Government contingent to visit Marikana

2013-05-16 21:08
Parliament (Dan Calderwood, News24)

Parliament (Dan Calderwood, News24)

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Cape Town - Cabinet will send a delegation of ministers to Marikana in the North West to calm renewed unrest, acting Minister in the Presidency Edna Molewa said on Thursday.

Government was extremely concerned about a wildcat strike at the Lonmin mine in Marikana this week, Molewa told journalists following Wednesday's fortnightly Cabinet meeting.

Workers have since returned to work, but tensions remain high.

The mining unrest is apparently being fuelled by a dispute between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

"Cabinet is extremely concerned, and it's for that reason that it has decided that this collective of ministers who were dealing with the issues of Marikana [last year] should actually go back there, to ensure that the agreements that were made are being adhered to," Molewa said.

The visit would only happen when the relevant ministers, who were accompanying President Jacob Zuma on a state visit to Russia, returned to South Africa.

Last visit to Marikana

The ministers of mineral resources and labour were part of a Cabinet task team that visited Marikana during last year's upheaval which saw 44 people killed, 34 of them by police, in August.

On that occasion, the ministers were not warmly received by the striking workers.

Molewa said despite the area still being volatile, ministers would have to roll up their sleeves and get down to the business of bringing stability to the area.

"Even in a volatile situation and [where] you are unwelcome, you still have to go there," she said.

Molewa said government was committed to ensuring the large-scale violence that broke out last year was not repeated.

"We are confident we will be able to curb this problem and nip it in the bud."

The risk of not intervening was too high.

"We are concerned that this is not just affecting Marikana, it's not just affecting Rustenburg, but the entire country, even from an economic and market point of view."

Officials from the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) were in Rustenburg to deal with problems, which included the recognition of unions at the mines.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  amcu  |  num  |  ccma  |  jacob zuma  |  edna molewa  |  mahikeng  |  protests  |  mining  |  marikana inquiry

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