Strikers wait for feedback

2012-08-30 00:00

MARIKANA — About 2 000 striking mineworkers waited until late yesterday outside the Nkaneng informal settlement for feedback on the court cases against their comrades arrested during the shooting at Lonmin’s Marikana shaft.

A group of about 50 men carrying umbrellas and sticks danced while singing that “Juju Malema” had protected them against the police. The crowd dispersed at about 5.30 pm.

Just before they dispersed, one of the strikers leapt up suddenly and danced among the crowd holding an animal skull similar to the one placed on the chest of a murdered mineworker’s body on August 14.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Lonmin mining group and mineworkers’ unions NUM and Amcu, Solidarity and Uasa trade unions met at the Rustenburg civic centre, but were asked at about 5 pm to leave the “peace talks”.

That was apparently so that the South African Council of Churches (SACC) could discuss matters with the mineworkers in private. It was not immediately clear what these discussions would entail.

Meanwhile, the peace talks, called earlier by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, seemed set to continue for several days. Representatives of the parties are expected to hold a press conference tomorrow about their progress.

Oliphant did not attend yesterday’s proceedings. Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, the convener of the inter-ministerial committee on the Lonmin issue, and Mark Munroe, the mine’s executive vice-president, as well as representatives of all four trade unions, took part in the discussions.

Lonmin said yesterday that attendance figures at their mines had dropped to 7,7%. The mining group ascribed this to intimidation of workers and the fact that many workers were presumably waiting for the outcome of the peace talks.

The striking workers emphasised again yesterday afternoon that they would not return to work before their demand for a monthly wage of R12 500 was met. They also threatened to march on the Lonmin mine office on Monday if the mine had not heeded their demand by then.

• Fifteen of the 34 mineworkers shot dead by police two weeks ago will be buried in Lesotho and the Eastern Cape this weekend.

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