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17 August 2012, 13:43

The Lonmin mine violence is yet another pointer to the general dissatisfaction prevalent on the mines. While on the other side of the equation it is also an indication of the low level or complete lack of education of the workers. This phenomenon has been plaguing the industry since its incipience for more than a century.  In many cases on on just as many mines an “abet“ program in place whereby the worker is introduced to a basic level of schooling to assist  in his working environment. And basic problem solving.    

The problems at Lonmin is exacerbated by having two different unions in place and that will inevitably become a dynamite keg.  And it has.     Were we to read the latest newspapers or follow the matter closely it will become apparent that the mine management is not entirely responsible for the violence on their mine. It is reasonable to assume the management would do all in their power to prevent damage and deaths on their mine. At the same time it must be borne in mind that the Platinum markets have also taken a bashing and should Lonmin cease their operations for any period of t8ime there will be no jobs for the strikers    

Television footage has shown that huge amounts of home made weapons are used to perpetuate the violence. Knives, pistols, revolvers, spears pangas and what not.      We know that, so far, two policemen were killed in these clashes. The police are not responsible for the violence and murder but they were and are in the firing line and as such had to quell the violence. One can only imagine if the striking crowds were free to enter some of the neighbouring towns and settlements there would possibly be a massacre. Last heard that a contingent of soldiers are on standby to assist the police. And as such will expand the explosive atmosphere.    

 Copperton circa 1975 riots erupted due to perceptions that management was giving certain ethnic groups preferential treatment such as promotion and better jobs at higher pay etc. The stories were debunked but paid for with several lives. 

During the 1980’s, the decade of strife saw many riots and violence throughout the industry and usually related to wages and increases. In those years we had the odious mine security system which usedMine labour to assist the security quell the violence, on site, with rubber bullets and batons thereby exacerbating the situation.  Were the workers better trained and educated I am sure they will react differently to their grievances and at the same time realise that violence cannot solve their problems. True, they may realise they are being manipulated by the unions and the ultimate price is loss of jobs due to financial limits of the mine
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