'Dead miners will turn against us'

2012-09-10 14:35
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Lonmin strikers march

A group of protesting Marikana mineworkers are marching from Wonderkop to Lonmin's nearby Eastern Platinum mine, in an attempt to stop operations.

Rustenburg - A large group of striking mineworkers braved the scorching Rustenburg sun to protest at the entrance to Lonmin's Eastern Platinum mine on Monday.

They arrived there in a winding procession from the Wonderkop area, near Marikana.

Four police Nyalas barricaded the entrance and the strikers stood opposite them, singing and dancing. Leaders of the protesters entered the mine premises with police officers.

The workers sang: "Thina silwela amalungelo wethu... [We are fighting for our rights]."

‘Operations must be halted’ 

Earlier, a leader of the protesters, Anele Nogwanya said they would go to different mining shafts in the area to demand the closure of all operations.

"Mining activities at the Eastern Platinum mine have to be halted as the workers there are underpaid," he said.

"We have now buried all our fallen colleagues. Now is the time to honour our promise to them of getting the R12 500," he said.

"If we go back to work without getting R12 500, our deceased colleagues will turn against us."

Nogwanya said that after halting operations, the protesters would demand that non-striking workers at the hostels join them.

Police stopped the protesters on their way to the mine, but after negotiations, allowed them to proceed. Some of the workers waved knobkerries, arrows, pangas and sjamboks.

Representatives of the workers told the police they wanted access to the mine to close down operations there.

Peace deal

On August 16, police fired on a group of protesting workers killing 34 of them and wounding 78. Another 10 people were killed the preceding week, including two policemen and two security guards.

Lonmin said staff attendance was at 6.34% on Monday, ahead of wage talks.

One of the conditions of a peace deal signed on Thursday was that the workforce return on Monday.

"Attendance today is 6.34%," said spokesperson Sue Vey, after a slow start of just over 2% earlier.

Only one shift - the 07:00 - was running across the 11 shafts of the Marikana complex, which includes Eastern Platinum Ltd and Western Platinum Ltd.

The company, which is considered one of the world's largest producers of platinum group metals, loses about 2 500 platinum ounces per day of no production.

Work stopped at the mine on August 10.

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