Amcu pledges R2m to help Marikana widows

2014-08-16 17:35

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Union boss Joseph Mathunjwa has pledged R2m from Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) coffers to a newly-established trust fund set up to assist the widows of miners killed during the violent Marikana strike two years ago.

Mathunjwa said the widows would also receive R12 500 each from his union.

“This is to show our government what it means to be a caring leader,” he said.

Addressing a strong crowd attending the second commemoration of the police shooting that left 34 miners dead, Mathunjwa said his union was saddened by the challenges faced by widows and children who lost breadwinners that day.

He said the R2m pledge was just a foundation and the union was hopeful that other donors would come on board.

“It was sad listening to these widows at the (Marikana) commission relating their sad stories of how hard life has been for them since they lost their loved ones. These families have nothing left for them to realise their dreams,” Mathunjwa said.

“Some of these women were pregnant when their loved ones were massacred by our democratic government. Children lost their fathers and families lost breadwinners on this day, which we must never forget.”

He said “Because their husbands have died fighting for R12 500, (Marikana) widows will each get R12 500 from Amcu” as a once-off payment.

Mathunjwa then warned people who wanted to do anything using the term “Marikana Massacre”, not to do so without his union’s permission.

“We want widows to benefit from the blood of their husbands. Those who want to use ‘Marikana Massacre’ must do it through our office and we’ll take to (take to) task those who do it without permission. We have lawyers, you know,” he said.

Mathunjwa then turned to his members and thanked them for their courage in the recent five-month long wage strike.

“You have broken the chain of slavery in the platinum sector. No one employed by these mines now will earn anything below R7 500. Some of you were going to work until retirement age having not smelled that amount,” he said.

A stern warning was issued to mining giant Amplats by Mathunjwa based on reports that the world’s largest platinum producer was planning to sell some of its mines following the strike.

Mathunjwa said Amplats’ plans were a “tactic of retaliation by capitalists” after the strike, but warned, “we’ll fight fire with fire”.

He said Amplats should “dare not” sell any mines – or face the might of workers. In the same breath, however, Mathunjwa said workers should be approached first by Amplats if they go on with the sale.

“If they must sell, they must tell us first so we can see if we can afford to buy. We have money in provident funds, which can be our security when we run these mines,” Mathunjwa said.

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