Workers blame scab labour for Rustenburg miner’s death

2012-10-05 12:07

Striking Anglo Platinum mine workers gathered to pay their respects to a fellow miner whom they claim was shot and killed by police last night near the Nkaneng informal settlement in Rustenburg.

The miner’s body was still lying at the bottom of a hill this afternoon where mineworkers had gathered last night to chart a way forward on the month-long strike by Anglo Platinum workers.

Mineworkers, who are demanding a R16 070 salary for all workers, have decided to ignore warnings by police not to gather illegally.

This morning they held two gatherings without obtaining permits.

By 1pm the body had not been moved as police cordoned off the area and combed the crime scene for clues.

Mineworkers held “amagundwane” (scab labour) responsible for the death of the man because they felt he would still be alive if all workers had downed tools.

Mametlwe Sebei from the Democratic Socialist Movement, the organisation coordinating all strike action, said they condemn the killing.

Sebei blamed police, the SANDF and mine security for the death and for waging a “murderous campaign” against mineworkers and community members who are not involved in the strike.

Sebei addressed reporters while surrounded by angry mineworkers who are demanding that police and the defence force leave the area.

“Every evening police are demanding our people who are unarmed to disperse and use teargas in shacks to pressurise people not to participate in the strike. They are shooting aimlessly with rubber bullets,” said Sebei.

A decision had been taken that mineworkers would gather anywhere without obtaining permission.

“We are sick and tired. For three weeks we’ve been applying for permits. Nothing happens. We are not going to seek permission anymore. We’ve resolved after three weeks of concerted efforts to get permits that we will gather freely, unarmed wherever we want. We won’t wait for permits,” said Sebei to applause from mineworkers.

The road leading to the mining village of Nkaneng was strewn with rocks, burning tyres and bottles to prevent police from using the road and “attacking” us, said the workers.

Earlier in the morning workers disregarded warnings not to gather illegally when they congregated outside the Bleskop Stadium.

They told about 400 mineworkers who gathered here that workers who have decided to continue working should not be harmed.

“When you see amagundwane, take them aside and tell them that they are to blame for the death of the miner killed last night. Tell them that if they didn’t go to work and instead joined us, this man would be alive today. Those who continue to work are to blame for the violence and the death of that fellow miner,” said Lazarus Khoza, one of the leaders of the committee responsible for the industrial action.

The mine workers have resolved to shut down about eight shafts tomorrow morning and meet at the stadium at 7am, without a permit.

Another leader said they will hold a prayer at the scene of the shooting after their gathering at the stadium.

“Let’s shut down Rustenburg mines,” said the leader to cheers from mineworkers.

Police had not issued a statement regarding the shooting.


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