News24

Lonmin miners vow to keep striking

2012-08-19 14:31

Marikana - Workers at South Africa's tragedy-hit mine vowed Sunday to prolong their wildcat strike as returning to work would be "an insult" to 34 colleagues killed by police.

The scene of Thursday's bloodshed, the worst police violence since apartheid, was deserted as workers at a hostel of the London-listed Lonmin platinum mine said they would press on with their wage demands.

"Expecting us to go back is like an insult. Many of our friends and colleagues are dead, then they expect us to resume work. Never," said worker Zachariah Mbewu, adding that no one would return to work as long as they were still in mourning.

"Some are in prison and hospitals. Tomorrow we are going back to the mountain (protest site), not underground, unless management gives us what we want."

Fiery former ruling party youth leader Julius Malema fanned workers' anger with a speech on Saturday attacking President Jacob Zuma, whom he wants voted out in the African National Congress's year-end party elections.

Zuma must step down

"President Zuma decided over the massacre of our people, he must step down," Malema, who was booted out of the ANC in April for fomenting divisions within its ranks, told a crowd.

"It has never happened before that so many people were killed in a single day and it became normal," he added.

Police maintained a low profile on Sunday at the hostel where workers were going about their daily chores, but the anger level remained high.

"We are waiting for a word from the management," said Fezile Magxaba, an underground supervisor at the mine.

"Tomorrow we won't return to work unless they listen to our demands of salary increases. People have died, we are angry. If we return it will be like they died in vain," he said while doing his laundry at a communal tap.

The crackdown on Thursday left 34 dead, 78 wounded and 259 detained, according to police.

The toll came on top of 10 already dead, including two police officers, in violence blamed on rivalry between unions during the strike to back demands for a wage rise.

The strike shut down production at the mine, owned by the world's third biggest platinum producer.

Comments
  • lumka.ludada - 2012-08-19 14:38

    After this info, what's your take?\r\n\r\nhttp://m.iol.co.za/article/view/s/11/a/277729

      gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-08-19 14:48

      If they charge again, use another 300 bullets. Close the mine for good.

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-08-19 15:06

      After Tuesday - when they are all fired let Malema pay their wages.

  • chaapo.sithole - 2012-08-19 14:40

    Solution- shut it down, remove equipment and re-invest elsewhere - not worth the hassle.

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-19 15:56

      These are the riches platinum mines in the world, if they disinfest so be it, commodity prices will sky rocket even more, thereby attracting a better class of investment in the future. Africa has been raped by the internationals long enough, if they want the minerals then pay for it. If Australia miners get R15 000 Australian dollars a month then why can't our workers. The Australian government also charges super-taxes on their raw materials, hey, and guess what they are swinging with the strongest economy in the world today. Are South African's just being blinded by this race thing that they can't see the wool pulled over their eyes. Wake up South Africa, lets find a more reasonable solution to all our mines, as in profit sharing, share profits.....it is a proven way to go and South Africa's most successful companies now operate in this way. Without highlighting what is working incase the boat is rocked check out who the top companies in South Africa are, and realize that investing in staff works, it works well and allows South Africa to grow, within and outside our borders. The more money in the pockets of our people the richer our nation. Stop aiding the greedy exploitation of our people and demand that there is a fair wage for the dangerous work that they do. What is a fair wage for miners, walking in their shoe's, what would be the minimum for risking your live while swallowing dust every day. Is R12000 enough? No! Our prisoners are allocated more funds than this.

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-08-19 16:09

      Glen I agree with you 100%. Considering the kind of work that the miners do, the dangers they are exposed to and the wealth they produce, I see nothing wrong with a miner earning R12000 pm. But of course many SAns have fallen into the the trap of dehumanising each other, and then being surprised that the very people who have been dehumanised behave inhumanly. R 4000 for a rock driller at 2.5 km underground, exposed to all kind of dangers is ridiculous. This is the kind wage earned by supermarket tellers and so forth What's worse is that these miners are housed in shacks. Why is it so difficult for so many here to see the inhumanity of this?

      gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-08-19 16:51

      @Glen.. You forget who keeps selling our resources out... The investors do not just waltz in here and invade us... they are 'sold' for the proverbial trinkets. Tolls pay for roads. Taxes pay for parties and street name changes. Close the mines, or let the Aurora directors take over. The greed is not from offshore ( not to mention the chinese whom the anc sold out to over and over.) The greed is within. Close the mines and stop supplying that greed. Your words are just a pipe dream with no chance of fruition as long as the current status of the leaders and the bee empowered owners carry on. Being a miner is not nearly as dangerous as being a policeman in South Africa. Pay the police more. With living expences paid for, these miners would easily be able to save if it weren't for the huge families they have to support. Either ways, they have not right to carry on the way they do. They lived by the sword and died by the sword. As such they lost any chance of sympathy with me. I cannot help but feel you miss the boat completely as to the root cause of the problems. It's not paying the miners more. It's all about greedy politicians making money. Nothing more.

      johana.salivan - 2012-08-19 17:00

      That is the solution, it is called "free market" @glen: yes they are earning R15000, their average salary is R40000. If you look at that(our average is R3000), our miners should be paid around R1000, so they are already 4 times overpaid. yet they decided that is much more effective to kill polce officers and sit at the top of the hill. @manu: as I mentioned, we have something that is called "free market" these criminals are more than welcome to go and work in supermarket for R3000 or be gardeners for R2500. Why is so easy to condone criminal activity and support laziness?

      Zeebbrah - 2012-08-19 19:39

      look Lonmin made R1 billion profit(2011) thats after all costs salaries/bonunes you name it. Costs are about $1000/oz , but revenue $1500/oz, never mind the other revenue from other PGM's. These guys are making megabucks dont let them fool you otherwise. Clearing R12500/month is what they asking for I say settle on R10000/month and move on. Otherwise close the mine.

      Zeebbrah - 2012-08-19 19:42

      A five digit salary is a psychological barrier. They will be divided if you offer R10000/month and not R12500, half will say take it other half will say no dont take. They will have never earned a 5 digit salary and am sure many will take the offer

  • kim.buren - 2012-08-19 14:42

    THIS IS MALEMA'S DOING.

      joyce.kweyama - 2012-08-19 15:34

      OH I THOUGHT IT WAS THE GVT DOING AGREEING TO SLAVE SALARIES AND APPALLING WORKING CONDITIONS

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-08-19 16:58

      Joyce just a question or two: If these miners are successful in striking for a 300% increase what do you think the result will be in every industry and every government department? Do you think other workers will be satisfied with 10% increases? The whole country will go on violent strikes. Do you really believe the economy could survive an allround 300% wage increase?

      Zeebbrah - 2012-08-19 19:49

      @squeeazit , its all about negotiation, they asking for R12500 but will settle for R9000 or R10000/month so effectively just more than doubling their salaries. You have to ask high to get something in the middle , if they asked for R9000 they would get R7000, get my drift?

  • gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-08-19 14:45

    So they will keep on killing..... tut. malema's true colors.

  • sandile.memela1 - 2012-08-19 15:04

    Someone please prescribe some common sence tablets for these idiots please.

  • irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-08-19 15:07

    Shut the mine down. When there's no jobs, maybe they'll remember the time that they did have employment and how they blew it.

      Zeebbrah - 2012-08-19 19:51

      just remember all the whities will also lose their jobs and so will all the fat cats and shareholders as well, They wont be making a billion rand profit anymore.

      irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-08-19 20:22

      @Craig ~ If Lonmin is up to their ears in debt, it proves yet again how unrealistic the workers are to demand an unrealistic wage. They should thank their lucky stars that they have a job in the first place. @Zeebbrah ~ Read Craig's comment and tell me where the billion rand profit is coming from.

      Zeebbrah - 2012-08-19 23:36

      read their income statement for March 2011 ($134 million) = R1 billion rand profit. You can get the report off their website. March 2011 they made about R150 million profit due to stoppages. My facts are concrete and you can look them up they are on Lonmin's website, craigs facts are made up all speculative. Freakin people cant even bother to look up the numbers tsssk!

      Zeebbrah - 2012-08-20 09:30

      Lonmin will certainly be losing money now, in fact R50 million a day, but my point was that if they had paid their workers properly from the beginning from the profits in previous years then they would not be in this situation. Just shows without the workers Lonmin is nothing. R50m a day is big money and Lonmin will be reporting a massive loss March 2013 for SURE. Though Totally avoidable

  • lydonmcg - 2012-08-19 15:09

    Then fire them and get people who will be glad to work for what they're earning.

      kobus.stander.716 - 2012-08-19 16:05

      Sadly, that is not an option. They murder honest people that try to go to work. They should all just be put down like animals. Their lucky to have jobs.

      Zeebbrah - 2012-08-19 19:55

      @irene, the days of cheap labour are gone, you need to pay people decent wages they can live on and support their families. There is enough money to lift their salaries for sure. u say shut the mine down, a bit short sighted as it will come back and bite you when foreigners disinvest. Whities will become poor and all jobless, rand will plummet and u wont be able to afford to leave SA. U will be stuck in SA with no income living with one relative who supports 20 of your family, scary times await you, think before you blurt out ridiculous comments

  • PF - 2012-08-19 15:13

    Charge Malema with High Treason like they did with these Boeremag people. Malema is now making a mockery of this country and its highest office. We might not all like Zuma, but at least repect the Office of the President. If they dont act against Malema now and show who is REALLY in charge, I can only see further darkness. Malema think he is UNTOUCHABLE...must be using the same mutidoctors that sent these poor workers to their death.Oh, so buy the way....these mutidoctors must be apprehended and charged with murder.

      kevin.pitzer - 2012-08-19 18:01

      This strike has been extended owing to non represented political rabble rousers interference funded either by the ease of the gravy train(and needs to remain on it) or radical opponents to the state who equally want the same. Anyone who has experienced a strike getting out of hand will know what Malema has done is contrary to any form of goodwill settlement and will only escalate matters. He thinks he gained a point with the people so far but that point will disappear very fast when there is more and more loss of life. Both he and his associates need to read and understand history books of the unexplained deaths of other African leaders during the internal political tussle of politics where sometimes people say enough or I can get more. Josia Tongorara ,Herbert Chitepo ,Eduardo Mondlane and Samora Machel to mention a few and whilst they are reading hopefully they may realize South Africa has no reason to be different. Something as simple as a very well explained car accident or lethal heart attack can be so much easier than a country enduring further pain and confusion of the mass during a trial of treason . African politics are still young and this man is personally asking for it !

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-08-19 15:16

    Malema told them to fight on so they are listening. Sangoma probably telling them they going to win. This will boil over into another bloodbath. Are they still carrying weapons? For their sake I hope not. If they all get fired what is Juju going to tell them then?

      buhlebam.nyuswa - 2012-08-19 17:04

      Yes. When malemad addressed them yesterday, they were still carrying their (toyi-toyi) "traditional weapons". Remember Shell House? (it) did not tell them to disarm, but to keep on fighting. My plea to malemad : Please take your knobkerrie, panga, machete and join these people tomorrow when they attack police again! Do yourself a favor and be on the frontline. To the President of SA, deal with all, I mean all these so called failed leaders who are inciting violence.

  • sandile.langeni - 2012-08-19 15:18

    Good evening every one, I have some questions here, Why they called in TRT cause TRT only kills they dont arrest,we have public order police who uses rubber bullets and teargas and water cannon why this time they called in TRT who were carrying reaal, or live bullets ?

  • sandile.langeni - 2012-08-19 15:21

    Under which first black president did the first massacre happened where more 34 poeple were killed ?

      buhlebam.nyuswa - 2012-08-19 17:20

      Dear Sandile. Do yourself a favor! Go to Marikana police station. Two cops were hacked to death by these "peace loving miners" and a third policeman is fighting for his life in hospital. August is a women's month. One of the security guard killed by these "toyi-toying gentlemen" was set alight alive and burned to death. Please be concerned about that too!

  • joyce.kweyama - 2012-08-19 15:28

    HAVE THEIR NEEDS BEEN ADDRESSED?ARE THE SALARIES GOING TO BE INCREASED?

  • heystek.erasmus - 2012-08-19 15:29

    Its easy,close the mine for now,pull SAPS out,leave NUM,AMCO and Malema too sort this crap out,and go collect the bodies in a weeks time,cos they are intent on killing,so let them be,and save SAPS members lives

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-19 15:32

    Pay the workers what they want. It is fair, it should not even be negotiated. What they ask for is still lower than what they should be earning. Out of all the high ranking celebrity politicians in this country Malema is the only one that voices his disgust publicly at the outrageously low salaries these worker are getting. It is an injustice, this is the same salary that the previous generation of miners twenty years ago was earning, but the cost of food prices have gone up by 500% plus over the last ten years, with warnings in the news that food is rising across the board by another 25% over the next three months. In effect mine workers are working for 50% less wages and salaries than the previous generation, this is condemning their children to live in abject poverty. While most of us believe the hogwash fed to us that cheep labor is what brings in foreign investment. Wake up and understand that if there is no investment into the people there is no investment into our nation. There is only theft by huge international consortiums who take the money and run, showing huge profit margins in New York but leave only poverty, political strive and death on Africa's soil. Cheap labor policies was taught by the Apartheid government in our schools, and this policy has been prolonged via the ANC/Communist/Casatu Alliance to benefit the few, and screwing the citizens of South Africa. The more money in every mans pocket the richer the nation, stuff the politicians and lying economist

      George - 2012-08-19 15:41

      Amen. A sensible, compassionate South African. Until we respect and treat each other fairly as South Africans demagogues will have a field day and so will abusive, so called, investors..

      wdvilliers - 2012-08-19 16:07

      I agree with you 100percent. STOP the exploitation of South African citizens.

      king.rasta.583 - 2012-08-19 16:31

      well said,amen

      Jacob Zooma - 2012-08-19 17:33

      Matt it comes down to risk. Do you risk your life going to your office job? Do you risk your health deep down in the shafts breathing in all sorts of crap? The end should justify the means. when a mine collapse many die not just one. you cant put a value on life. R12,500 is not even that much, most of it's going back to government anyways with the cost of living and TAX, VAT, that this country charges.

      Zeebbrah - 2012-08-19 20:02

      @mattwerk , you should also be asking for an increase for your office work job, real inflation is probably 10+% per year have you got 10% per year for last 10 years on your salary. Perhaps you should also start striking and demand a better salary stop sitting back and taking it

  • George - 2012-08-19 15:33

    Why is it that other countries (Australia, etc) can pay decent mining wages but not South Africa. Before you reply, ask yourself honestly if you would work for that wage. Miners die on the job. It is a British owned mining operations. The miners are demonstrating in the wrong place...

      alvin.ntsethe - 2012-08-19 16:06

      its simple bcoz we ar africans my frnd tthy think we don't need money as thy do europeans!!

      wdvilliers - 2012-08-19 16:08

      More common sense. Thank You.

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-08-19 16:13

      George you are asking a very important question. Unfortunately so many are comfortable nursing their prejudices that they won't give you an honest answer let alone think about it.

      brandon.gillbee - 2012-08-19 16:22

      I would dig holes for R100 a day if I had to do it to feed my family. So yes, I would. What I wouldn't do is continue breeding if I couldn't afford to support my children. There are people there with 5 or more kids earning R4000 a month. They are bringing children into this situation, they are more to blame than the mine. Poor them? No, screw them. Poor mine and poor people who wanted to work and were murdered by the strikers. Poor security guards that were burned alive. I feel sorry for the children born to this scum.

      Dawn Campbell Gibson - 2012-08-19 16:42

      George - Police also die on the job, and do you think they are paid much more than the miners?

      Zeebbrah - 2012-08-19 20:06

      @George, in Oz its mechanised mining so fewer operators working on the mine, there it is all about automation as well as remote mining, so people dont even go into the dangerous areas underground. In SA labour has been cheap so no mechanised mining everywhere. SA mines are tricky because the orebodies can be very narrow you sometimes have to mine them by hand no option. In OZ and Europe workers would refuse point blank to work in the mine conditions that SA miners work in. You would not find anyone to do the job, too dangerous and you would struggles with safety to get people to do it. SA mining is a special case

      Zeebbrah - 2012-08-19 20:09

      if these mines were lifted up and planted in OZ , it would need to be mechanised in some way cos people would not work there. If you could not mechanise it and make profit it would not be viable and close down.

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-19 15:34

    Asked Malema to give you work.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-19 16:00

    These are the riches platinum mines in the world, if they disinfest so be it, commodity prices will sky rocket even more, thereby attracting a better class of investment in the future. Africa has been raped by the internationals long enough, if they want the minerals then pay for it. If Australia miners get 15 000 Australian dollars a month then why can't our workers. The Australian government also charges super-taxes on their raw materials, hey, and guess what they are swinging with the strongest economy in the world today. Are South African's just being blinded by this race thing that they can't see the wool pulled over their eyes. Wake up South Africa, lets find a more reasonable solution to all our mines, as in profit sharing, shared profits..it is a proven way to go and South Africa's most successful companies now operate in this way. Without highlighting what is working incase the boat is rocked check out who the top companies in South Africa are, and realize that investing in staff works, it works well and allows South Africa to grow, within and outside our borders. The more money in the pockets of our people the richer our nation. Stop aiding the greedy exploitation of our people and demand that there is a fair wage for the dangerous work that they do. What is a fair wage for miners, walking in their shoe's, what would be the minimum for risking your live while swallowing dust every day. Is R12000 enough? No! Our prisoners are allocated more funds than this.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-19 16:57

      @Glen - please substantiate the numbers you keep quoting everywhere. The best I could find for a Rock Drill Operator is AUS$44 an hour - which translates into AUS$7744 a month assuming an eight hour day and 22 working days a month. The one full-time job I could find was AUS$6000 a month. USA is similar at US$4050 a month. The numbers you seem to be quoting are for people with engineering degrees.

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-20 02:32

      To Wolf- thanks for taking the time to try and understand the discrepancy between our international miners salary verses local. If your figures are more correct than mine I can not be sure, I sort of just spoke to a friend of mine and asked him what he earns there. But if yours is right then the equivalent here should be AUS$ 7744 x current rate of exchange, that would be roughly x8 which should then allow the miners to pocket R61000 plus rand a month. Absolutely ludicrous and outrageously stupid in my calculations, my economic understanding is totally out of whack....yes, yes, ....I hear you say this.....the reality is that in Australia you can pick up a decent new car with that one months miners wages. The cheapest Cherry here is South Africa(demo model) will cost R54 000.00. definitely not one month salary for a South African miner. You see Mr Wolf, our mines deliver more platinum than any other in the world, our minerals are sold internationally for USA dollars but paid for in South African Rands, where is the profit, the exchange. The reality is, that exchange and profit is only secured if it gets into our pockets, into our economy. Fancy calculations aside, comparisons are only there to lay down the question, who cares what American's are earning or Australians, why is it that our miners can't earn more? They produce more. The world needs the minerals, there is demand, there is a price why is South Africa pawning it off at the cost of those who least can afford it.

  • changegonnacome - 2012-08-19 16:02

    They can not go back to work because they are mourning over their \invisible\ brothers and sister,but wait!!!! If their salaries goes up then they will go back to work and not mourn anymore.bloody backstabbing idiots!!

  • gudani.nedzingahe - 2012-08-19 16:59

    sersly! Dis wld defntly b an inslt, whch mean dey died 4 nthn? Hell no! I am a geologist, i knw hw undrgrnd is, nd 2 b a rock drlr nd gt paid 4000 a mnth? Dat's an inslt. Wthr eductd or nt evry1 desrv 2 b treatd wth respct nd dignty.

      william.letsong.5 - 2012-08-19 18:27

      Let me remind you that you are not chatting with your mxit buddies.

      Leboela Pitch Lediha - 2012-08-20 12:12

      Dear Mr Geologist, I have a crazy friend who also thinks he is an astronaut, but he can write better than that!

  • christi.pierre - 2012-08-19 17:00

    Fire the lot of them and get new people as the country loose Billions because of there strike

      Adil Smit - 2012-08-19 19:42

      No, I think the London-based company will lose money. Don't fire people that need work.

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-08-19 17:54

    I say close the mine down until this commision is over, tempers have subsided and people can think and talk rationally. These strikers were incited, they were told to prepare for war and thats why they came armed to the teeth and prepared to die. Who, stirred them up into a frenzy, who told them to come armed for war. These are the very people who should be held responsible. Is there a 3rd force here, how come julius malema is now the leader of the pack.....could he be the initial instigator behind this. He is always threatening war, maybe his idea of getting back at the ANC he has the backing of Lamola. This is going to take a long time to run its course so close down the mine until everything is sorted. This will send a clear message.

  • howard.torr - 2012-08-19 18:17

    Un-protected protest action I agree is illegal, the protesters where totally irrisponsable in what there motions where regarding thier fatal life threating hand yielding weapons, this is no way to dissrupt any buisnesss where unions allow thier members to use these weapons to show thier missunderstanding and missinformation or delay on progress to resolve long term solution for employees that will bring trust and bennifits to all parties.

  • neo.khemisi - 2012-08-19 18:27

    People of SA knowing how dumb(yeah u heard me) are mostly I won't be suprise if they get increase tomorrow they wil be @work and pls SAcans let's look at both side of the story b4 we judge police how wrong they were was it going to be if police were short nd killed bcos those miners had live ammo and headline were gonna be SA mourn policeman who where shoot @ now this 1 take a cake kos I'm staying in a mining town and I know how miners thinks from wat I had and I bliv it from people who in battle ground romour has it that there was traditional healer who told those miners @ that day they can shoot at police if police shoot back their pistol will only spit water(dammit how stupid is that nd bliv tht mpara)now listen of all the people who could have come and them comes this black thrash malema to condem to more stupidity how can u listen to bari maar while the president(person who power to change yr situation) jst spoke to you maar a person and worse part he has condemn their wives also my point is let's look to both side of the story 1st

  • june.april.148 - 2012-08-19 21:53

    I wouldn't work for that pittance. Its a disgrace how they exploit the labour class. They risk their lives for a kick in the backside. This isn't humanity at all. Shocking

  • vivian.harris.73 - 2012-08-20 06:46

    They have a right to strike...but don't go killing people and attacking police.

  • jeanpierre.merwe - 2012-08-20 12:53

    Where to start? Do I think the workers deserve to be paid more? In an ideal society YES! Do I think Lonmin despite the fact of declaring financial difficulty could pay the workers more. Probably. Although I do think a threefold increase in Salary could leave more people out of work and do more harm than good in the long run. One thing is for certain: People should never die during wage disputes and the Union Bosses and Malema should be held accountable for their actions in this instance. Furthermore instances like this are reported globally and will weaken foreign investment (we have already been lowered this year on the rankings to an investment risk). Yes there are issues such as rising food costs ,yet goverment is still involved in taking land from farmers despite it being ineffective and the amount of commercial farmers being murdered has to an extent lead to less production. Less production = Higher prices. Yet Malema sings his songs of killing and violence and voices his hatred. Nelson Mandela and so many others fought and died so we could have a democratic South Afica. It seems we are on a very slippery slope back to violence and segregation. Politics should stay out of economics. The less politics in economics = the richer the people are.FACT according to Keyens!!! Simple. All racism,hate speech,political interference and race politics should be stopped. Yet our current leaders(Malema) seems less willing to change South Africa for the better than propogating hate.

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