make investments. so blood will flow.

  • Shane Loxton - 2012-08-20 09:31

    No one should be taken back until the murderers are pointed out that killed the 10 people prior to the Crowd/Police shootings

  • tshepo.maganedisa - 2012-08-20 09:47

    Let the mines be nationalised - exploiting our people in the name of investors and shareholders must come to an end *whether you like it or not, i dont care*

      buck.ofama.313 - 2012-08-20 10:43

      Oh tshepo, how naive you are! Did Lonmin arm the striking employees? if you dont think for yourself you will always be exploited, in your case by the phony communists who will eventually enrich themselves from this nationalisation.

  • tanya.laurens - 2012-08-20 11:35

    Those guys came with Spears and Pangas to a "peacefull march", They had already killed two police officers and two security guards. Did they think that the police were just gonna stand there and let them kill more of them. I agree with what the p[olice did and they only defended themselves. It was either the police killing them or them killing the police. These guys went there with the intention to kill.

  • samantha.ungerer.1 - 2012-08-20 11:41

    I feel sorry for the people that lost their lives in such a manner, to leave this world with so much hatred and rage, it's sad. Some people where not doing their jobs right in the first place, all of this could have been avoided. The miners demand a 7500 increase, thats just unrealistic, if people had been doing their jobs a settlement would have been reached much sooner. R5500 is a lot of money mostly to someone who has no income. I think a 12% incrase would have avoided a lot of all this. I feel sad to be South-African, on this day goverment uses tragedy to become more powerfull in their rise to nothing.

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