Cops fired live ammo at Amplats - claim

2012-10-30 14:01
Police keep an eye on strikers at the Anglo Platinum mine. Picture: AFP

Police keep an eye on strikers at the Anglo Platinum mine. Picture: AFP

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Johannesburg - Police, mine security and striking mineworkers clashed at a second Anglo Platinum mine (Amplats) in Rustenburg on Tuesday, a spokesperson for a mineworkers' lobby group said, claiming police fired live ammunition.

"Workers were marching to [Bathopele] mine. They were met with police, who fired with live ammunition. A number were shot," Mametlwe Sebei, a spokesperson for the Democratic Socialist Movement, claimed.

North West police spokesperson Warrant Officer Sam Tselanyane said a group of people had tried to hijack a truck deliver goods to the mine and that mine security had taken action against them.

"They were dispersed and couldn't take the truck," said Tselanyane.

Unconfirmed

He could not immediately comment on the allegation that live ammunition was used, whether anyone was wounded, and when the police became involved, as he was still verifying the information provided to him.

The protesters were part of a group of around 12 000 mineworkers the company had fired, but had said they would reinstate if they went back to work by the 07:00 shift on Tuesday.

Sebei said he was not present at the shooting, but arrived shortly afterwards. People had run away, leaving the injured on the ground. Members of the organisation were trying to establish how many people were injured and the type of injuries.

Comment from Amplats was not immediately available.

Tselanyane said that earlier, a policeman was hit in the face with a stone during a march by around 300 people to Anglo Platinum's Khuseleka shaft.

"The marching protesters became violent and started throwing stones and [waving] all sorts of dangerous weapons at the police," he said.

Police use rubber bullets to disperse the mineworkers, who eventually ran back into the nearby informal settlement, he said.

Different clashes


His colleague Captain Dennis Adriao said earlier that around 04:00 police and the fire brigade were called when a power sub-station at Amplats' Khuseleka shaft was set alight.

Police and strikers clashed, but by 09:00 police felt the situation was under control.

By late morning police said around 3 000 striking mineworkers had gathered at the Khuseleka sports ground. Sebei said the numbers were higher.

No arrests had been made and police were monitoring the situation.

In a separate incident police said they found a shotgun in a veld near Samancor's mine in Kroondal, Rustenburg. It had been taken forcibly from a police constable during a confrontation with striking mineworkers on 16 October.

Offer rejected


Sebei said striking mineworkers had rejected an offer by Amplats to get everybody back to work on Tuesday.

This confirmed a warning on Tuesday by Gaddafhi Ndoda, a spokesperson for the national strike committee, which represents some miners.

The company said at the weekend it would reinstate 12 000 workers it had fired for being on strike since mid-September.

The offer included a once-off "hardship allowance" of R2 000, net of tax, to help employees affected by the no-work, no-pay principle. Employees who did not participate in the illegal strike would be paid a once-off "loyalty allowance" of R2 000, net of tax.

Employees affected by the no-work, no-pay principle could also apply for a payment advance of up to R2 500, deductible from their salaries over a six-month period starting January 2013.

Comment from the National Union of Mineworkers, Uasa and Solidarity, which Amplats said were party to the agreement, was not immediately available.

Sebei said workers were holding out for a monthly salary of R16 000.

The clashes took place as the Farlam commission probed the shooting deaths of 34 miners and the wounding of 78 near the Lonmin Marikana mine on 16 August.

- SAPA
Read more on:    anglo platinum  |  mahikeng  |  strikes  |  mining unrest
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