‘No march today’, say police

2012-11-02 00:00

STRIKING coal miners yesterday threatened to “bring the town of Dundee to a standstill” after two of their colleagues were shot dead by security guards on Wednesday.

National Union of Mineworkers regional secretary Bongani Manyoni said that the miners would march to the town hall today where they would hand over a memorandum to the mine management.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker, however, said “there’s no march tomorrow”, implying that a permit hadn’t been issued for the protest march.

Manyoni said: “We have done everything. We have applied to hold this march, and it will go on.

“We expect almost 400 of the workers to gather,” he said.

As the strike — which began three weeks ago — continued yesterday, a scuffle broke out which required police to use tear gas to subdue the strikers.

“While the workers were making their way to the area they were supposed to be picketing at, they went to an area where they were not supposed to be,” said Manyoni.

He said that was when police decided to fire tear gas into the crowd.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said they would continue to monitor the situation in the town.

“About 200 people blockaded the road in Dundee and they were told to disperse,” said Zwane, adding that once that call was not heeded, they had to use tear gas to break them up.

Yesterday, union representatives, including Manyoni met with the families of the two miners — Alfred Mzikayifani Mdiyako (58) and Sanele Mthethwa (39) — who were shot dead by guards from Mbube Security.

“We went there to offer our condolences and to let them know that we sympathise with them. Their killing was very sad, especially as they were killed while fighting for their rights.

“One was shot in front of his children. We want the government to step in and provide some form of counselling for the children,” Manyoni said.

He also said that they had consulted with the police, and were pleased to hear that there was a possibility of arrests being made.

The miners were demanding that the wages of the lowest paid workers be increased from R3 800 to R7 000. They had been offered 8,5%.

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