Marikana miners arrive at Karee mine

2012-09-05 12:39
Lonmin miners in Marikana. (Felix Dlangamandla, Beeld)

Lonmin miners in Marikana. (Felix Dlangamandla, Beeld)

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Rustenburg - Hundreds of marching miners arrived at Lonmin's Karee mine in the North West before lunch on Wednesday.

Police took up position about 500 metres from an entrance gate, and kept a close watch. Two helicopters circled overhead.

Four workers' representatives approached the police to ask permission to enter the mine and speak to management.

Workers have been on strike for the past three weeks, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.

On August 16, police fired on a group of protesting workers near the mine, killing 34 and wounding 78.

Another 10 people were killed earlier that week, including two policemen and two security guards.

Police presence

On Wednesday, the miners started marching the more than five kilometres from Lonmin's mine in Marikana to the mine in Karee around 10:00 in an apparent attempt to stop their colleagues from working there.

The marchers carried knobkerries, sticks and iron rods and as they marched, sang: "We died because of [President Jacob] Zuma. [Bantu] Holomisa please come and rescue us."

They also carried placards bearing pictures of their dead colleagues.

Police were unable to prevent the marchers from entering Marikana.

Five Nyala armoured personnel carriers parked at the town's entrance in an attempt to divert the march, but the crowd pushed its way around the vehicles and continued to the Karee mine.

As the miners passed the Karee West informal settlement, next to the mine, residents cheered in support.

Men whistled and women ululated as the group passed by. They also shouted: "Viva R12 500. Viva".

On Tuesday, about 200 mineworkers met at the Karee mine's shaft 30, and tried to get their colleagues to stop working. Another march was then planned for Wednesday morning.

Police in armoured vehicles also kept an eye on the Nkaneng squatter camp at Wonderkop, near the Marikana mine.

Talks between worker representatives, unions, the labour department and management were expected to resume on Wednesday in Rustenburg.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.
- SAPA
Read more on:    lonmin  |  mahikeng  |  labour  |  protests  |  mining unrest
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