Miners run amok near Implats

2012-02-16 14:31

Johannesburg - A bottle store was looted and two other shops were targeted in violence associated with the firing of over 17 000 mineworkers at Impala Platinum's Rustenburg operations on Thursday, North West police said.

"People are running amok. We are taking other members there [for] reinforcement," said spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.

Ten people had been arrested.

On Wednesday night, a man died in an ambulance after being found severely beaten and stripped naked near the mine.

A policewoman and several civilians have also been injured in the clashes

On Thursday morning, police were out in force, drawn from units around the province to control the situation, Ngubane said.

About 5 000 people, believed to be part of a group fired for going on an illegal strike, were "running up and down the streets outside the mine".

Rubber bullets not allowed

They had set fire to the disused Freedom Park satellite police station.

Ngubane urged the union and the mine to defuse the situation as it was taking police away from other areas in the province and those communities were being deprived of police services.

Comment was not immediately available from the mine as it was presenting its results for the half year ending December 2011.

In an earlier statement, it said that it had lost 60 000 ounces of platinum since the start of the strike almost a month ago.

Ngubane said no rubber bullets had been fired at the mine following a directive from the police ministry last year that this was no longer allowed in crowd control.

This was because of the high number of serious injuries to protesters and at least one death.

Ngubane said the workers appeared to be focusing on getting to shafts one, two and A2 to shut down the mine.

The injured policewoman, who was hit on the head, was treated for a minor injury. An unconfirmed number of people were taken to hospital on Wednesday night for treatment.

Miners prevented from working also fired

The mineworkers were fired in January after a dispute and an illegal strike, which started on January 12 over a retention bonus. Earlier, it was reported that the bonus was paid to rock drillers, in an effort to reduce high staff turnover.

Lesiba Seshoka, spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), however, explained that it was paid to other miners, and not the about 5 000 rock drillers.

"The rock [drillers] went on an illegal strike protesting against them not receiving the bonus," said Seshoka.

The company obtained an interdict for them to return to their vital rockface drilling work, but they ignored it, and so they were fired.

He said the company had made the mistake of allowing the fired mineworkers to remain on the premises, and that they had prevented the others from working.

Because they were not working, they were also fired. The company then said it would start rehiring miners, making it clear it would not reinstate them as the strike had been illegal.

The difference was that they had to renegotiate their terms of employment and lose benefits such as higher pay for longer service. They saw it as the company taking advantage of the situation to restructure.

In the meantime, the NUM wanted to meet the company to find ways of resolving the situation. It vowed to take strong action against NUM members responsible for violence.

  • Janice - 2012-02-16 14:35

    Fire REAL bullets at the thugs!!!

      TazmandeVille - 2012-02-16 14:42

      They did, they only mentioned that they did not fire rubber bullets :))

      Gerhard - 2012-02-16 14:55

      Thugs? You are far too nice. Total savages. Not much has changed since the days of Shaka, except they have traded in their loin cloths.

  • Farta - 2012-02-16 14:42

    This is what you get when "wekkas" want money - not jobs...

  • David - 2012-02-16 14:43

    And once again we show we are unhappy by looting and violence. This is what the ANC started during the apartheid era now they can't control the little monsters they created.

      Marthinus - 2012-02-16 14:54

      They are going to blame apartheid again anyway.

  • Bomb - 2012-02-16 14:48

    They strike illegally, get fired legally, and then run amok, the first target the's fckn hilarious and an embarrassment at the same time. "We want tha job, but we dont wanta wak" Eish, wena, dis wak is too mach!!

  • carel.jacobs - 2012-02-16 14:51

    Labour Relations Disaster

  • Mhlophe - 2012-02-16 14:53

    Now that's novel. SAP will not do there job because the criminals might get injured. But instead advise the victims to sort it out themselves. Can I get that in writing please with an official letterhead and stamp?

  • MSGRule - 2012-02-16 14:57

    So this is a daily occurence in South Africa to deal with problems. Int he old days it was agaianst the "opressor" and all the other things. Now it is against the employer for more money and who knows what else. In the old days the only thing that worked no particulor order.. 1. Tear gas 2. Dogs 3. Sambok 4. Rubber bullets That used to sort things out, maybe it is time for that.

  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-02-16 14:59

    What a bunch of savages, run around like the children they are because they got punished for causing a disruption. The mine is rite fire the FU(KER$, and the cops are wrong, they should use live ammo. NUM must be sued for damages.

  • david.lebethe - 2012-02-16 15:17

    It served the company right. It doesn't even offer any expplanation for its dicriminatory practices and why it didn't warn workers about possible illegal strike. In terms of common-law, the company was supposed to have warned workers and/or their union about their illegal strike before taking action. I wonder why didn't the union take the company on for its irrational action?

      Gerhard - 2012-02-16 15:53

      Have you read the New Age from yesterday? Groups of workers shouting at their own colleagues to strip naked or die. Nice! I don't care what anyone says, there is never a good reason to go around threatening people with death just because they are trying to earn an honest living. Their behaviour is savage and should not be tolerated. Check out the video, if it has not been removed yet There is no way any reasonable person can tell me that this behaviour is acceptable.

  • Matthew - 2012-02-16 15:19

    So now my comment was deleted??? shame news24,the truth of someones opinion too much to read?

      Peter - 2012-02-16 15:52

      Write in Afrikaans...they dont understand the language :)

  • tshepangr1 - 2012-02-16 15:26

    Can somebody tell us the truth about why workers went on strike?

      TazmandeVille - 2012-02-16 17:51

      Yip..... it's the national pride in South Africa ..... TO STRIKE !

  • Bomb - 2012-02-18 09:14

    FCK, If striking and looting were an item at the Olympics, we would be gold medalists, no contest.

  • Mya - 2012-02-22 15:50

    Did I read this correctly? All this chaos, people attacking people, 5000 running amok, a video of strikers forcing non striking male and female staff to strip and walk naked down the road, police complaining that this is taking them away from work elsewhere. What work! Ten people arrested? How the hell have only ten people been arrested during all this chaos? Don't tell me those cops are working hard. What a joke!

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