Malema arrives in Marikana

2012-08-18 13:01
Striking Lonmin miners gather on a hill near the Marikana mine during a protest action. (Booysen Thamaga, Sapa)

Striking Lonmin miners gather on a hill near the Marikana mine during a protest action. (Booysen Thamaga, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - A large group of men have gathered in Wonderkop in Lonmin, Marikana ahead of an address by expelled ANCYL leader Julius Malema on Saturday.

Malema arrived at the site in a large white Land Rover. He was expected to speak to striking Lonmin workers following deadly clashes this week.

The strikers, most of whom were carrying sticks, were not allowed to put on their hats or caps and were ordered to switch off their cellphones.

"This is a holy place," said one man when asked why cellphones should be switched off.
Suspended ANC Youth League secretary Sindiso Magaqa and Floyd Shivambu was also there.

‘Striking for what they deserve’


Shivambu said the mineworkers were fighting for a good cause.

"It cannot be right that people working underground under difficult conditions could be paid as little as R4 000."

He said mineworkers should be treated fairly and paid well.

"They are striking for what they deserve," said Shivambu.

He described Thursday's shooting as 'unfortunate'.

"There are many methods to disperse the crowds rather than to use the maximum force police applied."
Shivambu said they could have used water cannons to disperse the crowds.

"Most of the people were shot at the back, indicating that they were running away so police actions were not justified."

A distance from where the men had gathered, a group of around 150 women were protesting, saying the police should take care of their children because their fathers had been killed.

"Enough is enough [Police Minister] Nathi [Mthethwa] with your police," read one placard.
Another placard read: "Who is going to support our children because their fathers have been killed."

More than 78 injured

A police helicopter also hovered above the gathering.

A total of 34 people were killed in a shootout that erupted near the mine on Thursday when police tried to disperse striking miners.

More than 78 people were injured. Another 10 people had by then been killed in the violent protests at the mine over the past week.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) over recognition agreements at the mine. Workers also demanded higher wages.

- SAPA

Read more on:    lonmin  |  julius malema  |  floyd shivambu  |  sindiso magaqa  |  mahikeng  |  labour  |  mining  |  protests  |  mining unrest
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