Armed miners: We want nothing but money

2012-08-15 19:13
(AP)

(AP)

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Johannesburg - Talks between the police and striking mine workers at Lonmin's troubled Marikana mine in North West stalled on Wednesday afternoon.

Workers disregarded the police and brandished their weapons, singing war songs.

They waved machetes, sharp spears, knobkerries and iron rods while chanting war songs on a hill in the area where 10 people have been killed in violent protests since Friday.

Some of them told journalists that they wanted nothing but money.

"We don't care about unions, we want R12 500 a month," said one of them.

Police continued to keep an eye on the striking workers' activities on the mountain.

Captain Dennis Adriao said the names of the two police officers who died had not been released because their families still had to identify them.

Ten people, including two police officers, were killed over the past few days at Lonmin's Marikana mine after a protest action that started on Friday.

The violence has been linked to clashes between members of the National Union of Mineworkers, and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which were reportedly fighting for control of local mines.

Lonmin spokesperson Barnard Mokwena said earlier on Wednesday that the company had not received demands from workers and was "surprised" by the protests that started last Friday.

But workers dismissed his utterances, saying management knew about their demands.

Efforts to gain further comment from Mokwena were unsuccessful.

Rejection

The president of the National Union of Mineworkers was rejected by striking Lonmin miners as he tried to persuade them to return to work.

Senzeni Zokwana was escorted in an armoured police Nyala vehicle towards a hill to speak to the hundreds of striking workers who had gathered there since early morning.

They chanted war songs as Zokwana tried to calm them down through the loud speaker.

"We want peace... let us listen to each other. I plead with you to go back to work," said Zokwana.

His call for the workers to return to work was met with shouting and chants from the crowd, who refused to listen to him.

Zokwana, who was speaking from inside the police vehicle, could no longer get a word across and had to be whisked away by the police.

The workers had earlier demanded that Zokwana get out of the police van and speak to them directly.

Read more on:    police  |  amcu  |  num  |  mahikeng

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