More violence in Implats strike

2012-02-29 15:26
Johannesburg - More violence involving Impala Platinum Rustenburg workers took place on Wednesday, North West police said.

"In the first incident, an RDP house belonging to a 41-year-old man was attacked in Freedom Park by an unknown group of people," said Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.

The assailants threw stones at the man's Opel Corsa vehicle which was parked in the yard, damaging its windows. They also threw stones at the windows of the house. Ngubane said the victim appeared to work for Implats.

Four Implats workers on their way to work were attacked allegedly by a group of striking miners in Freedom Park Phase Two on Wednesday morning.

"The victims were attacked with knobkerries and sustained injuries to the head, legs and body," Ngubane said.

Case of malicious damage to property

They were taken to the Impala hospital for treatment.

Police were investigating a case of malicious damage to property and three cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Implats fired 17 200 workers after they refused to return to work earlier this month, despite a court interdict declaring a strike they embarked on in January, illegal.

Since then, three people have been killed in incidents linked to intimidation and violence involving dismissed workers.

Scores of people had been injured in violent intimidation, while over 100 people had been arrested for public violence.

Implats and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) - which represents over 70% of the workforce - agreed on Friday that dismissed workers have until 3pm on Wednesday to return to work with their previous benefits intact.

Impact on operational ability

The wildcat strike was now in its sixth week and Implats had lost 100 000 platinum ounces, which was equivalent to lost revenue of around R2bn, the company said on Tuesday.

"This will impact our operational ability to restart all the previous work areas, and clearly, the longer it takes to resolve this illegal work stoppage, the more jobs will be impacted," Implats said.

The company was working with the mineral resources department to resume production as soon as possible, but this would depend on the number of staff who returned.

By Tuesday afternoon, around 9 800 employees had returned to work.

"The 15 800 employees who did not join the illegal work stoppage and most of the 9 800 employees who have re-applied for their positions are involved with mining activities such as cleaning, establishment, critical end development and making-safe in anticipation of resumption of production."
- SAPA
Read more on:    num  |  impala platinum  |  mahikeng  |  strikes
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