‘Simple SMSes’ won’t bring us back to work – Joseph Mathunjwa

2014-05-14 15:23

If mine bosses think mine workers will return to work based on “simple SMSes”, they are mistaken, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president, Joseph Mathunjwa, told thousands of miners gathered at the Wonderkop Stadium in Marikana.

Today’s gathering comes after three people were killed and several others injured in Bapong and Marikana in North West. The Amcu president said many of the things reported by the media are lies and no one reported when particular Amcu members were killed at the beginning of the strike.

“We called the media about one of our members who was viciously killed and it didn’t make headlines,” said Mathunjwa, to which the miners responded with murmurs that the media reported lies.

He also said he had warned Lonmin that the SMS campaign to convince the miners to go back to work would be “detrimental”.

“I told the employers that these SMSes would do a lot more harm than anything else. They were warned, but they still went ahead thinking that we would be brought back to work with simple SMSes,” said Mathunjwa.

He has taken platinum producers Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin to court requesting an urgent interdict to stop the mining company from communicating the new wage offer directly to the miners.

He also took a jab at Lonmin and the government, saying they were “in bed together”.

“The government wants a repeat of what happened in 2012, that’s why they are in bed with the capitalists. People are saying that you have become violent, knowing that there is no such thing. This is merely to bring in the police and kill this strike without paying you a living wage,” he said to cheers.

Thousands of miners started gathering at the stadium early today, and some said that they had not slept at all last night.

The miners were bused in from the areas around the platinum belt.

Mathunjwa commented that it seemed as if the strike had just started, looking at the number of miners who had gathered.

Bishop Joe Seoka, from the council of churches, said the miners should continue to be strong but must act peacefully.

“Many people are saying that you are causing the violence. But they know that Amcu is a peaceful union that would never do the things they say you have,” said Seoka.

Amcu representative at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, James Nichol, was also given an opportunity to speak to the strikers.

“I have heard about the recent deaths in the area. I came to South Africa from London to speak out for those families who lost loved ones on August 16. It is your duty to fight for what those miners died for,” said Nichol, to great applause.

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