Bishop defends EFF in strike

By Drum Digital
09 June 2014

The EFF got involved in the North West platinum belt strike to help those who were arrested, says Anglican Bishop Jo Seoka.

The EFF got involved in the North West platinum belt strike to help those who were arrested, Anglican Bishop Jo Seoka told SAfm on Monday.

"Advocate [Dali] Mpofu is not sitting there as the EFF, he is sitting a professional person representing the workers who were arrested and have been asked by the workers to participate in this process," Seoka told the broadcaster.

He was reacting to comments by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe that the strike was becoming a political one because of the Economic Freedom Fighters' alleged involvement in negotiations, and its alleged collusion with foreigners.

On Sunday, Mantashe said the ANC was concerned by the articulation of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union's (Amcu) position by white foreigners.

"The articulation of Amcu's position by white foreign nationals is signalling interest of the foreign forces in the destabilisation of our economy," he said at the time.

"Also of concern is the direct participation of the EFF in the negotiations, and thus collaboration with the foreign forces...These two factors led the [ANC] lekgotla into cautioning the ministry of mineral resources in handling the facilitation with care."

Seoka said Mantashe's comments were "very unfortunate".

"...Hopefully it would be corrected some time during the day," he told the broadcaster.

"I think the issue is really very critical because we are almost reaching a solution...The minister [of mineral resources] has done his best...The parties are talking to each other...There is light at the end of the tunnel."

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500.

They have so far rejected the companies' offer that would bring their cash remuneration to R12,500 by July 2017.

Last week, Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi set up a task team to help resolve the wage dispute.

On Saturday, he said he could pull out of the negotiation process if no agreement was reached by Monday. - Sapa

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