22 arrested outside Amplats

2012-09-19 16:05

Johannesburg - Police spokesperson Dennis Adriao said on Wednesday that police had arrested 22 people near Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) in Rustenburg after using rubber bullets and teargas to disperse a gathering.  Four of them were arrested for being in possession of dangerous weapons.

The others have been charged for an illegal gathering and public violence.

"One person was taken to hospital who complained about shortness of breath."

Adriao said medics attended to the man and he was taken to hospital for a check-up.

"We still have a high visibility and presence on the ground.

"At the moment, reports from the ground state that everything is calm."

Amplats spokesperson Mphumi Sithole said she had been unaware of further police action beyond this morning (Wednesday).

"Operations have resumed as we have announced, but many mining employees are still to return to work.

"We are unable to confirm the turnout numbers at this point."

Sithole said the company could not confirm whether those arrested on Wednesday morning were Amplats employees.

Small groups of people stood under umbrellas in the area after the police action.

They said police left with a "truckload" of men.

They said they had been attending a meeting when the police "just came" and they were shot at with rubber bullets.

They ran into the informal settlement and rubber bullets were fired at them from a helicopter.

About 10 police vans, vehicles and water cannon were parked at the company's Jabula shaft.

Salary increase

Government ministers in Cabinet's security cluster said last week that the government would no longer tolerate violence, threats, and intimidation in the mining sector, as massive strikes sprang up along Rustenburg's platinum belt, with another one near Carletonville.

The measures included a crackdown on illegal gatherings, carrying dangerous weapons, incitement, and threats of violence against anyone in the affected areas.

After suspending operations last week, citing employee safety due to the situation in the region, Amplats resumed operations on Tuesday.

Workers were paid over the suspension period and praised the company for this.

On Friday, during the operational suspension, they marched to the company's Bleskop stadium and decided they also wanted a salary increase.

Unlike their mining colleagues at other operations, who were seeking R12 500, they said they wanted R16 070 and other modifications to their fringe benefits.

Sithole said earlier that Amplats was making every effort to reassure employees that it was safe to return to work.

It wanted everyone back by Wednesday, and beyond that would have to "initiate appropriate employee relations procedures" for those who had not returned.

The company's operations were already under pressure and further delays would increase the risk to the long-term viability of the mines.

Explaining the reason for the police action, Adriao said that for large groups of people to gather, in terms of the Regulation of Gatherings Act, they had to give notice to the local municipality for the gathering to take place.

Section four set out certain conditions for the gathering.

"Police need to be present, emergency services need to be on standby, marshals present the whole day. Water points need to be established," he said.

The relevant municipality in this case was Rustenburg.

A lengthy strike at nearby Lonmin ended with a wage agreement on Tuesday.

  • larry.piggott1 - 2012-09-19 16:34

    Thats what happens when they see one group get their way through violence and Murder. The Marikana episode will be a turning point for the Worse, for South Africa.

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-19 17:01

      That depends entirely on one's perspective. I remember many saying the same thing when the Nat's came tumbling down. Exciting times once again for South Africa. I for one am with the workers on this one. The police have become the porns of the FAT CAT ANC ALLIANCE elite they allow themselves to be used as VIP company protectionists while the CAPE is refused military intervention in the gang wars raging on the Cape Flats which have taken more lives than the entire workers uprising. The ANC can lie all they want but they have with out a doubt become the likes of the Nationalists Regime. Thugs.

      kala.bafazi - 2012-09-19 17:11

      I agree Larry. And who is to say that it will stop at mining.

  • barengkm - 2012-09-19 16:36

    It sad to see our people been beaten by police during anc government,workers need better life like anc says,but today workers are been killed by police,when are this people going to benefit from this minerals?

      godfrey.welman - 2012-09-19 16:58

      Use your VOTE in 2014!!

      Klaus - 2012-09-19 17:16

      How will YOU benefit from minerals? Instaed of salary they pay you with a quantity of whatever and then you do what? Please enlighten Us!

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-09-19 17:10

    So much for the Police commissioners earlier promises to stop using rubber bullets (after the Thathane incident). It seems they are getting used in even higher numbers.

      matthew.lanecki - 2012-09-20 07:41

      Its either rubber bullets or real bullets kind of a hard choice when people are dying, hurting each other and destroying property... Or we could just get someone dressed as Barney to go there and start singing about how they should love each other

  • celeste.delange1 - 2012-09-19 17:20

    Where is Julius?? Did he get lost on his way to Rustenburg?? Maybe took a detour via Sun City? Seriously, I would love to earn R12000 a month.. R16000 is a dream I will not experience in my lifetime. And this is despite the fact that I am white i.e previously advantaged. And don't forget that all whites are mine owners swimming in money. Unfortunately my mine closed...

      Amahle Nofemela - 2012-09-19 19:07

      again the race card is being played. its funny that you always see thing through race eyes...not all mine owners are white and the strikes are not directed at individuals but at the mining company regardless of the race of the owners. atleast someone's life somewhere will improve and will afford to send their kids to better schools and get better education. sometimes we need to look at the positive and stop nagging. please Celeste.

  • rofhiwa.ronald.1 - 2012-09-19 17:29

    Those continous wildcats strikes of the miners r the symbol of vote of no confident 2 our president n the minister of mining ((suzan shabangu)) aswell. :: ONE::

  • sammyto.sammytoss - 2012-09-19 17:42

    In south africa we don't have a freedom, as long we get arrested when we express our right (they label our right as illegal\r\n gathering).

      Erna - 2012-09-19 19:32

      With rights come responsibilities.

  • irvin.mkhari - 2012-09-19 17:47

    nonsense since when people need permission for gethering,since when is illegal to protest for better police arrest workers for exercising their rights.

  • irvin.mkhari - 2012-09-19 17:53

    arrest workers because of dengerous weapons,the same weapons brought freedom to south africa now is illegal to carry those weapons.we bring people to power to turn their back us.

  • Amahle Nofemela - 2012-09-19 19:00

    the situation in Marikana was an unfortunate one...i think we all agree violence is no means of solving any situation but for the government to illegalise the gathering of people is a bit taking it too far. ANC conducts meetings in the townships weekend and after weekend and you cannot tell me those gatherings have obtained permits. it is unfortunate the so called government of the people will treat its people in this manner.

      matthew.lanecki - 2012-09-20 07:54

      But what do you do when people are getting hurt and dying? Should you allow the situation to take its course?

  • brionyl.french - 2012-09-20 05:45

    Im getting so sick of these restless people!!!! JACOB ZUMA GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER AND FAST!!!!

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