Cosatu calls for end to mine violence

2012-10-21 08:03

Johannesburg - Cosatu has called on police to stop the violence surrounding the recent strikes in the country's mines, a radio station reported Sunday.

"We called the minister of safety and security to ensure that police improve their intelligence capacity in order to get to the bottom of this wave of violence, intimidation and killing of shop stewards," Zwelinzima Vavi, secretary general of the Cosatu was quoted as saying on Saturday night on the sidelines of a meeting of bankers.

Four staff members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM),the main constituent of Cosatu, have been murdered since the strikes in mines began in August, he said.

He said that of 51 people killed - a figure that differs from the police total - 22 were NUM members.

Some of these victims were among the 34 miners shot and killed by police at the platinum mine at Marikana in the north of the country during a wildcat strike not backed by the union.

Vavi said in a speech on Saturday night he had himself been attacked by stone-throwers on Friday during a visit to a strike-hit gold mine at Klerksdorp in the centre of the country with NUM.

Since early August South Africa has been hit by a series of wildcat strikes which started in Marikana before spreading to gold, chrome, diamond and coal mines.

The strikers want large pay rises and dispute the authority of the NUM, the main union, which they accuse of being remote from the membership and too close to the mine owners and government.

Strike committees that have broken free form the control of the traditional unions and now trying to coordinate their activities under the aegis of a small far-left political party, the Democratic Socialist Movement and plan a demonstration in Pretoria on November 7.

The NUM and Cosatu plan to riposte with a big rally on October 27 atRustenburg in the north, the main mining town near Marikana.