Black man's life cheap, Amcu told miners

2012-11-09 14:30

Rustenburg - Mine bosses in South Africa did not value the life of black people and could afford to kill protesting workers and hire another lot, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) Joseph Mathunjwa told protesting mineworkers in Marikana, North West.

A video captured by members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) on 16 August, hours before the shooting which killed 34 protesters, was played at the hearings of the Farlam commission sitting at the Rustenburg Civic Centre on Friday.

"The employer wants to hide behind the fact that the protesters were violent and continue to oppress the black nation. The life of a black man is so cheap in South Africa," he said.

In the clip, Mathunjwa lamented oppression by the mine bosses. He also complained that his members were being killed by police and the rival National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

"They will kill us all here and hire others who they will pay salaries which do not mean anything in life. The employer will say your members were violent, that is why they were killed," he said.


"We need a strategy from heaven and the ancestors, comrades. There is a time-bomb set for you and Amcu. Let us not give NUM the opportunity to say Amcu caused people to be killed on the mountain," said Mathunjwa.

At the mines the workers were being oppressed by fellow black people "from universities".

"They [employees] take some of us and give them senior position[s]. This is called 'rent a black' in their terms," he said.

Presenting the police’s outline of the events of 16 August, leading up to the confrontation which left 34 dead, Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott told the commission police wanted Mathunjwa to convince the thousands of protesters to surrender their weapons.

Mathunjwa appealed to the thousands of protesters, sitting under the scorching Rustenburg sun and wielding weapons, to avoid bloodshed.

"Let us avoid a bloodshed, we want your problems to be resolved," he said.


He knelt down at one stage as he addressed the crowd through a megaphone. At the beginning of his speech, Mathunjwa introduced himself to the protesters as "a servant of God".

Earlier, the police video showed several protest leaders addressing miners and expressing dissatisfaction with the way in which their strike was being attended to. They claimed they were treated like "rascals" by the mine's management.

On 15 August, the protesters gathered at the koppie had chased away NUM leaders, opting to instead negotiate with the newly-established Amcu.

Mathunjwa spoke to the protesters, and promised he would return to the hill where they had gathered to give them feedback about their wage demands at 09:00 on 16 August.

  • arthurenlouise.tarr - 2012-11-09 14:38

    KING ZUMA Build you guys (the miners) a Very nice compound called Zumaville. You may stay there for free.Everything at the homestead's on the house.With complements from the taxpayer.

  • placebo.effect - 2012-11-09 14:41

    An unskilled man's life is cheap. That is all. Just the usual racial obsession from the usual candidates. When a white guy is racist its terrible, when a black person is racist it seems understandable. Funny isn't it.

      iwhite.whitebone - 2012-11-09 15:04

      They will not understand you, because of three facts; first -they are not educated(stupid),second-they don't want to understand,third-you are white........

      jackbongani.phala - 2012-11-10 12:38

      you need one is cheap.

  • jack.milano.104 - 2012-11-09 14:43

    Yes, just like black men's lives were cheap in the ANC's prison camps. Do you see the ANC mourning the lives of the people they killed in Camp Quatro? Or all the potential witnesses that were murdered when they returned to SA.

  • Cameron - 2012-11-09 14:48


  • dewaldt.duplessis.5 - 2012-11-09 14:50

    WTF! Here the blame game starts yet again.Or let me put it this way it never stopped! I'm sick and tired for being called a colonist or imperialist. Apartheid is over for good so 'some' black people must just STFU! Its is your own ANC government that is screwing you over. It is not the whites so leave us the f#ck alone.

  • adriaan.pieterse - 2012-11-09 14:51

    "At the mines the workers were being oppressed by fellow black people "from universities"." Right now they are playing the educated card?

  • marc.ross.965 - 2012-11-09 14:58

    Now it's whites, NUM and university educated "blacks that are against them." Always everyone else against them. The whole world and the people on Mars and Venus are against us. HAHAHAHA

  • jabumokoena.c.7 - 2012-11-09 15:06

    Only in South Africa.

  • Duncan Colter - 2012-11-09 15:08

    And the black men that were killed by black men? No race card to play there...

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-09 15:37

      Stop it Duncan - now you've confused them.

  • majwarha.balakisi - 2012-11-09 15:13

    So true Mr Mathunjwa.

  • goodguy.buthelezi - 2012-11-09 15:15

    Correction AMCU, a life of a poor man is cheap in this country. For example, if a poor man dies, they dont even bother to do a post moterm or to investigate what killed the individual. If a Rupert, Motsepe, Ramaposa, Oppenhimer ect dies, doctors from overseas, top cops will investigate what happened. If a poor mans child goes missing, the may NEVER know what happened to their child. If Motsepe or Ruperts child goes missing, there will be roadblocks throughout this whole country, hellicopters, Police man power you name it until they find the child. If you dont have the means in this country you are nothing.. Very sad

      mike.down.5492 - 2012-11-09 15:46

      It applies in all countries not just here.

      alastair.newman.52 - 2012-11-10 00:24

      Dennet. Um, no it doesn't. Anyway. Even if it did happen in all other countries, are you prepared to be so bone idle as to allow it to continue? I'm sure if you, with less than you have right now, were in that position you'd also want it different. The worst thing, and it is so prevalent in this country, are those who are mediocre with means do little for, indeed begrudge, those without means. This comment page is a testament to it!

  • piet.hannibol - 2012-11-09 15:17

    Worth is calculated in availability. Stop breeding then...

      louiseroger.higham - 2012-11-09 15:39

      Well said

      donny.doncaster - 2012-11-09 23:26

      Economics 101

      alastair.newman.52 - 2012-11-10 00:26

      I'll remember that when I run over your child!

  • Ifwisheshadwings - 2012-11-09 15:24

    What a load of hogwash!!! Can they please stop blaming the whites for everything. The mine bosses didnt start the strike, the mine bosses didnt incite violence, the mine bosses didnt kill policemen! Come on this is like detonating a bomb yourself and being shocked at the damage! Idiots

      ntokozoe - 2012-11-10 11:30

      they r not blaming whites, they r blaming the mines. why do u want to be blamed all the tym. Motsepe, Ramaposa and I, we all own a portion of the mining companies in SA and we r black. WTF is wrong with u?

  • teresa.villarini - 2012-11-09 15:48

    AMCU has to blame someone so that they can keep members because what they forget to say is crap if we lose members we don't get money! So sick of this black / white crap !

  • janis.moolman - 2012-11-09 15:56

    O please replace them with machines

      alfred.mokganyetsi - 2012-11-13 16:17

      janis,i cn c u hv no idea abt de mining industry.machines wont do even 5% of de wrk ts miners do.its a complicated industry,simple when u view it frm de outside.pity platinum is underground,if it ws found on surface lyk sand,then mine bosses were going 2 load it themselves.ther ws nt gonna b a nid 2 hire unskilled labours.

  • charl.malan.12 - 2012-11-09 16:02

    And the racial devide continues

  • Strikeback - 2012-11-09 16:19

    AMCU. You are responsible for the death of those miners. You lead them to slaugter. You wanted new members for your union to line your pockets, or is your membership free? The fact that you refer to educated black people as "token appointments" is an insult to black people with an education. It is time that you respect the efforts of your own people to reach higher positions. And no, black lives are not cheap - yust easy to abuse by unions. Stop leading people to unemployment.

  • jacques.stander - 2012-11-09 16:44

    Thats a simple question of supply and demand!! The more there is of an item, the cheaper it is

  • derek.bredenkamp.3 - 2012-11-09 17:11

    And his words were proved to be absolutely true!

  • jaap.kotze - 2012-11-09 18:39

    Ash and cinder, where they have been, flames and destuction where they are going.

  • 0001000ghost - 2012-11-09 18:50

    Fight? Taken for a ride? Your own nation black leaders are taking you, and everybody else for a ride! Fighting? Please man, jy kan nie eers suiker oor jou pap moer nie!

  • sipho.shabalala.796 - 2012-11-09 19:09

    So is the life of the 10 people that were killed by the miners before the police acted to restore order.

  • amanda.matthews.14811 - 2012-11-09 20:48

    You know what people??? you cannot talk sense into empty vessels heads. A complete and utter waste of time. I gave up all hope a very long time ago.

  • duncan.phopi - 2012-11-09 22:28

    people were killed for demanding better wage salary after num(pty)ltd has failed on sevaral occasions to represents workers` interest. is this justice as we claim to be in a fair and democratic country? lets not be hypocrite south africans.

  • werner.vandeventer - 2012-11-10 07:15

    Empty words from empty heads.. Always blaming the white man for their own problems, all the racist blacks are taking this country to hell in a handbasket and us whites are screwed like a stray dog in chinatown

  • jackbongani.phala - 2012-11-10 12:32

    The freedom chatter is ignored by the same party which drafted it in the name of investors confidence.worker all over south africa must be paid a fair salary which match responsibility.and the remaining unemployed % must get help from the government to open businesses that will be suported by the working glass.

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