Rain keeps Malema away from Marikana

2012-09-06 15:22
Johannesburg - Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's visit to Lonmin's Marikana mine in the North West on Thursday was postponed due to rain, Friends of the Youth League said.

"We will make further announcements on when else he will address the Lonmin mineworkers in Marikana," it said in a statement.

"We send our most sincere apologies to all members of the media who'd planned to come for the coverage of the address."

Malema was due to speak to the miners at Wonderkop and welcome the rest of the miners released from prison on Thursday.

The worsening weather conditions saw the last a small group of protesting miners - gathered in a field opposite the Marikana mine - retreat to their homes by noon. The field was iced-over and roads around the mine were flooded.

Earlier, less than 200 miners huddled under umbrellas to try and keep dry.

They were waiting to discuss with their representatives the implications of refusing to sign a peace accord.

'Peace accord won't help workers'

The accord was signed at 01:00 on Thursday between Lonmin management and unions, but not the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), and the mine workers' representatives.

Worker representative Zolisa Bodlwana, who was going to be part of the group addressing miners at Wonderkop, said workers were concerned about wage increase negotiations.

"A peace accord will not help us workers in any way. We are not party to that," he said.

Workers at the world's third-largest platinum producer have been on strike for more than 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 before that, including two policemen and two security guards.

On Wednesday, striking marchers carrying knobkerries, sticks, and iron rods, pushed their way through police barricades as they marched more than 5km through Marikana to the Karee mine.

The marchers threatened to kill Lonmin management unless it stopped operations at the K3 shaft, where most of the mine's operations take place.

While they marched, they sang: "We died because of [President Jacob] Zuma. [UDM leader Bantu] Holomisa please come and rescue us."

They also carried placards bearing pictures of their dead colleagues.
- SAPA
Read more on:    fyl  |  julius malema  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest
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