Rubber bullets fired at Amplats workers

2012-10-30 09:23
Police keep an eye on strikers at the Anglo Platinum mine. Picture: AFP

Police keep an eye on strikers at the Anglo Platinum mine. Picture: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - Police in South Africa on Tuesday fired rubber bullets, teargas and stun grenades in clashes with Anglo American Platinum miners, as a deadline passed for 12 000 sacked workers to reclaim their jobs.

At least 1 000 miners defied an ultimatum to return to work by 07:00, clashing with police and blocking roads amid accusations that they set fire to a power sub-station at the mine in north-western Rustenburg.

"Police used teargas, stun grenades as well as rubber bullets", to disperse around 1 000 strikers, said police spokesperson Dennis Adriao.

Police said the workers had blocked fire engines from the sub-station, thought to have been set alight in a pre-dawn attack.


Thousands of Amplats workers who were sacked early this month for going on an illegal strike were given an option of returning to work on Tuesday morning if they wanted their jobs back.

The deal was brokered in negotiations last week by the main National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in talks with Amplats.

But the workers refused to go back to work until their pay demands are met.

"We are six weeks on strike, we can't go back to work empty handed," workers representative Siphamandla Makhanya said, confirming clashes between workers and police. "There is a lot of shooting and things like that today."

Police said the Amplats power substation was set ablaze around 04:00 and "approximately a thousand or so strong people tried to barricade the police and fire brigade from getting there".

"Since then we have been having clashes with this group of people", which is trying to block roads and hurling rocks at the police in and around the informal settlement of Nkaneng, where many workers live.

Amplats, the world's number one platinum producer, had agreed to rehire the workers after six weeks of strikes that have shuttered its mines.

One-off allowance

The global miner gave the workers until Tuesday to return on existing wage agreements but with a R2 000 one-off allowance if they did so.

But some striking workers were adamant they would not be persuaded to return to the underground until there's some form of pay rise.

"Workers are very interested in going back to work as long as management is prepared to put something on the table," said Makhanya indicating the miners were softening their stance from the 16,000 rand per month their initially demanded.

"If our salaries can be adjusted from R2 000 upwards, they can go back to work," he said.


Amplats promised to give the numbers of workers who showed up later in the day.

A wildcat strike in August at Lonmin platinum mine has had a domino effect engulfing nearly the entire mining industry in South Africa as work stoppages spread to other platinum mines and gold sector as well.

The strikes sometimes turned violent leaving nearly 60 people dead.

The unrest has cost R10.1bn in lost production this year, pushing the country's yearly growth forecast downward to 2.5%.

The industry contributes up to nearly one fifth of GDP when related activities are included.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

Read more on:    anglo platinum  |  mahikeng  |  strikes  |  mining unrest

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Watch: Investing in the future through child development

An investment of R32-million into 11 early childhood development centres is changing the future for children in the Northern Cape.

Partner Content
What all investors should know about index investing

Index-linked investments are growing fast in popularity globally, and are growing in size and complexity too.


French Bulldog helps kids with facial differences

Lentil Bean is a french bulldog who was born with a severe cleft nose, lip and palate.



Weird things dogs do
Makeover saves dog’s life
For the love of Corgis!
Can we communicate with our pets?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.