Striking miners take a breather, disperse

2012-02-18 14:25
Johannesburg - Most of the workers striking at the Impala Platinum mine in Rustenburg have dispersed for the weekend, North West police said on Saturday.

"There is nothing new at the mine. I think the workers have probably all gone home for the weekend, " said Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.

"Let's see on Monday, the strike will continue and they will all be back."

He said police maintained a heavy presence around Rustenburg to keep watch through the weekend.

Six workers were arrested on Friday after they allegedly looted a bottle store near the mine.

Ngubane said about 3 000 workers gathered at the mine on Friday morning and had intended to march to the home of the king of the Royal Bafokeng nation, Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, to hand over a memorandum.

However, their plans were thwarted by police because they did not have permission to march.

On Thursday, the situation at the mine was hostile and tense, and more than 100 mineworkers were arrested after violent protests.

Ngubane said 500 police officers had secured the mine and succeeded in containing the violence.

The National Union of Mineworkers and management met on Friday to try and broker a deal to end the strike.

The protests began in Phokeng on Thursday, with mineworkers apparently intimidating and assaulting people trying to get to and from work in the township outside Rustenburg.

They barricaded roads heading towards Freedom Park and threw stones at cars and looted shops. The crowd also torched a satellite police station in Freedom park.

Ngubane said police were not allowed to use rubber bullets to control the crowd following a directive from the police ministry last year.

This was because of concern over the high number of injuries and at least one death associated with the use of rubber bullets for crowd control.

The mineworkers were fired after a dispute over a retention bonus and an illegal strike.

The first to be dismissed were about 5 000 rock drillers, after they refused to accept they would not get the bonus and went on an illegal strike.

The rest of the over 17 000 workers were later fired for not being at work.

Impala said it had lost production of 60 000 troy ounces (1 866kg) since the start of the strike almost a month ago.

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  protests

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


Prince George the green prince?

Prince Charles hopes his grandson's love of the outdoors will become a passion for the environment.



One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Keep food fresher for longer
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly


The full moon energy can be quite intense today as your emotions fight against reason. It is important to ground your ideas more

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.