Lonmin workers back on hilltop

2012-08-15 14:11

Johannesburg - Striking miners gathered on a hill in Wonderkop near Lonmin's Marikana mine on Wednesday while police helicopters circled overhead.

Local residents said most of the men left the hill overnight and returned in the morning.

On Tuesday afternoon, they vowed to stay there until their demands for higher salaries were met. It was believed the men went to the hilltop to receive traditional medicine to "make them brave".

Police restricted access to a road leading to the mine on Wednesday morning, and a fleet of police vehicles approached the hill.
Residents of a nearby village meanwhile continued their daily routines.

Work without fear

Trade union Solidarity expressed concern over the safety of non-striking workers at the mine.

General secretary Gideon du Plessis said the union was grateful to the police for sending reinforcements to the area since Monday.

"We believe that employees can work under the current circumstances, but we will continually monitor the situation together with Lonmin's management," he said.

"Although there is a strong police presence in the veld and residential areas near the mine, Solidarity is of the opinion that the shafts at the mines must be safeguarded to enable employees to go to work without fear."

If the union felt its members were not adequately protected, it would hold talks with mine management. Police spokesperson Captain Dennis Adriao said protecting the mine shafts was not in the police's jurisdiction and referred questions about these security arrangements to the mine.

Lonmin was not immediately able to comment on the protection it was affording to non-striking workers.

Adriao said no violence had been reported by 11:30. No arrests had been made by this time either.


Earlier, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu expressed concern over the violent protests at the North West mine, her office said on Wednesday.

"The minister is gravely concerned, and is condemning the violence at Lonmin's Marikana mine, and will engage with the minister of police," her spokesperson Zingaphi Jakuja said.

Shabangu said those who committed crimes during the protest needed to be brought to book.

Lonmin described the situation at the Marikana mine as "calm" on Wednesday morning.

"Things are calm but there is a heavy police presence," the company said just after 09:00.

Details relating to the death of a 10th person were still emerging. It was unclear when the man was killed. His body was discovered on Tuesday, the platinum producer said.

Chamber of Mines spokesperson Jabu Maphalala said the employers' organisation would not comment on the unrest as it did not have enough information.


On Friday, thousands of Lonmin rock drill operators started an illegal strike and protest march.

Ten people - two police officers, two security guards, three protesters and three other men - had been killed since then.

A Sapa reporter on the scene said the body of 10th victim, clad in khaki, was found about 100m from a hilltop where workers gathered on Tuesday afternoon.

The protests are believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) over recognition agreements at the mine.

Workers also wanted higher wages. They claim to be earning R4 000 a month, with those living outside the hostel earning an extra R1 000.

Reported demands included pay of R12 500 a month.

  • martin.ferguson.7311 - 2012-08-15 14:23

    bring on a lightning storm!!!!!!!!

  • allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-08-15 14:23

    A miner dies in accident at mine , union war drums rage . 10 people needlessly murdered and its like they on holiday overseas. Unions , caring for workers or contributions.

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-15 14:44

      10 or 12 in a taxi and they do not even react. And while the police is watching them, while they are watching the police, crime to be prevented and the regular police jobs come to a standstill while criminals have whale of a time. And we watch another nail being hammered in...

  • carolyn.dewrance - 2012-08-15 14:24

    So if they want to strike let them, why interfere and get killed.

  • barry.ahern.3 - 2012-08-15 14:37

    R12500 a month...for unskilled staff operators...? Really, you are kidding. You are piad R4000 beacuse thats what you are worth.

  • Chriskoi1 - 2012-08-15 14:38

    Skiet voor die voet en jy sal sien hulle sal hardloop .Man die jammer Zhaka Zulu is nie hier nie hy sal almal dood maak by die tyd unions ingesluit.

  • stompie.mcgwapspap - 2012-08-15 14:40

    Back to our Roots! LOL

  • DJVANMAN - 2012-08-15 14:44

    Minister Shabangu please have the Unions involved in this strike (NUM & Amcu) pay comopensation to the families of those who died. And charge the leaders of these unions with Calbable Homicide. Maybe then Unions will think twice before launching a strike and how they control their members. These Unions are only in it for the money and not really for the greater good of their members.

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-08-15 14:48

    Ban this totsi union!!

  • irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-08-15 14:57

    They must like the view from that hill.

      kevin.pitzer - 2012-08-15 15:35

      LOL Irene.....but somehow its better for each group to be isolated until this whole situation can be diffused !

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-08-15 15:16

    Murdering scum..

  • Randomhero6661 - 2012-08-15 15:46

    napalm the hill... if you can't find the murderers then they must all suffer, screw this i want more tendency... my boss don't pay me right but i don't go sit on a hilltop wielding a knobkierrie. tsek you bastards!

      dexter.morganson - 2012-08-15 17:26

      That's because you're a white man. You have absolutely no balls between your legs to stand up for what is right. You can admit your boss is stealing from you but you don't have the back bone to stand up and do anything about it. I don't agree with the violence they committed. Shoot the lot of them in my opinion, but as far as the wages go. It's their right to want to improve their living conditions.

      marjolein.groenenstein - 2012-08-15 18:50

      I agree, my boss don't pay me right but its not like I go and strike for more. Life is tuff, what you get, you must appreciate atleast they get something. I hope so they get fired.

      dexter.morganson - 2012-08-15 22:22

      "At least it's something" How defeatist. Just settle for the bare minimum. That is what that crap line of yours comes down to. So the company robs me of R5K a month, boohoo so what? At least I have a roof over my head...for now anyways. If idiocy could take a physical form it would most assuredly manifest itself into 95% of the idiots that type on this site. Oh wait...

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-08-15 15:53

    Up the hill, down the hill, kill a few cockroaches, back up the hill, more muti, down again......

  • peter222imnida - 2012-08-15 15:59

    Reminds me of an old song praising the braveness and endurance of an animal very dear to us. For those of you can hold the note and remember some of the words, here goes; "Bobbejaan klim die berg, so haastig en so lastig bobbejaan klim die berg om die boere te vererg hoera vir die jollie bobbejaan!

      marjolein.groenenstein - 2012-08-15 18:46

      I like this comment, so true

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-15 18:21

    The longer they stay on the hill the beter. Lots of radiation from the electical wires, hopefully no more children that they can look after.

  • marjolein.groenenstein - 2012-08-15 18:40

    I live in Marikana and I honestly think they don't just put their lives in danger but the lives of other people, children, the police, army and mostly the other workers working on the mine... As far as I'm concerned you must ask for permission to a strike and they didn't, this strike is illegal! Its not only they that ae struggling in live, everyone does, live is hard, deal with it, if they can't they must go back to where they belong, I bet most of them if not all of them come from Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and those countries, they don't belong in SA or doing our jobs! Just fire them, its an illegal strike, people are dead and if it contiunes other will die too, easy way, if they don't like what they are getting they must get fired and try to survive on zero, then they can try to strike. Its just so unfair that they can get away with anything, they must be taught a lesson

      dexter.morganson - 2012-08-15 22:26

      Wrong...Lonmin employs South African citizens. Those are your boeties going on like that. Another thing though...Why is it ok for the company to illegally steal the workers wages and underpay them like they are doing, but it's not ok for the workers to "illegally" strike? Since when was one illegal action ok but another not?

  • marjolein.groenenstein - 2012-08-15 18:59

    In Afrikaans there is a nice saying; jy kan die bobbejaan uit die bos haal maar nie bos uit die bobbejaan nie. I agree to one of the other posts, you get paid R4000 because you are unskilled that is what you are worth, I have stuff behind my name and I don't even pay that much. R12 500 for unskilled people, you must be crazy!! Then I want your job

      dexter.morganson - 2012-08-15 22:27

      I'd pay you to say that to Richard Branson...Now there is most definitely an unskilled person if I ever saw one. I wonder what he's worth by South African slave standards?

  • njdejager - 2012-08-15 22:21

    Let them stay on the hill all they want. Until the hill gives them R12000. No brain no pain. Go land the helicopters its costing the tax payer money. They dont want to do anything anyway. The police can " monitor the situation" from the bottom of the hill.

  • pages:
  • 1