Marikana miners refuse peace pact

2012-09-05 18:47

Rustenburg - Striking workers at Lonmin's Marikana mine, in the North West, on Wednesday rejected the notion of a peace pact until their demands were met.

"We don't want to hear anything about a peace accord. We want R12 500 and the closing down of that shaft," worker representative Xolani Nzuza told the miners after talks with management.

He was addressing them in a field opposite the mine after the protesters returned from a march to the company's mine in Karee.

Nzuza said until Lonmin closed the K3 shaft, where most of the mine's operations took place, they would not leave. The protesters were told to go home for a few hours and gather in the field later on Wednesday night.

Death threats

Earlier, the marchers threatened to kill Lonmin management unless it stopped operations at the platinum mine.

The strikers, carrying knobkerries, sticks, and iron rods, pushed their way through police barricades as they marched more than 5km through Marikana to the Karee mine.

While they marched, they sang: "We died because of [President Jacob] Zuma. [UDM leader Bantu] Holomisa please come and rescue us."

They also carried placards bearing pictures of their dead colleagues - mostly of Mgcineni Noki.

Noki, 30, nicknamed "Mambush" after former Mamelodi Sundowns player Daniel "Mambush" Mudau, would be the last of the miners killed at Marikana to be buried. The funeral would be held at his home village Mqanduli, outside Mthatha, at the weekend.

Noki and 33 other miners were killed on August 16 when police fired on a group of protesters near the mine. Another 10 people were killed in the preceding week, including two policemen and two security guards.

'Viva R12 500. Viva'

"We called him Mambush because of his soccer skills. He died for our cause," said Noki's friend Xolani Nzuza.

"He never backed down or lost hope. He believed that we will get what we are fighting [for] as long as we do not lose hope."

AP reported earlier that Noki was shot in the foot on August 16 and was taken to the Andrew Saffy hospital, which is owned by Lonmin.

"Police then went to the hospital and dragged him away. They beat him up and they killed him. We found him in the mortuary," Xolani Mzuzu, a striking miner, told The Associated Press.

On their way to the Karee mine on Wednesday, the miners passed the Karee West informal settlement. Its residents cheered in support. Men whistled, women ululated, and they shouted: "Viva R12 500. Viva".

The police took up position about 500 metres from the mine's entrance gate, and kept a close watch. Two helicopters circled overhead.

Central Methodist Church Bishop Paul Verryn urged police to allow the workers' representatives to speak to management.

Five representatives of the workers told mine manager Jan Thirion that management had Wednesday and Thursday to close the mine's K3 shaft, or they would end up dead and the mine would be burnt down.


Thirion, who arrived at the gate escorted by two bodyguards, told the representatives to go back to the negotiating table and sign the peace accord.

"Violence doesn't solve anything. It is not in anyone's interest."

Afterwards, Verryn said mine management's approach was obscene. They should have allowed the representatives into the mine for talks, instead of speaking to them through a gate.

"Until the [workers' living and wage] situation changes, there won't be peace."

Workers had been on strike for the past three weeks, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.

On Tuesday, about 200 mineworkers met at the Karee mine's shaft 30, and tried to get their colleagues to stop working. Another march was then planned for Wednesday morning.

Police in armoured vehicles kept an eye on the Nkaneng squatter camp at Wonderkop, near the Marikana mine.

Talks between worker representatives, unions, the labour department, and management resumed in Rustenburg on Wednesday.

  • christelle.james.7 - 2012-09-05 18:22

    Oh dear - now Holomisa is their saviour - Im sorry, but if the above is their attitude, they have to face the consequences!

  • danny.zulu.79 - 2012-09-05 18:24

    Viva economic freedom viva.

  • danny.zulu.79 - 2012-09-05 18:24

    Viva economic freedom viva.

      keith.roberts.98434 - 2012-09-06 08:44

      Viva starvation viva.

  • ntsunyane.frederick - 2012-09-05 18:25

    Money first peace later!!!.I think life of a person is important than money.

  • robert.doyle.712 - 2012-09-05 18:26

    Zoombabwe here we come.

      blou.johnny - 2012-09-06 00:26

      ....Zimboonwe, here we come...

  • gert.vanniekerk - 2012-09-05 19:56

    As a qualified aircraft engineer you take a hell of a lot responsibilities you sometimes don't even get that type of salary. So wake up and stop being lazy or get somebody that want to work.

  • Stephen Loate - 2012-09-05 20:59

    Only someone who is home n not part of these affected miner would speak so cheap!!! this miners are only asking for what is a living wage!!!

      sakhile.m.masango - 2012-09-05 23:06

      R12500? As in R12500? Like realy now? How much are they currently earning?

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-05 23:24

    Since when must a peace accord be signed when there is no war being fought??? This is a labour dispute and Lonmin needs to get over themselves and settle the deal with the workers. They have caused the worst labour relations disaster this side of the new century, something that was totally avoidable from the start... Now pay the workers their every demand and the CEO's just have to settle for less bonuses at the end of the year, and investors less profit margins.... Klaar gepraat, I stand with my fellow South Africans, who operate the 'frontline' of our economy. South Africa is 'gat-vol' of this Profit before the lives of people and our society. Lonmin stop stalling, or get out of South Africa. the trouble your mining has caused is not worth a single dime. Your economists, say that it creates jobs, brings in investment, important stake holders.blah,blah blah! We only see strikes, shack dwellers, exploitation, we see more poverty, more than before, we see rural communities uprooted to man your rock faces we see cheap migrant work policies enforced by unscrupulous international companies, we see death and more death, all across Africa for what? Nothing! Your investor promises amount to nothing but empty holes in the ground, workers laid off when they are to old to continue digging, retrenched when annual salary increases can be replaced by fresh blood sourced from the rural poor, or neighboring states. Time for change, or get out of SA!

      theo.reinecke.9 - 2012-09-06 01:25

      Dear Glen... You are probably not a business owner? Besides that, do you perhaps understand what will actually happen if the mine just paid the R12.5k? The moment the miners threaten to take the lives of other people, it isn't JUST a labour dispute... Now you have gone from dealing with protestors, to dealing with criminals...and would you like your workers to threaten your life, or those of your family? Also... Would you welcome back a worker who said that he or she would kill you? You go on about what "we see", have you considered that the reason that this is all you see is because you do not know where to look? The mine has been in financial trouble for some time now and it is currently running at a loss. That pretty much means that there simply isn't any money. You talk about poverty and shack dwellers, amongst other things... Do you know that EACH miner ACCEPTED the initial offer that was placed before them when they were employed? Did you perhaps consider that this was an AGREEMENT. These people were not forced to work there, they chose to work there. Would you agree that people need to take responsibility for their own decisions? So if you have 8 children while knowing that you only earn R4000pm (Which I highly doubt they are receiving), is that not poor decision making and family planning on your part or would you consider it my fault?

      theo.reinecke.9 - 2012-09-06 01:39

      Sorry, I ran out of space. So I will continue. You talk about the money trickling down to local businesses and and and... Have you considered the principle that if one cannot manage R4000 what would make you thing one could manage R12500? Have you ever played a card game such as Poker? Assuming that you have, when you get dealt a hand... do you play it or do you protest and demand that you get the same hand as the best hand in that round? No, you play the hand you dealt. By making good decision making and a bit of luck, a losing hand can become a winning hand. The issue I have is that you have no idea of how an economy works, but not to worry, you are not alone... There are thousands of miners who also do not know how it works. We actually need these companies, more than they need us. You mentioned old people being sacked? With all due respect, you can only work for so long. If you have worked for 60years and you still haven't made provision for retirement... Is that not your own fault? Also, if you owned a company and some of your workers were 80+, would you not hire younger help to improve production? Besides, mining is done with machines nowadays... Not with a "hand tools", much easier than 10y ago... I wouldn't called if investor promises as it is actually political promises... The issue with South Africa is that we blame everyone but ourselves. Please accept my apologies, but if you really think companies like Lonmin can bugger off.. You are in a world of wrong.

      theo.reinecke.9 - 2012-09-06 01:43

      Please accept my apologies for my typos. It has been a long day at the investment firm where I work almost 100+ hours a week. Nowadays,trying to convince investors that South Africa has fantastic potential is a tough job...

  • chaapo.sithole - 2012-09-05 23:51

    Simple solution-if you cannot guarantee the safety of the sane because of the threats from the insane, close the mine. After they are hungry, sanity will return.

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-06 00:24

      @ chaapo the problem if you have not noticed is that even when the mine is open, the miners and their families remain hungry, Remain hungry while you work, 12 hr shifts under ground...that is insanity. So yes close the mines stop this insanity or become sane and make the deal with the workers already, it is still a good deal.

  • abrammothothi.mamabolo - 2012-09-07 14:35

    AP reported earlier that Noki was shot in the foot on August 16 and was taken to the Andrew Saffy hospital, which is owned by Lonmin. "Police then went to the hospital and dragged him away. They beat him up and they killed him. We found him in the mortuary," Xolani Mzuzu, a striking miner, told The Associated Press

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