Workers want mine shut down

By Drum Digital
11 October 2012

Two minibus taxis were burnt in Photsaneng near Rustenburg on Thursday, as sacked Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers gathered in a bid to halt mining operations at Bathopele Mine.

North West Taxi Council spokesman Bernard Afrika said taxi operations to Photsaneng, Bleskop and surrounding areas had been suspended for safety reasons.

"We have suspended operations until the police restore order and it is safe to operate. The primary task of a taxi is to transport people," he said.

Afrika said the two taxis were transporting people to work and other places when they were burnt.

"Not all the people in the taxis were going to the mines, some were children going to school and others were women going to clinics and other places. We cannot confirm whether they were going to the mine."

He said the passengers and drivers ran away when the taxis were stopped and later set alight.

"Striking mineworkers do not want people to go to work. They burnt taxis suspecting of transporting people to work. This is the second incident, during the Marikana strike, [that]... taxis were also set alight," he said.

Spokesman for the workers Gaddafhi Mdoda condemned the violence.

"We do not know who is behind this. The violence is getting out of hand."

He said criminal elements within communities near to the mines might have used the strike as a springboard to commit crime.

"We cannot afford to have more enemies, we already have enemies -- the government, mine management and the National Union of Mineworkers -- we cannot afford to have our brothers and sisters as enemies," he said.

He said workers went to Bathopele Mine to stop it from operating.

"We want to shut this mine down, it is the only mine operating, " he said

Bathopele was the only mine operating normally following the illegal strike on September 12. Other components of Amplats operating normally were the concentrators, smelters and refineries.

Workers at Amplats went on an illegal strike on September 12, demanding a monthly salary of R16,000 and allowances.

The company fired 12,000 workers after they failed to appear in disciplinary hearing.

Despite the dismissal workers have vowed not to appeal and still regard themselves as Amplats workers.

On Wednesday, they marched to the NUM offices in Rustenburg to de-register their membership with the union.

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