SA miners continue with strike action! –ANC & Zuma are condemned


SOUTH African platinum miners were yesterday continuing their strike, and their wives are occupying the entrance to the British-owned Lonmin Marikana mine.

Lonmin has given striking workers a final ultimatum to end their strike by today or face being sacked.

‘The final ultimatum provides RDOs (rock drill operators) with a last opportunity to return to work or face possible dismissal,’ Lonmin spokeswoman Gillian Findlay said yesterday, three days after the country’s worst police violence since apartheid.

The strikers have refused to heed calls by Lonmin to return to work at the mine whose shutdown has caused the company’s shares to slump.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is seeking a pay rise from 5,000 to 12,500 rands a month and better working conditions.

Thursday’s police shootings left 34 dead, 78 wounded and 259 detained and boosted the death toll to 44 after ten already dead, including two police officers.

ANC Youth League president, Julius Malem,a on Saturday called on South African President Jacob Zuma and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to resign.

Speaking at the Wonderkop camp near the mine, Malema said: ‘President Zuma decided over the massacre of our people, he must step down.

Malema said Mthethwa must also resign because the police shot people under his command: ‘He must resign because he failed in executing his duties.’

Malema told the crowd that the police were supposed to protect them and not kill them.

He said: ‘It has never happened before that so many people were killed in a single day and it becomes normal.’

He added: ‘Lonmin had a high political connection that is why our people were killed.’

Malema said one reason why he called for the resignation of President Zuma was that he failed in his duty to protect the citizens of the country.

Malema said the mineworkers need a militant union that would represent their interests, adding the COSATU-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) ‘is not a union, it’s a company.’

He alleged: ‘They hold shares in mining companies, that is why when there are problems in the mines they are the first to sell out the workers.’

South African media on Friday condemned Thursday’s events as a ‘killing field’.

‘Bloodbath’ read the Sowetan’s headline, printed in red under a photo of police walking among six bodies following the shootout.

‘All the right noises are made and yet the value of human life, especially that of the African, continues to be meaningless,’ it said in a front-page editorial.

‘That’s what Marikana means. It has raised this unmitigated crudeness as if to awaken us to the reality of the time bomb that has stopped ticking – it has exploded!’

A task force will be set up to look into labour issues in the platinum industry, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said on Saturday.

The force will consist of people from industry, unions, government and traditional leaderships, she said.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) would be invited to give input to the task force.

On Friday, Amcu said it was a recognised trade union at Lonmin with 7,000 members, most of them at Lonmin’s Karee mine, and about 30,000 members nationally.