Fired miners promise to fight to the death

2012-10-08 13:32

Johannesburg - A leader for striking miners at Anglo American Platinum mines on Saturday said they would make it difficult for the company to hire new miners after the company fired 12 000 striking workers this week.

Evans Ramokga threatened that Amplats would only hire new employees "over our dead bodies".

"Nobody will come and operate these mines. If there any people we feel must go, it is them, not us," he said, referring to the bosses of Amplats, a subsidiary of the London-listed Anglo Platinum.

The world's top producer of platinum said it fired the workers for failing to attend disciplinary hearings in the aftermath of an unlawful strike that brought its Rustenburg operations to a halt.

And Mpumi Sithole, a spokesperson for Amplats, said on Saturday that the decision to fire the workers is final.

Low work attendance levels

More 20 000 mineworkers at Amplats have been staging a wildcat strike since September 12, demanding R12 500 in take-home pay. Amplats managers said from the start that the strike is unlawful.

On Friday, hours after renewed confrontations between armed police and striking miners on a hill near Amplats' Rustenburg mines, the company moved to dismiss the workers via SMS or e-mail messages.

"Despite the company's repeated calls for employees to return to work, we have continued to experience attendance levels of less than 20%," Amplats said in a statement on Friday.

"Currently four of the company's mining operations in the Rustenburg area have insufficient staff to operate and only essential services are being carried out at those mines."

The labour unrest plaguing South Africa's mining sector started in August when workers at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine staged a wildcat strike that led to violence which left about 46 dead, including a police shooting that killed 34 miners.

That and other violence during the Marikana mine strikes is now the subject of an official inquiry even as unrest spreads, leading to renewed fears of violence.

No end in sight

A union representative in Marikana inquiry was shot and killed on Friday night at his house, the National Union of Mineworkers said on Saturday.

The victim could have been targeted because he was "a key witness" in the inquiry, according to Num spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka.

He said the victim assisted the commission this week when it visited the hill where the miners were killed.

There seems to be no end in sight to the labour unrest, which has spread to coal and iron ore mines as well as to the road freight sector.

Some 20 000 truckers demanding a 22% pay raise are currently staging a strike that threatens the supply of gas and groceries. Negotiations between striking truckers and the Road Freight Association broke down on Thursday.

Zuma criticised

The labour unrest has damaged South Africa's reputation as an investment destination.

South Africa produces 75% of the world's platinum and is the No. 4 chrome producer and the fifth-biggest gold producer.

President Jacob Zuma, the target of criticism by mineworkers who see him as aloof to their concerns, said on Thursday that the violence witnessed in the mining sector was proof that "a climate of constructive social dialogue" needs to be created in the country.

"We should not seek to portray ourselves as a nation that is perpetually fighting," Zuma told the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

  • hudayfah.newman - 2012-10-06 22:43

    Mootie anyone?

      lynn.syme.1 - 2012-10-08 17:17

      To think that a rabbit could sink a country!!

  • Rabbler.Rouser - 2012-10-06 22:53

    Time for Zuma to send in the troops. The damage these mine labour clowns will do to the South African economy is huge. Government has a vested interest in ensuring that the country remains investor friendly. Scaring investors away will result in massive job losses, a slump in tax revneue and negative growth. That is something the government definitely cannot afford.

  • James Cussen - 2012-10-06 22:56

    Any of them threaten anyone with violence - take them out, one by one. Sick of this savage attitude.

  • max.reynecke - 2012-10-06 22:56

    These strikers are making it easy for the mine management to do what they actually wanted to do for a long time and that is to close or to get rid of the mines without any responsibility towards the workers...mark my words.

  • mncedisi.frans - 2012-10-06 23:00

    Education is very important

  • mncedisi.frans - 2012-10-06 23:00

    Education is very important

  • djkutrage - 2012-10-06 23:24

    "It is better to die standing than to live on your knees asijiki

  • rowan.maulson - 2012-10-06 23:31

    No Zuma you knobjockey, we don't need a climate of constructive social dialogue ffs, we need a president and a government that tells these useless cretins that enough is enough, and puts them in their damn place.

  • tonyhooper69 - 2012-10-06 23:32

    Hmmmm. No investors, no Rands... Oh yes then no home and no car... Just saying... Not so clever strikers

  • byron.beedle - 2012-10-06 23:36

    Is it possible that malema a is behind all these problems. As he mentioned that he would make the mines ungovernable . It would also be to his advantage to show the government that he is force to be recognized with they should be careful about prosecuting him. His silence is deafening since his trial, his game plan now might be to work behind the scenes and create havoc?? Just asking??

  • popeye.sailor.1884 - 2012-10-06 23:49

    If death is what they want, give it to them !

  • - 2012-10-06 23:50

    Why is it that striking or protesting people are allowed to carry dangerous weapons. It creates false sense of security and bravado. Time the govt outlaws such, traditional or otherwise!

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-10-06 23:55

    Who is now pathetically stupid loooooozaaa?

  • Sechaba30 - 2012-10-06 23:57

    I support workers 1000%

      lyndon.julius - 2012-10-08 15:53

      You must be one of the masses that prescribe to the Julius Malema school of economic growth.

  • colin.taylor.9883 - 2012-10-07 00:16

    Don't make a promise you can't keep.... There are more than enough of us who are more than willing to help you make that promise come true....

  • OneChristovanZyl - 2012-10-07 00:17

    STOP!!!!! I have been watching these comments on News24 for the last few weeks and it is time to say: ENOUGH is ENOUGH! These comments are NOT helping and are ONLY making things WORSE. These conversations are fueling past grievances and producing current new ones. This situation has the potential to affect EACH and EVERY ONE of US: It is the stability of our country. It is the future of our children. It is the safety of each one of us. It is the cost of living. It is ALREADY affecting each and every one of our lives TODAY, and will already for the foreseeable future. (The FUEL price alone affects each one of us TODAY, which affects our FOOD prices. The list goes on!) It can only get worse if we continue on this “conversational” trend… ENOUGH! STOP: Blaming people is not helping ANYONE. Success helps EVERYONE! STOP: Making accusations is fueling a dangerously hot fire! STOP: Make helpful comments – CONTRIBUTE something which is HELPFUL. STOP: Fix this! STOP: Add VALUE! If we as a SOUTH AFRICAN NATION do not STOP right now, we will not be able to fix this – we will have to start over from scratch. This will affect you, your family and your children for generations to come! STOP! Please. STOP! STOP!!! “Start Teaching Our People”

  • BraTambo - 2012-10-07 00:30

    Anglo Platinum may still order that all operations at Amplats be curtailed until further notice, or be stopped and wound up and all assets to be extracted, to reimburse investors and shareholders, by reason that the mineral resourses cost from South Africa became non viable in relation Global markets. Resulting zero jobs at mines and incomes from mining, plus a knock-on anulment of related suppliers and manufactures and agriculture industries, as a plausable deduction of: Less takers, result less makers. South Africa's whole economy is less than 0,5% of the Global economy, if we over-price ourselves out of the Global market, we are doomed. People here whom think they can drop Anglo and then stupify the Chinese or Russians to take over mining at overpriced demands, have nil intellect.

  • yolanda.haripersad.1 - 2012-10-07 00:44

    Why didn't the miners, who haven't been paid for months by Zuma's son, didn't strike?? They had every reason to!! Why didn't those with secure jobs at a reputable company use internal avenues or the unions to address pay increases???

  • maxndaba - 2012-10-07 01:01

    "South Africa produces 75% of the world's platinum and is the No. 4 chrome producer and the fifth-biggest gold producer", but you cannot tell.

  • charmaine.rowlands - 2012-10-07 01:39

    the most entertaining part of this thread is "kleo.dabelsteinvuckovic.5 " Hasn't got a clue!! Anarchy is hardly the way to settle disputes. Wildcat strikes are illegal in our country. A call to return to work which was ignored is grounds for immediate dismissal! Threatening the lives of innocents is tantamount to a call to "war". Fabulous for the economy of a country that can barely keep its head above water due to corruption of biblical proportions!

  • ivan.goodman.77 - 2012-10-07 01:40

    Let's see who has the last laugh,fire 12000 and hire new workers where and when ? Come on who are they fooling. Mine management think that by firing workers they are going to stop the strikes from spreading to other mines too late,they did not think that the so called uneducated can stand together and not be threatened by the nine owners.

  • lionel.defrontignac - 2012-10-07 02:34

    Time to go into liquidation - sell the assets to the Chinese, and let them take over - they will bring their own workers, like they did in Zambia - bye bye NUM and COSATU

  • kennyhubbard - 2012-10-07 02:36

    Simple.....1 striker, 1 bullet. Send in the army/police and give them their wish.

  • arthur.grace - 2012-10-07 02:47

    Good for them! I'm also tired of these rich cats... It's not your land!

  • arthur.grace - 2012-10-07 03:10

    The blood, loss of lives, sweat, tears, dry bread, no medical, no hospitals, no sanitation, no privacy, no hot water, no light, 20 years of living like a rat, kids with a sore tummy, a tired but understanding mother, a filthy toilet, a dog you promised your first born, blankets burnt by a knocked over stove, the smell of no tomorrow?

  • mlulami.dike - 2012-10-07 04:12

    That's a gud spirit gys,you have to fight 2gether as a team a never turn back gys...eyamadoda ayipheli...Ningajiki neeeks!!!

  • ppisciotta - 2012-10-07 04:20


  • rebecca.pooe - 2012-10-07 05:18

    The capitalist should have sat down and negotiated a better salary and living conditions with the miners, Anglo owes South Africans that much, if they wont profit from improving the lifes of South Africans working in the mines while they live like kings in England than they can footsek out of this country, Africa has been to kind.

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-10-07 05:22

    We had to import indian and Chinese labor before, we can do it again. They will work happily for the current wages. We may need the army and yes some might get shot, pangas, spears and knobkirries are no match for assault rifles, they learnt that at Marikana but seem to need to learn it again. Demanding three times your wage and then threatening violence if you don't get your way? This is extortion and if this is what the unions are promoting they she making a big mistake.

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-10-07 05:26

    Typical..intimidation is used by stupid who don't want to work preventing those who want to work ! Without intimidation stupid can't function !! That's why stupid and poor go hand in hand !!!!

  • amelda.davies - 2012-10-07 05:40

    Silence! I'll kill you!

  • Francois Joubert - 2012-10-07 05:55

    Is it Anarchy i smell? Yes its SA flowing burning up!

  • thunder.clap.587 - 2012-10-07 06:00

    Why don't they jus close the operation.

  • Francois Joubert - 2012-10-07 06:19

    Our whole economy is flirting with Zim

  • punungwe - 2012-10-07 06:21

    I a group of people murder 11 people and not one of them is arrested and charged. I am not talking about stunt charges of charging everyone you can see, from days later, by association. By now the police should have found out critical details like who delivered the fatal blow, how and when and specifically charged those individuals publicly, not the people who were rounded up after police had shot miners. Right now the message being send by the police and government is that murder is an acceptable part of the dispute resolution process, and if you kill someone while taking part in a strike it will all be swept under the carpet.

  • roy.wadhams.1 - 2012-10-07 06:23

    SHOOT the bastards if they interfere in any process that the mine is contemplating. The country is losing millions and I cannot understand why the ANC does not call in the army etc because the less money the mines make the less the ANC and cadres can steal and enrich themselves.

  • Francois Joubert - 2012-10-07 06:34

    Our natural resources is the only reason 4 us being. If tht is halted, a domino affect happens an so apparently 1 strike leads 2 another,.

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-10-07 06:42

    They won't hold out, they'll go back, if the mine will have them.

  • anita.grant.526 - 2012-10-07 06:43

    Good for amplats. How can workers prescribe to management and demand ridiculous wages? Some have limited training.

  • mc.segal.5 - 2012-10-07 06:45

    I am not a brain surgeon because I am not the right material for that job. I am in another trade/prfession to which I am suited. I therefore can do my job well. This guy mentioned needs to go. Please ANC give the job to somebody who can do it properly. If it must be a cadre I am sure that you Guys can find at least one competant one.Otherwise get out of the Kitchen.It's on Fire already.

  • wcarnot - 2012-10-07 06:46

    I hate stupid scare tactics being employed by Anglo to the situation. It goes without saying that this is the most ridiculous thing ever uttered by someone who has a brain."Fire 12000 people"

  • beverly.young3 - 2012-10-07 06:46

    I have questions: 1. If, I when I was in business, wanted to fire anyone, it was a HUGE undertaking. Nevermind if they stole, didnt come to work etc. CCMA and a hoard of officials ne. Employing anyone, was not unlike a marriage. You simply couldnt divorce them, without bank-breaking payouts, even if they were guilty. Look, even if a business goes bust, the owners are still responsile for the wages.... OKAY, so now the mines can fire and there are no consequences other than riots? Where are the gazillions of forms,the retrenchments packages, notice pay, holiday pay etc? 2. The closing of mines, the riots, is in my mind incorrectly reported in the media. The less of the minerals, the higher the price? Investors leaving us? never...those are scare tactics. 3. Lastly, trade unions almost broke England all those years did they solve that?

  • Andre - 2012-10-07 06:46

    I hope the world can see what happens when their stooges try to run a once working country. This is called anarchy!

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-10-07 06:52

    We have a very expensive and unproductive labour force here compared to china for example. If we plan to make it more expensive then we will work our way out of global markets for our products. We have already seen this in the garment industry. Virtually all our clothes shoes etc are imported. Why? Cause we are not competitive. When mines become marginal or unprofitable they close. The unions are like a cancer killing the host that feeds them.

  • anita.grant.526 - 2012-10-07 06:53

    Forget the workers and mechanise the mine.

  • Bafana Joseph - 2012-10-07 07:01

    dis country will b the same as Zimbabwe because of Jacob Zuma's greedy government

  • matthew.patrick.925 - 2012-10-07 07:10

    Kleo, after reading your comments on this forum it seems you counter with baseless, subjective arguments without providing any facts or statistics. You also seem to make assumptions and generalisations based one-sided, small-minded views that lack any rationale. Your world must be a very frustrating, 2-dimensional place. Or you be a troll

  • Brian Dorning - 2012-10-07 07:15

    Looks like we will join the list of 'has-been' countries in Africa. Why are Africans generally speaking such idiots? Unions are promising miners things that cannot be delivered, its not sustainable!

  • robin.stobbs.9 - 2012-10-07 07:15

    Having a job is NOT a right - it's a privilege one must earn. Having a job doesn't mean you get paid for sitting on your bum (= toytoying) - having a job means you get remunerated for the WORK you do!

  • trevor.pietersen.3 - 2012-10-07 07:15

    Why Zoom Zuum so quiet???? what he doing???