Fourth mine shuts down, govt warns strikers

2012-09-14 18:43

Johannesburg - Seven people were arrested by police outside Aquarius Platinum [JSE:AQP] in Rustenburg on Friday as it became the fourth mine to stop operations in a protracted labour dispute.

The arrests came within hours of Justice Minister Jeff Radebe warning that government would no longer tolerate the violence, threats and intimidation taking place in the mining sector.

In an announcement made in Pretoria, following a meeting of security cluster ministers and other Cabinet members, he announced measures to be put in place to ensure the situation was brought under control.

These included that "illegal gatherings, the carrying of dangerous weapons, and incitement, as well as threats of violence against anyone in the affected areas, will be dealt with accordingly".

Radebe said law enforcement agencies "will not hesitate to arrest those who have been found to have contravened the law".

Earlier a group of protesters had marched from Anglo American Platinum's (Amplats) Blesbok stadium to Aquarius Platinum and demanded that it close.

Mametlwe Sebei, leader of a group which has called itself the Democratic Socialist Movement, told the protesters that all mines in Rustenburg must come to a halt next week.

Sebei said protests were continuing to close all mines in the area and named Samancor, Xstrata, Murray & Roberts, Implats and Amandelbult.

They gave the company 15 minutes to respond.

Shortly after police were seen chasing after protesters.

A police helicopter cornered one of the protesters, who was also being chased by policemen on the ground, and then arrested him. Stun grenades were fired and protesters ran off, clearing the area quickly.

Aquarius, the third platinum mine to be affected, announced that it would suspend operations for the weekend and hoped to recommence on Sunday.

Meanwhile, talks to resolve over a month-long strike at Lonmin [JSE:LON] continued on Friday, as did talks to resolve a week-long strike at Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] KDC west gold mine near Carletonville.

Amplats suspended operations on Wednesday for safety reasons.

The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) convened an urgent national executive committee meeting on Friday to discuss developments in a period which has seen its leaders insulted in public by some striking workers who say they have lost faith in the union.

In a speech, expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema called for the Num leadership to step down and for a national mining strike five days a month.
Lonmin tabled an offer to the striking workers on Thursday night.

It was reportedly a R900 increase, to R5500 a month for entry-level workers, with all other operators being moved up one pay grade.

This was according to Num general secretary Frans Baleni.

Unions said the initial response from workers was a rejection of the offer.

Forty five people have died in events associated with the strike at Lonmin - 34 in a clash with police,

At Gold Fields KDC west mine near Carletonville, 85% of a workforce of 15 000 were on strike and at Lonmin 28 000 employees were affected.

The ruling African National Congress welcomed government's "reflections" on the situation.

"It is the responsibility of our government to contain these isolated events, bring the situation under control and to ensure that order, peace and stability are restored," the ANC said.

It called on government, labour, business and civic society to work together towards a peaceful resolution of disputes.

"We need to recommit ourselves to effective social dialogue and to strive to find a common vision to take us forward," it said.

"We call on the strikers to observe and act in accordance with the rule of law, and to desist from illegal acts, incitement, as well as threats of violence."

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  • juicecard.tshaka - 2012-09-14 18:58

    Heavy handed tactics in labour disputes always prodce undesirable results. Can`t we people learn from the apartheid era?

      Rabbler.Rouser - 2012-09-14 19:25

      If the mining industry stops the government will have much bigger things to worry about. Mass unemployment and reduced tax revenue for starters. And it will affect many other industries that supply the mines. The impact on the economy will be huge.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-09-14 19:50

      Ironic. The Apartheid Era had the same problems - bad, bad, bad people using processes and procedures and laws giving them the right. Today we have wonderful laws and processes and procedures and still bad, bad people all the way thru the system that has brought us to this place.

      henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-09-14 20:13

      This is how the ANC taught the people to be. Now it is backfiring BIG time!!!

      martin.melzer.988 - 2012-09-15 16:41

      This is not merely a labour dispute. This is the use of illegal methods including public violence and common crime to influence a labour dispute.

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-09-14 19:03

    They'll be out on bail by Monday. Too chicken to face the people you have consistently let down year after year after year. And AGAIN putting all the responsibility back on them. Your processes and procedures do not work because democratically elected representatives in all spheres of The Alliance refuse to do their jobs.

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-09-14 19:04

    And Nero fiddled whilst Rome burned!!! Can someone gtow a pair!!!

  • Lucky Prince Masoeu - 2012-09-14 19:19

    Some people in the ANC have lately labeled Malema as a nobody. If that's the case then how come he's having so much influence in so many people around the country? Why are victims calling him to come listen to their problems? What role is the government playing in all of this?

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-09-14 19:31

      Becase JM shows up. Because he says things people like to hear instead of the usual "please be patient" and other standard phrases that finally people have had enough of. Because someone is finally opening people's eyes to the fact that the govt doesn't govern. I don't agree in the least with JM's rhetoric but I do see how he resonates with people who have been left up a creek without a paddle.

      annelene.munro - 2012-09-14 20:09

      Government and ANC top brass ... with elections looming and 'jobs' available, too scared they will lose votes .. politics more important than South Africa ...

      martin.melzer.988 - 2012-09-15 16:43

      There is a great deal of difference between publicity and influence.

  • joe.mangena.1 - 2012-09-14 19:19

    People's power

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-14 19:30

    Well the ANC can start by not stealing tax payers money, by not lending the Royal family of Swaziland our money, by not lending and selling any arms to Mugabe, by not giving money away to Cuba, by arresting all those involved in raping Aurora, get the text books delivered, and get rid of the Blue Light brigades fire the Minister of Police, arrest Shieck and put him in jail where he belongs. Stop serving Johny Walker at state cocktail parties, arrest the secretary of Parliament for misappropriating funds to build a wall, fire the Captain who steered an 8 billion rand submarine into the ocean floor, stop paying for all of Zuma's wife's with tax payers money, actually recall Zuma and fire him immediately stop giving hands out to the Zulu king stop lying in the same bed with Casatu and the leaching communist party. and stop stalling on paying the miners what is due to them... I think the ANC can really help by stepping down, ASAP,....

  • leon.postma.9 - 2012-09-14 19:33

    The fact that government only now calls for a halt on dangerous weapons just proves that they have no control over "their" people. If weapons were prohibited during strikes and protests years ago we would nit have had a massacre a few weeks ago or an Andries Tatane incident months ago!

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-09-14 20:15

      Special permission has to be granted by the commissioner of police for the carrying of traditional weapons at public meetings

  • bbooyse - 2012-09-14 19:38

    It's not good enough - you're only treating the symptoms but ignore the disease. Find out who is masterminding and instigating these strikes.

  • Michael - 2012-09-14 19:46

    Governments has put up measures to dufuse tensions and illegal gatherings at Marikana, the media is already accusing them of using apartheid tactics. Media sucks? Especially 'tvenewschannel'

  • Johnson - 2012-09-14 20:18 - read this - it makes for very good reading

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-09-14 20:20

    Hey ANC this is what you taught the people to do. If you are not happy then make the place ungovernable. Nice when it your problem. I love it!

  • annelene.munro - 2012-09-14 20:53

    The saddest of all, the longer these strikes continue, the more everybody in the country will be hurt, especially the poor. No mining earnings and exports = no cash inflow = no money for wages no exports = balance of payments dips = rand weakens = petrol price increases = price of all goods especially food rises mines are biggest players in the economy - purchases lots of goods, so no mining, no purchases = the places they buy from either have to scale down or close down = more job losses State earns less taxes from mines and strikers not earning money = state revenue decreases - taxes may rise, less increases for government employees pension funds/ra's/unit trusts which usually invest in mines will earn less = lower payouts and lower growth in what you can expect - and what the strikers dont realise .. they are also hurting the goose that lays their monthly eggs ... so soon there will be less eggs and less jobs, and already there are millions of unemployed out there looking for jobs, but how do you get this thru to people who most probably dont read newspapers and are only striking because they were incited?

  • jim.binnie.1 - 2012-09-14 21:12

    This is absolutely the last thing that we need - a huge over-reaction by government after weeks of silence from them as the situation developed. Once more a perfect example of total lack of leadership by Zuma & Co. Sounds like we are rapidly heading back to the era of PW Botha wagging his finger at the world (I am old enough to remember that day). What we now need is a reasoned call for all South Africans in the region to comply with the constitution followed by a message that a state of emergency (martial law) will be applied if compliance with the constitution does not occur. Government PLEASE realise that you are also talking to the International Community now and they do not see government threats as solutions to lack of government problems.

  • jay.ramodiana - 2012-09-15 02:14

    Why the forcing other mines to close implats workers never forced other mines to close down when they were on strike and Lonmin did the same

  • piet.hannibol - 2012-09-15 13:31

    If the mines in Rustenburg stop operating SA will fall flat on it's face. The Gov seems to understand this so lets hope the law will remain the biggest daddy on the block. I think it's an ideal opportunity for this ANC gov to show if it has the balls dealing with crime and violence in SA. Because that is all this is once again - crime and violence from people who want more than they are capable of earning. Not the first time in history.

      martin.melzer.988 - 2012-09-15 16:54


  • denny.cray - 2012-10-09 20:49

    These miners think they are above the law. Like taxi drivers.

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