Striking miners demand 'R9 000 or nothing'

2012-02-21 11:17
Rustenburg - Striking Impala Platinum mineworkers gathered at Freedom Park in Rustenburg on Tuesday morning to wait for their leaders to address them.

Men carrying knobkerries and umbrellas sat on the railway line between Freedom Park and the Number 8 shaft.

"We want R9 000 and nothing else," said Amon Moabi, who said he had worked for Implats for over 10 years but was taking home R4 000.

"I cannot survive with the salary, that is why I am on strike. I need a better salary because I am working hard," he said.

Illegal strike

Rockdrillers at the mine embarked on an illegal strike on January 27, refusing to accept they would not get a bonus.

About 5 000 of them were dismissed. They then began protesting, intimidating and assaulting people trying to get to and from work in the township outside Rustenburg.

The rest of the mine's 17 000 workers were dismissed on January 30 for not being at work.

Protesters intensified their action, barricading roads to Freedom Park, stoning cars and looting shops. They also torched a satellite police station in Freedom Park.

Vukile Ndambi, 38, from the Eastern Cape, said he could not survive on his monthly salary because he had to pay for a rented room and send money home to the Eastern Cape.

"After I have paid all my monthly expenses, I have nothing to save and this means I will never afford to pay for my children's tertiary education," he said.

Ndambi said his salary would automatically turn his children into mineworkers because he could not afford a better education for them.

"All I could do was to put my children through school until Grade 12, and then organise a job for them in the mines," he said.

Closed meeting

The workers' leaders went into a closed meeting at 07:00 on Tuesday and were still in talks later in the morning.

A miner was shot dead and at least seven people were injured in overnight violence linked to the dispute, police said on Monday.

This was the second death related to the labour dispute. Last week a man was found dead at a workers' hostel.

Seven people were injured on Sunday night in a clash between police and a group of people trying to damage a mine shaft.

The Independent Complaints Directorate said it would establish where the live ammunition came from because the police were under orders not to use bullets - rubber or otherwise - for crowd control.

The mine has secured an interdict to protect staff and property.

Implats said it had lost production of 60 000 troy ounces (1 866kg) since the start of the strike.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.
Read more on:    impala platinum  |  mahikeng  |  strikes  |  labour  |  mining  |  protests

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