Marchers clash at Cosatu rally

2012-10-27 10:20

Police and traffic officials had their hands full as a group of marchers wearing black t-shirts clashed with Cosatu marchers at a rally in Rustenburg.

The group wore black t-shirts printed with, “Marikana Support Campaign” on the front and “Forward with Living Wage – R12 500” at the back.

A Sapa reporter at the march said a couple of red Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) t-shirts were burnt at the Olympia Stadium where a rally would be held.

The Cosatu marchers were still in the city centre, making their way to the stadium.

The group dressed in black had already arrived at the stadium, armed with stones and sticks.

They ordered a group of Cosatu marchers travelling in a minibus to take off their t-shirts.

The vehicle drove off, but not before it was pelted with stones.

Traffic officials and the police have temporarily halted the Cosatu march to allow the tensions at the stadium to die down.

The rally at the Olympia Park stadium would be addressed by SA Communist Party secretary general Blade Nzimande, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and Cosatu’s secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi.

Rustenburg has been engulfed in recent strike activity.

The strike started at Lonmin’s Marikana mine in August where workers demanded a monthly salary of R12 500 and by September 12 it spread to Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) where workers demanded R16 000.

The workers chose to represent themselves instead of negotiating through the unions.

They left the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and joined rival union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) claiming that NUM did not serve the workers’ interests.

The Amplats workers were still on strike despite the company firing 12 000 of them for failing to appear in disciplinary hearing.

Amplats announced today that it would reinstate the workers.

Lonmin workers ended their strike on September 20 when workers accepted pay hike that would see the lowest worker paid R9000.

On August 16, 34 Lonmin Marikana mine workers were shot dead during a confrontation with police.

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