News24

Day one of platinum strike peaceful - SAPS

2014-01-23 22:05

Johannesburg - The first day of Amcu's strike in the platinum sector ended peacefully on Thursday, despite fears of the violence which has cost lives in the North West platinum belt in the past.

"Numerous allegations of intimidations and assault were received, some from the media, but at this stage neither formal complaint nor case has been registered [with] the police," said Brigadier Thulane Ngubane.

"It has been established that certain individuals were seen carrying and displaying dangerous weapons in contravention of Dangerous Weapons Act...," he said.

"All those who were seen displaying dangerous weapons or violating the law will be identified and Amcu leaders will be engaged in the investigations.

"It is the responsibility of the organisers to ensure that there is no contravention of the law and picketing rules in the on-going strike."

Ngubane said the police would act decisively against anyone who used the opportunity to break the law.

He said the police were reviewing evidence and statements about incidents reported at Implats and Anglo Platinum.

Thousands of miners gathered at the Wonderkop stadium, in Marikana, on Thursday, to be addressed by Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leaders.

Amcu, which is pushing for an entry-level monthly salary of R12 500, has agreed to let the government mediate its negotiations with Lonmin, Anglo-American Platinum (Amplats) and Impala Platinum (Implats).

This will start on Friday at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), in Johannesburg.

On Thursday, the labour department said Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant was anxious for them to find a middle ground, as the country could not take another prolonged strike.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa has warned that if the government takes sides, it will be shown the door.

The CEOs of Amplats, Implats and Lonmin have said a prolonged strike would probably further damage South Africa's reputation as an attractive business and investment destination.

It would also negatively affect the platinum operations' revenue flows and sustainability, and result in job losses at a number of marginal mines and shafts.

Comments
  • Phathisani Williams - 2014-01-23 22:49

    Mathunjwa is a criminal. He must be arrested. He is scaring investors away. When the rand is weak fuel prices will go up. He is causing chaos in our lives too.

      John Loveland - 2014-01-24 00:10

      "Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa has warned that if the government takes sides, it will be shown the door". Translated: If the government doesn't take our side it will be shown the door

      Haibo Mfondini - 2014-01-24 00:40

      So the rand should remain strong on the backs of a few disgruntled workers when all South Africans are benefitting from a strong rand? This means you're not interested in solving their problem, unless it affects you and your greedy interests. It's easy to tell people to shut their pie holes than to engage on the issues they're raising and it requires little thinking. The government can solve this crisis by introducing a minimum wage system and if they're worried about losing investors they should perhaps start investing instead of relying on foreigners to feed their own people.

      September Mphikeleli - 2014-01-24 04:52

      This guys they can strike but R12 500 come on this is politically motivated I don't believe is this possible,Mathunjwa his life style is too expensive driving Lexus with white body guards

      Haibo Mfondini - 2014-01-24 05:55

      @Ian, I'm not saying that the mine bosses should give in to the demands, but compromises have to be made. At the end of the day, their grievancies are genuine in spite of how far fetched their expectations are. All South Africans are affected by the strength of the rand. It is, therefore, the responsibility of us all to solve the labour crisis. Those people will not stop wanting what they want until they understand the implication.

      Frans Rabalao - 2014-01-24 06:31

      Let them go . How about the living wage ? We should share the wealth don't be greedy.

      Michael Ntsh - 2014-01-24 06:48

      Ian, What these people fail to understand is that an increase cannot only happen at entry level, because you will find a situation where a newcomer earn more than a shift supervisor, team lead, etc. When you up the salaries of supervisors by relative percentage, they in turn earn more than graduates, artisans, engineers, etc. Bottom line will be that salaries across the board will need to be adjusted. At the current Rands per Ton for these mines, they will not survive six months of operations.

      Frans Rabalao - 2014-01-24 07:24

      People I heard u n I understand my concern is u do not consider the living wage

  • Freddie Le Roux - 2014-01-23 23:07

    I've had a burning question since listening to Cape Talk this morning. A caller phoned in and was talking about the price of platinum and the cost of production. Both of which I'm familiar with however this was being spoken in the context of the current strike in the platinum sector and the demands for R12500 pm. The question is this: Why when SA produces 80% of the world’s platinum, thereby an implied monopoly on production, is it trading on the London Platinum and Palladium Market at only $214 an ounce more, closing price $1465 23/01/2014, above the cost of production, assuming the cost is $1250 per ounce? This makes no business sense at all. If the world wants to produce motor vehicles with catalytic converters and the many other unique applications for platinum, then they must pay a fair price like $2500 an ounce, 66% mark-up which is quite reasonable and especially if they are concerned about meeting the Millennium goals, they should pay-up. This would instantly solve our poor miners’ plight where R12500 p/m will be supporting families of up to 10 people so they can live a better life. Which I will argue is more than reasonable when seen in that context. Where else are they going to go if production stops completely? We produce 80% of the precious metal. The price that is currently being offered is a pittance and was until recently trading at $1250 which is only break-even.

      Francois Marx - 2014-01-24 01:55

      Fish dont get it too...

      Pieter Calitz - 2014-01-24 06:18

      > Where else are they going to go if production stops completely? How about replacements? Google "platinum replacemenets" The world is working on platinum replacements especially if South Africa out-prices itself on the market. "The test results, Ready? The team demonstrated for the first time that they could consistently produce the unique core-shell structures. In the laboratory performance tests the palladium/iron-platinum nanoparticles generated 12 times more current than commercially available pure-platinum catalysts at the same catalyst weight. The output also remained consistent over 10,000 cycles, at least ten times longer than commercially available platinum models that begin to deteriorate after 1,000 cycles. That’s a “Wow!” moment."

      Pieter Calitz - 2014-01-24 06:20

      If that happens, South Africa sits on the world's biggest pile of scrap Platinum which they have to extract using the most expensive labour.

      Reality - 2014-01-24 06:34

      We also at one stage produced 80% of the world's gold. Now we are the 5th largest producer.

      Kevin Marsh - 2014-01-24 06:38

      And woof the market reinvents itself. Already an alternative for platinum and catalytic converters is being tested due to the huge sum they add to a car . Force the issue if you want and watch the market respond .

      Freddie Le Roux - 2014-01-24 07:31

      On average a catalytic converter which is used in all motor vehicles to reduce carbon emissions use a 5th of an ounce. This equates to $293 per converter. At the $2500 price it will go up to $500 (70%). The latest Merc C class costs $38200 (in the US) which now let's say costs $39,999 and is an overall increase of 4.71%. If you can buy a Merc then it's not going to dent the pocket that much no pun intended. From what I gather this technology is relatively new and is in the testing phase and is yet to be tried and tested in the market place. In 2007, Russia was the top producer of palladium, with a 44% world share, followed by South Africa with 40%. Canada with 6% and the U.S. with 5% are the only other substantial producers of palladium.[ I challenge anyone to go deep underground with these miners in the extreme heat and dangerous conditions, hour after hour day in day out with kilos of back braking equipment and say R12500 is too much. It appears that the price is being fixed at the expense of the blood sweat and tears of our own people so that the rest of the world can drive cheap motor vehicles. Take the oil price for example where it costs $30 to produce. When the body that controls most of the oil supplies, OPEC, don't like the price, they stop production and what happens to the price of oil?? It goes up right? Now we control 80% of the global production, so is a 18% premium on our precious resource a fair price? most people would charge double In that situation.

      Reality - 2014-01-24 07:35

      > From what I gather this technology is relatively new and is in the testing phase and is yet to be tried and tested in the market place. That was 3 years ago.

      Reality - 2014-01-24 07:39

      > Take the oil price for example where it costs $30 to produce. When the body that controls most of the oil supplies, OPEC, don't like the price, they stop production and what happens to the price of oil?? It goes up right? Right..however..other countries do not sit back and just take it.. Google "usa +largest producer of oil" "New forecasts by the International Energy Agency predict the US may achieve energy independence by 2017. America is expected to surpass Russia as the largest gas producer by 2015, and Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil producer by 2017." "The United States, which currently imports around 20 percent of its total energy needs, becomes all but self-sufficient in net terms - a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy importing countries," it said. Nigeria used to export 12 super-tankers of oil a month to the US. Currently it is down to 3 per month. Sure, let us put the world to ransom and see who survives

      Reality - 2014-01-24 07:41

      Automobiles also once was in a testing stage, so was electtricity, cell phones...etc.

      Reality - 2014-01-24 07:45

      So, let's see how Saudi Arabia is going to put up the price when the US overtakes them.

  • Nico de Jongh - 2014-01-23 23:18

    A 100% increase .. are they normal or plain stupid and greedy.

      Phana Dube - 2014-01-24 06:29

      They earn btwn 2.5k and 10k they looking a living wage. Ur statement is made in capetown by DA.

      Simphiwe Charlie - 2014-01-24 06:39

      100% increase on a slave wage, I'd like to see you working in these conditions for 2.5K a month. And guess what a miner in Australia earns - about twice the amount these guys are asking.

      Michael Ntsh - 2014-01-24 06:57

      Simphiwe your situation (SA and Australia) are incomparable. Australia is mechanised and use selective skilled labour. We are talking here about expensive labour intensive methods. Check Randa per Ton reports of these mines and tell me what will fund the increase! If you can only sell an item for R10 and cost of production are R8 per that unit, you cannot hike the costs to R16 per unit just to meet living wage demands because you will not survive a few months of operations. There are various ways of improving the lives of these low earners, and that does not including a thumb-suck figure based on no scientific and financial factors.

      Reality - 2014-01-24 07:32

      > And guess what a miner in Australia earns - about twice the amount these guys are asking. And guess what a miner in China or India earns? About half the amount these guys are earning

      Reality - 2014-01-24 07:33

      And guess what a miner in the mecca of Africa (Zimbabwe) earns? About half what these guys are earning.

      Reality - 2014-01-24 07:49

      > I'd like to see you working in these conditions for 2.5K a month. Yes, especially if everybody else in that sector starts with 4.6K a month

  • Theunis Giel - 2014-01-24 00:09

    Stop complaining. It's only day one, give it a couple of days.

  • Rofhiwa Ronald - 2014-01-24 05:22

    i forsee more dead people than marikana

  • Doring Boom - 2014-01-24 05:36

    Want a peacefull strike? Dead strikers is the answer.

      Simphiwe Charlie - 2014-01-24 06:42

      Amazing the mentality one finds on these forums. This clown thinks we should just kill anyone who has the gall to complain about their wages. The mind boggles.

  • dylan.mugabe - 2014-01-24 06:00

    Biggest platinum reserves in the world. I think we can spare the CEO bonus this year

  • Kevin Marsh - 2014-01-24 06:32

    But the gold guys have pulled one over on the puppies AMCU . Gold 1 AMCU 0

  • Benson Mponzo - 2014-01-24 06:37

    they must stop striking bcs they will lose their jobs or their lives they can't get that R12 500 I don't want to lie.

  • Sonnyboy Simelane - 2014-01-24 06:48

    mining sector created 12 500 jobs in last 3 years peaceful,police managed 12 500 protest not peaceful and Amcu will get R12 500 peaceful economy looks bright no panic

  • Eric Torr - 2014-01-24 06:52

    When will unions learn that in order to get increased wages in an industry that has a volatile price structure such as gold and platinum, production costs per unit must be lowered. This can be done in two ways- either mechanise OR increase production with the current labour force. Mechanising will shed labour. Increased wages without increased output will shed labour. There is just so much of the pot available. You cannot pay more than you earn.

  • Ryan Styles - 2014-01-24 06:53

    The problem lies in the broader picture where the ANC Macro Economic policies have failed and the General Economy of the country has stalled. THe call for a "living wage " is fair and the right of any worker. The problem is that South Africa is entering into an era of hyper-inflation and rising living costs and the ANC has not had the foresight to do anything to prevent that, or at least slow it down.

  • Searcher SA - 2014-01-24 08:22

    Keep going Joseph Mathunjwa, the Rand is now officially almost at junk status. Give that man a bells !! King Kong of the Banana Republic of SA.

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