Zuma: Strikes not linked to inequality

2012-09-27 09:14

New York - President Jacob Zuma says the mining unrest in his country that captured international attention following the police killing of 34 striking miners will be resolved through negotiation and is not a symptom of the pressing inequalities brimming to the surface nearly 20 years after the end of apartheid.

Zuma told The Associated Press in an interview on Wednesday that the violence at the Lonmin [JSE:LON] platinum mine in Marikana should not be viewed as "the kind of incident that will be a common occurrence in South Africa, because it's not."

"I know that some people feel that the picture was very bad - which is absolutely true - that maybe some people say this may be reminding us of the old days. But the difference is that during the apartheid system, where these kind of occurrences were very often, you had a wrong system which was a violent system," Zuma said.

"This time we have a democratic country with a very clear constitution, where the circumstances are totally different than what it was during the apartheid days and you cannot therefore today think that this kind of action will happen again because we have got checks and balances in our democracy."

The trouble at the Lonmin mine began on August 10 and ended up with 45 people dead. On August 16 police opened fire on demonstrating strikers killing 34 of them and wounding 78 in the worst state violence since apartheid ended in 1994. It traumatised the nation of 48 million, raising questions about the how much the poorest of the poor have benefited since the end of white rule.

While bloody 5-week strike at the Lonmin mine was resolved with workers gaining as much as 22% in pay hikes, strikes have now spread to other, mostly gold, mines around the country and workers are increasingly rejecting their own unions and choosing their own representatives to press demands directly with mining companies.

"What you see in other mines was, in fact, influenced by this particular strike and it has also been influenced by the manner in which the resolution has been undertaken, whereas the unions that were in the forefront in this case because of the circumstances were not necessarily in the forefront. So the workers, the churches everybody was participating in this and precisely because of what had happened I think you then had a kind of resolution that was taken that has influenced some other miners to go on strike," said Zuma, calling those strikes "illegal."

But he said he believed these new strikes would, like the Marikana strike, be resolved through negotiation and that would happen rather soon.

The strikes do pose a particularly thorny problem for Zuma, raising questions about his leadership just as he prepares for a crucial government party congress in December which will decide whether he gets another term as leader of Africa's richest economy.

Despite promises by the ANC to redress the inequalities that remain in the wake of apartheid, the country has become the most unequal nation on Earth with only a handful of black billionaires joining a small white elite which continues to control the economy dominated by mineral resources and agriculture.

Zuma, however, denied the strikes revealed the startling inequalities that remain in post-apartheid South Africa, saying it was a longstanding problem that the government was working hard to address.

"From our point of view, whilst the inequalities are there we are dealing with them," Zuma said. "We are aware that it is a problem but it's not a problem that has arisen now. We are dealing with what has happened the legacy of apartheid and I think we've moved very far to address those kinds of questions."

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  • matshobana.siziba - 2012-09-27 09:27

    Racism, Tribalism, Ignorance (convenient-ignorance) and Greed are threatening factors in current politics. Do you agree? Thats today's discussion on like the page and let your voice be heard.

  • heathway.master - 2012-09-27 09:27

    Well at least one the most unexplained phrases "Economic Freedom" as so favoured by Malema has finally been spelt out to me by call INS on local radio stations. It stands for Nationalization of all the countries mines and industries with no compensation, taking over all commercial farms with no compensation, and the complete re-distribution of all wealth from the rich to the poor. Truly magnificent Malema with you tremendous foresight, and the best of luck once you have produced a South Africa true to your messiah and godly like vision. You are truly a man of the times, and will always be remembered for the salvation of SA and the creator of “Economic Freedom” for the oppressed masses. A road to everlasting wealth and privilege based on the “Give me for nothing and zero effort” principle.

      sandy.langenstrass - 2012-09-27 10:14

      @heathway....the scary part is they believe this solution is the answer to all their problems.

  • jan.human - 2012-09-27 09:28

    Eish..... Apartheid will still get the blame in 2210..... It is just plain greediness....When are these brainless people going to realise that everybody CANNOT be equal... There will ALWAYS be the worker class... the poor.... the rich....If you want to be rich.... STUDY, get off your lazy bum and WORK for it!!

  • osmaseko - 2012-09-27 09:34

    President Zuma, stop shifting blame but rather lead. How on earth can you say this was not caused by inequalities? As South Africans we know first hand this fact, well you may not see it because you are living in a glass house. So Mr. please comeup with new ways to address the inequality issues and stop waiting for chruch leaders to do Governments job....rather step down and let someone who wants to lead to do so.

      morris.khunou - 2012-09-27 09:58

      We are led by the blind! - 2012-09-27 10:23

      No - we are led by the terminally stupid...

  • tshepo.maganedisa - 2012-09-27 09:38

    Close the gap between the rich and poor and come back to us with a proper report for now you are just talking dougnuts (seeing that you in New York)

      claudia.meads - 2012-09-27 12:29

      tshepo.maganedisa, Lets talk USA versus Africa - seeing you brought up the notion. The GDP/capita for the USA = US$48,368.00 , Zimbabwe = US$487-00. That is almost a 100 x multiple. The average household incomes of the two countries have an even greater "gap". The "gap" between rich and poor is far beyond the aptitude of a cattle-herder that has never had any formal schooling - it is something as inherent as the laws of nature. So why do you not tell us what you will do (in our lifetimes I have to deduct), what nature could not manage in 4 Billion years..?

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-09-27 09:40

    If lying was an art, Zuma would be world famous.

  • beki.khumalo - 2012-09-27 09:52

    I wonder whether when Zuma denies issues such as the link between the strikes and inequality, does he truly believe in his argument. Hopefully he doesn't honestly believe in what he says, but is merely playing politics. There's no doubt to me that if the miners were enjoying the fruits of this democracy they wouldn't have turned into a violent strike. Those people are deep in poverty, they live in shacks without even the most basic of services. Yet they see, daily, on the television and on news papers comrades in lavish lifestyles. Those are inequalities right there, enough to anger and drive the poor to violence just to be heard! The poor are not really concerned much about race, whether 'whites people are living comfortably while they suffer.' They are concerned about seeing politiacians, whom they voted into power digging them deeper into poverty. And for Zuma to deny the level of inequality since the advent of democracy is a reflection of how much he's is out of touch with reality. A few years ago he(Zuma) said we should stop blaming apartheid, yet today he quickly runs to apartheid for defence. Does he really deserve a second term? For a man who was voted into power because he claimed the poor had been neglected by the Mbeki administration, how much has he done for the poor that put him in that sit?

  • musawenkosi.mvubu - 2012-09-27 09:54

    But the difference is that during the apartheid system, where these kind of occurrences were very often, you had a wrong system which was a violent system,\ Zuma said. Mr. Hounarable President we know including you that people don't just wake up and declare strike, they take time, want to talk to who ever would listen. But because your alliance member NUM through Cosatu has lost touch with the workers like your party the ANC. We woke up to the diabolic and very poignant situation which reminded us the past.

  • mothakge - 2012-09-27 09:55

    When it comes to addressing the masses and International Delegates on international Platforms, Mr Thabo Mbeki is amongst the best, this Zuma administration is always in denial of everything...its is happening in our communities daily, burning tyres and baricading main roads and torching Council properties and he says it will not happen again and again, does it have to be truck drivers or miners?Its happening daily and you still dont know that it's happening.....Come Monday(1st October) comrades and chief's please help us get rid of Zuma!I am in position to vote in Mangaung, please help!

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-09-27 09:55

    Maybe Zuma needs to listen to the strikers before he opens his mouth. They are concerned that management give themselves sometimes obscene bonuses and increases while they live in squalour and can barely feed their families. If that is not inequality, then what is? Government ministers are getting regular increases and this is just about guaranteed. Some workers are not getting increases to keep up with inflation. Zuma and his government are far removed from the realities of poverty that the majority are faced with. I urge the majority to remember this slap in the face from the president at the next election.

      Notrax123 - 2012-09-27 11:22

      Well said. What about corrupt officials being given millions of rand, as a Golden Hanshake, simply to make them step down from their post.

  • heathway.master - 2012-09-27 09:56

    The countries political opportunist, and trade unions militant attitudes to justify the millions upon millions of membership fees they collect, is what I regard as the main trigger and promoter of all the labour unrest we are seeing at present. Any employment is far more preferable to no employment at all. The hero and saviour of the masses Malema , is made out to be the squeakiest clean of them all, yet he has no honesty, ethics, or a single decent human quality. He is the pig feeding off all the scraps thrown down by overfull politicians. A man who failed woodwork class has accumulated more than 60 million in his private trust account through fraud, corruption, money laundering, tender kickbacks and every imaginable dishonest and illegal practice. Malema and other political activitists and the trade unions are busy destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs, while following their stated objective as defenders of the oppressed. The masses unfortunately are going to tread the road of mass poverty and mass unemployment by their unmitigated stupidity, and political and economic naivety. Once the poverty bites, then it will obviously be every other citizen’s fault, as well as Apartheids fault off-course, and never ever the short sightedness, greed and entitlement attitude of the ignorant masses.

  • carlos.carbalo.5 - 2012-09-27 09:57

    JZ jou dik kop kan nie dink nie

  • brawt.transformation - 2012-09-27 09:57

    Really Mr President? Really. Some of the statements Zuma makes does not make any sense. Can an analyst like @ChrisHart or something explain to us how it is better that such “bloodbath strikes” are occurring in a democracy instead of during apartheid? Is it not actually worse? Our people need to let go of the apartheid card euphoria. for millions of South African's it is fast becoming the race card of the 21st century. SMH at our president for this statement: "I know that some people feel that the picture was very bad - which is absolutely true - that maybe some people say this may be reminding us of the old days. But the difference is that during the apartheid system, where these kind of occurrences were very often, you had a wrong system which was a violent system.” Mr President, in case you didn’t know. The strikes have been violent. SMH at out President this morning.

  • wesley.bischoff - 2012-09-27 09:57

    Inequalities that the ANC still perpetuates to this day, through AA and BBBEE Empty promises of a better life for all, whilst ANC cadres live in luxury.

  • Cameron1645 - 2012-09-27 10:04

    transformation and Apartheid his two favorite words for all of time!

  • andile.mali.73 - 2012-09-27 10:08

    Hayi man!!! is Zuma saying that the strike was just for fun if he says its underpinnings was not inequality...This guy must just pack up and go to Enkandla...Enough is enough!!!

  • vusik1 - 2012-09-27 10:19

    How can this fool of a President denies the truth while the truth is in black and white maar??!!

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-09-27 10:22

    Mate, you're so out of touch with reality......... I can understand you lying to the international community to allay fears, but sad truth is you really believe this bollocks. Kind of like your understanding of democracy..... of and as for this pearl..... "the kind of incident that will be a common occurrence in South Africa, because it's not." Have you seen the strikes lately? Hell, not even lately, just look at the army strike a while back, or the security guard strike, or the municipal workers strike. It's a very very real and regular occurrence!

  • Notrax123 - 2012-09-27 10:32

    "only a handful of black billionaires joining a small white elite which continues to control the economy dominated by mineral resources and agriculture." How out of touch can you be, is this the result of having to deal with PMS 6 times a month? What do you imply? that all whites are millionairs? At present the whites are in a better situation only because the breadwinners had a better education, as more and more whites go through the crappy education system instilled by the ANC policies, so to will they join their fellow black South Africans as the 'inequalty group'. This is true for all South Africans, reduce the passmark in education and you ultimately reduce the ability of people to lead successful lives. Dear Mr President, the mines in South Africa have major black South African shareholders who, just as all greedy capitalists, want a large return on investment. This can only happen by inumerating the workers with less than they could be enumerated. The upto 22% increase is proof that the Lonmin mine can afford to pay their workers better, why have they failed to do so in the past?. Blame it on apartheid, juju with a 'major' in woodwork - standard 4 level - can become a millionare???? that is all the proof you need that it is corruption that is causing the inequalties in this country. I suppose it is hard to see past the speck in your own eye. your protectors that helped insure that you did not go to prison and backed you for president are now turning on you, why??

  • majwarha.balakisi - 2012-09-27 10:44

    To be in the leadership of the ANC today means economic freedom. You people have no idea how this is destroying our organization. Zuma is payed almost 3 million a year and he doesn't spend a cent out of that. The miners get less than 60 thousand a year and their have to feed and cloth their children and their extended family members.

  • Kalari - 2012-09-27 10:52

    He can say what he like to but for people who think the reality is clear. The anc do not have the capacity to govern. Merely a change of president and a new leadership will not change anything. So whatever happen in Bloemfontein nothing positive will happen for the country Just a new set of corrupts who will look after themselves.

  • unathi.l.menze - 2012-09-27 11:14

    Our president must be high on something, how can he make such statements!

      watsongeorgejan - 2012-09-27 11:38

      That's the detriment of lack of formal education. The only time Zuma sounds somewhat coherent is when he reads from a prepared speech. In interviews he has to come up with spontaneous opinions and that is just beyond him 'cause he can't make educated guesses. Remember just recently he stood up in parliament and told the opposition that they (ANC) had more rights than the rest of them. So you wonder why we're in such a fix when we have a leader that's so out of touch with reality. Anyway SA got what it bargained for.

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-09-27 11:27

    When those who continually blame apartheid for their failures, wake up one day and realize that they have only themselves to blame for not taking the liberty and to use it to their advantage but it is far easier to blame things on the past than to admit that they have made mistakes. Are they still going to blame apartheid 100 years down the line. When are they going to take responsibility. Yes, the current government has done some good, all is not bad, but they could in 18 years have done a heck of a lot more. I see, that they are too busy with themselves and not being experienced enough to handle these large portfolios they have been fallen down. One corrupt cadre corrupts another and now the whole bang shoot of them are corrupt. How are you going to stop that, get them all out. Thats what you do when cancer strikes, you cut it all out and even then it sometimes finds its way back. We need nation building, not nation breaking down. Hatred will not solve anybodies problems it will create even more.

  • mlungisi.kunene - 2012-09-27 11:42

    I do not agree with you Mr President!!!!! these people are no striking just for the sake of it, 34 people would not have died for the pleasure of engaging a strike action. There is gross inequality mushrooms of squatters littered around,high illiteracy rate, we still have school under trees, poor water and sanitation and high unemployment.

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-09-27 11:45

    someone at news24 has NO sense of humour!

  • brian.ocinneide.7 - 2012-09-27 11:45

    Pull the other leg, Jacob, it has got bells on it.

  • vlammie.pilot - 2012-09-27 12:12

    No tata, back in the good old days we dealt with this barbaric behaviour your black brothers are causing. Now it is YOUR problem, you deal with it.

  • willy.josephs - 2012-09-27 12:27

    Lmao i cant help but laugh you know,SAs thats what you get for forcing a moron who only thinks with his ''mshini wakhe/dick'' on the most demanding,challenging and important job in the land on our throats when we cried and begged you not to!! People deserve the leaders they choose and unfortunately they chose this ones and therefore they must just enjoy the ride......i'm telling you now,they may strike,kill,torch each other and hurl insults however come election time they are going to return the same people un power mark my words!!! Change of leadership in Mangaung is means nothing because the cancer is in the party...

  • james.hurley.5249 - 2012-09-27 12:36

    simple solution - vote DA (as if Malema would be better - he's even less intelligent than Zuma). On the other hand, the public protector would make a fantastic president.

  • Bfoq.Za - 2012-09-27 12:46

    Oh Dorothy, just click your heels 3 times and you'll wake up in your own distorted and corrupt reality!\r\nFact: the people in South Africa that does the work, deliver the goods are underpaid! The fat cats at the top? What do they actually contribute? Case and point. PRASA, SAA, TELKOM, ESKOM...\r\nThe 4 ring sircus in South Africa

  • lmphelasr.1 - 2012-09-27 13:06

    Msholozi, your two heads aren't at synch anymore.. Time to step down.

  • boikanyo.morokong - 2012-09-27 13:20

    I'm honestly sick of this old man blaming apartheid for every thing the current government has failed to achieve. It's all well that some things do take time to fix, but the mere fact that things are worsening and he still persist to blame it on the old government is absolutely pathetic

  • frederikrudolph.vandyk - 2012-09-27 14:13

    So Zuma, just like in any failing state the party of liberation blames all problems on the previous regime...trying to save face, huh?

  • darryl.rebello.90 - 2012-09-27 14:42

    @ the general commentators present here the level of economic understanding expressed here is significantly correlated to the very Third World nature that is either touted or despised. The argument around the earning gap is this. Rich people (the First World rent seeker / investor) take the profit out of the local SA economy and reinvest or consume it in say LONDON / NEW YORK. There is no benefit to the SA economy here. After a 100 years of this, this has resulted in very low capital formation in SA therefore reducing opportunity to invest in the local economy of to drive the cost to do so up. This means that local non mining / energy employment is lower than it should be if the capital remained in SA. This has resulted in a process of deindustrialisation is SA as our markets opened to SE Asia and re investment in these aging industries was not available. Certain rent seeking individuals in SA, due to lucky ancestors and or politics are not really the is that SA exports its wealth to the FIRST WORLD via dividends. The government proposes to capture more of this wealth in SA via SUPERTAXES and direct state ownership of a certain percentage of the capital base, presumable for the benefit of South Africans The problem here is not economic but political and ethical. The very same people in government are in fact more rapacious in their rent seeking that the foreign shareholders with the funds now finding their way to SWISS banks rather than LONDON Banks.

  • Notrax123 - 2012-09-27 22:30

    Well done Mr President, well done cANCer, well done Juliarse, well done all you strikers - congratulations you are really f-ing this country up.... Moody's downgraded South Africa's credit rating by one notch on Thursday, citing concerns about the government's ability to tackle economic problems as well as political jostling with the ruling ANC He added that the government has totally underestimated the potential for a downgrade, instead focusing on banking stability and the fiscal outlook. "Whilst Moody’s does mention fiscal here, the key change is around the state’s capacity to solve societies problems. We have said for some time it would be this and SA’s socio-economic challenges that would lead to a downgrade, not things like debt sustainability. "As the strikes in South Africa spread both within the mining industry and to elsewhere in the economy, we think the prospect for further downgrades from other agencies remains very high, and for that likelihood to rise yet further after Mangaung where the policy direction has the potential to entrench further policies which harm competitiveness like further state involvement in the economy, mining taxes etc. "Our original view that a downgrade on a Zuma victory is more likely than on a Motlanthe victory in this context still stands for the other agencies and with respect to Moody’s cutting again," said Montalto

  • phillip.phogole - 2012-09-28 15:06

    Our stupid Presient is talking nonesense is because the CEO are earning Millions rand Bonuses at the end of the year while the employees get peanut bonuses

      jacques.smit - 2012-09-28 15:21

      and the employees have the education and experience these CEO's have? I.e University Master Degrees and 10-20 years management experience?

  • gatvol.griet - 2012-09-28 15:24

    Yezzz, It izz very deefrant. Today da ANC leadas are stealing aal da munney from da poor peeple. When da poor want food and houses, they can go and steal and take white farmers' land. It is very diffrant.

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