Miners ‘leaning to Malema’

2012-08-21 00:00

SENTIMENT at Lonmin mine, seems to be bending toward Julius Malema, who took the time to speak directly to striking workers, after President Jacob Zuma had only spoken to the mine management.

This is according to a worker at Marikana Lonmin Platinum Mine who spoke to The Witness yesterday and asked not to be named for fear of intimidation.

She said the situation was calm yesterday.

“There are police everywhere.”

She said most of the workers ignored the ultimatum issued by the mine to return to work and said they would stick to their vow that they wouldn’t go back to work before the employer meets their demand of a salary increase to R12 000 from the R4 000 salary they are currently earning.

She said most of the employees living at the mining hostels near where the shooting took place on Thursday had fled their homes as they feared the situation may deteriorate further and were afraid for their lives.

She said she and other employees fear that the mine may be closed or they may lose their jobs as production has stopped while the rock drillers are on strike, as they are the main source of production.

She said although they are scared of being victimised by their striking colleagues, they still find ways to get to work although there is little to do at work with no production taking place.

“We fear the rock drillers could strike for a long time as they are in high demand in the mining industry and have qualifications, while those others who want to return to work are desperate to keep their jobs.”

The source said workers feel that government has not done enough and that President Zuma should have addressed the striking miners during his visit to Marikana this past weekend. She said Zuma only spoke to the mine managers and said workers felt that had he spoken to the workers, he may have calmed them down.

She said striking employees are now aligned with Julius Malema, who did address them, telling them not to go back to work till the employer accepts their demands.

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