ANC ‘afraid’ to visit Lonmin mine

2012-09-13 06:57

ANC members of the parliamentary portfolio committee for mineral resources would not visit the violence-stricken Lonmin platinum mine in Rustenburg because it was not safe, according to a report.

James Lorimer, DA MP, suggested yesterday that the committee should either hold a parliamentary hearing, or visit the Marikana mine to hear the miners’ grievances, Beeld reported.

Opposition parties supported the idea, but the ANC majority rejected it.

“We can’t go and talk to a crowd with suicidal tendencies,” said the ANC’s Rose Sonto.

Fred Gona (ANC), committee chairperson, said members should wait until processes already underway had been completed.

“We’ll leave space for the negotiators who are already there to do their job ... by the time we go there, the situation will have normalised.”

Gona also said the situation in Marikana was too dangerous.

Lorimer compared the MPs with ostriches burying their heads in the sand.

He said the committee, which was supposed to be responsible for overseeing mining matters in parliament, had done nothing since the Marikana mining tragedy four weeks ago.

Eric Lucas, IFP MP, said committee members should start behaving like adults.

“Rome is burning. Your words break a person’s heart,” he said.

Meanwhile, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) strikers will today join forces with Lonmin workers in Marikana to try and halt mining in Rustenburg.

Amplats shut down its operations after workers marched to its smelters yesterday.

CEO Chris Griffith said the Rustenburg area was volatile, and people who wanted to go to work were being intimidated.

“The suspension will continue until such time as operations can be safely resumed.”

Workers’ leaders said they would not back down on their demands for a R12?500 monthly wage.

“Today [Wednesday] was the last day, tomorrow [Thursday] morning, all mineworkers from Amplats and Lonmin are joining forces at a local stadium,” organiser Godfrey Lindane said.

The protesters would gather at the Bleskop stadium in Rustenburg.

Another Amplats organiser, Evans Ramokga, said there would be no work in the platinum belt next week.

“We are going to combine efforts with the striking comrades at Lonmin mines. We want to assure you that by Monday next week there will be no mining operation in and around Rustenburg.”

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