Man killed, six assaulted at Implats
Johannesburg - A man was killed and six Impala Platinum workers in Rustenburg were brutally assaulted overnight, a mine spokesperson said on Friday.
"The police discovered the badly-beaten body of a man in the Freedom Park development," Implats executive Johan Theron said in a statement.
"He has not yet been identified, but items lying next to him indicate that he could be a contractor working at one of the shafts."
Six Implats employees were assaulted overnight.
"They are all being treated in the mine hospital, and their families have been contacted and arrangements made for them to travel to the hospital," Theron said.
Violence and intimidation
North West police spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane confirmed there had been a recurrence of violence and intimidation, but could not immediately give details as he was in a meeting.
Implats workers downed tools in an illegal strike over a month ago. As a result, about 17 200 workers were dismissed, leading to violent protest, intimidation and at least three deaths.
Theron said Implats condemned the violence in the strongest possible terms.
"It is totally unacceptable that criminal elements are taking advantage of an already volatile situation.
"We are appealing to those on the illegal work stoppage to return to work in order for their grievances and demands to be considered," he said.
The National Union of Mineworkers, Cosatu and Implats will meet on Friday afternoon to try to resolve the situation.
Implats has said dismissed workers can reapply for their jobs, but will lose any accumulated benefits.
Workers, however, want to be reinstated to their jobs without losing benefits.
On Thursday afternoon, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi addressed the ex-miners and urged them to return to work.
Theron said that by Thursday, about 8 500 people had been re-employed.
"Hopefully after the call to go back to work... the figures will increase today [Friday]," he said.
Settlement agreement denied
The North West government said on Thursday that a settlement agreement had been reached between the NUM and Implats for the unconditional re-employment of dismissed workers.
Theron denied this.
"After the mass meeting yesterday, there were some conversations among delegates about how the meeting went.... There was no formal meeting.
"Yesterday was just feedback after the mass meeting and to try and say we are still committed to finding a solution," he said.
NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said there had been some discussions after the meeting indicating Implats might be open to considering reinstatement of jobs.
"Although the company did not commit to that, they indicated that they are quite willing to look at the issues of reinstatement... that was verbal though," Seshoka said.
The illegal strike started when rock-drill operators downed tools over unhappiness that they had not received a retention bonus, while miners had.
Earlier this month, Implats CEO David Brown said the drillers had refused to involve the NUM in addressing their issues, and that a new union, the Association of Mining and Construction Union (Amcu), was exploiting employee dissatisfaction in this regard.