Miners singing war songs, waving weapons

2012-08-15 16:51

Johannesburg - Striking miners gathered on a hill near Lonmin's troubled Marikana mine began singing war songs on Wednesday afternoon.

The men, who had been sitting quietly earlier in the day, periodically stood up and started chanting while waving traditional weapons.

A huge chorus echoed down to police and journalists camped in the area where 10 people have been killed in violent protests since Friday.

Earlier, the protesters periodically sent small delegations to speak to the police, but these negotiating parties had not ventured down the hill for some time by 15:00.

Through powerful lenses police watched two men who appeared to be leaders of the group. A mysterious man dressed in white, who kneeled motionless against a white pole for some time earlier in the day, had disappeared from the scene.

Rumours that a leader of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) would address the workers could not immediately be confirmed.

Earlier, Captain Dennis Adriao said the police were trying to negotiate a truce with the workers, who were armed with knobkerries, iron rods and pangas.

He said it was believed the protesters were also in possession of two police service pistols, taken from two officers killed in clashes at the mine on Saturday.

Police wanted to disarm the men to stabilise the situation and reach an amicable solution.

Adriao said negotiations began on Tuesday night and that it was likely to be a lengthy process.

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".

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.

The protests are believed to be linked to rivalry between the 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 have included pay of R12 500 a month.

  • Willie - 2012-08-15 16:57

    If cops believe that this thugs are armed to teeth,then they need to round them off and arrest them. You cannot negotiate with thugs

      Robert - 2012-08-15 17:18

      The army should be on standby

      nosiphom.mazibuko - 2012-08-15 17:47

      Not arrest them - shoot anyone who rasists an finger and refuses to back down.

      rodney.bevan.58 - 2012-08-15 18:12

      @ Robert, which army is this? The one that's on paid leave at the moment? Yeah right. LMAO

      claudia.meads - 2012-08-15 18:28

      But I thought the police simply shoot armed civilians dead. Eg: The white French geriatric "fugitives" who were sprayed with heavy bullets, on the spot (no questions asked), while it took the police days to track them over a distance of some meters only. Later it was claimed they "committed suicide" - despite their bullet riddled bodies and after an army of 70 pursued them..??? Or perhaps like the white KZN farmer who was promptly shot dead by police, when he walked into a heavily police ambush, when he came out of his house to meet police. Or perhaps like the white woman who was promptly shot dead in front of a Kempton Park Police Station because a policeman could apparently not hear what she said... Let me assure, were this a group of armed white South Africans, the heaviest military weapons available would have been used to brutally mow them down. In the North Gauteng Court are a group of people who killed ONE person - who will likely be jailed for life. Here we have a mob of armed terrorists who have already murdered TEN people - yet the police negotiate with them..! This is the utter insanity that is post-'94 SA. Are the murderous mobs of the Platinum-fields getting preferential treatment because they are part of the ANC's core constituency? Decide for yourself. Is this the consequences of the sanctions against pre-'94 SA. It is time that the rest of the world is being shown the real face of the monster their naivety had unleashed.

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-08-15 17:07

    Ah - they've received more muti.

  • bmoloko1 - 2012-08-15 17:10

    As long as the employers continue to exploit workers,the workplace shall know no peace.

      brett.bruce.121 - 2012-08-15 17:21

      As long as you continue to believe that nonense you shall know no job security.

      alfred.neumann.142 - 2012-08-15 18:40

      I'd still say the violence is unnecessary but I might even be able to understand their anger if their wages were cut from R12500 to R4000 a month. They weren't. If R4000 is what was offered to them when they signed up then they can't all of a sardine realise that they're not going to get rich doing unskilled manual labour and go on a category 5 chimpout. Tell me bmoloko, what employer in his right mind would EVER consider hiring a bunch of violent, knuckle dragging thugs like this? Not me. No thanks, I'd rather have a guy who actually wants to be there, and I can promise you that they aren't hard to find.

      Watkykj - 2012-08-15 18:44

      Alfred...their wages were not cut! That is what they have been earning. They just want more now.

  • hudayfah.newman - 2012-08-15 17:28

    Aha!Now we know what the secret is of superman and the rest of the superheros, brave medicine. Getting it from africa and smuggling it to america. Well i'll be. . . . I always knew those yanks were conniving thieves.

  • wendetutubalang.wende - 2012-08-15 17:29

    The provincial goverment must declare the state of emergency in that are by ensuring deployment of security services to that troubled area. The police must make sure that, all people who are behind that unwanted behavior must be arrested and be jailed for maximum sentence because we can't afford to have mass killings in this democratic county which is the lead by our beloved president,comrade Jacob Zuma. No stone should be left unturned

      maokeng.mankge - 2012-08-15 17:40

      Unfortunate u dnt watch news n u not up to date,already there are soldiers,special task team in that area

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-15 17:38

    Close the mine and send them home, sorry for the innocent people. They do have the work as in other Europe an Asia but they demand. let them go.

  • tricia.sutherland1 - 2012-08-15 17:46

    thugs singing war songs - bring in the army then. this is not 1900s!

  • - 2012-08-15 17:46

    They were quiet in the morning, they are singing in the afternoon and in the evening they will be looting and killing. I am not a sangoma but mark my words. They should have been dealt with by now.

  • gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-08-15 17:49

    Just fill the mines with concrete. cancer just blows the proceeds anyway, so it won't make much difference to our country.

  • itse.nnete.1 - 2012-08-15 17:52

    These mineworkers are not thugs,they are frustrated employees sick of working so hard for so little salaries.As long as there is a huge salary margin between the employers (CEO included) and their employees(the labourers),there will always be strikes.As long as the employers are not willing to negotiate in a civilised manner,the strikes will get bloodier and bloodier.These men are someones father,someones husband.Desperation calls for desperate solutions.I'm in no way condoning violence.These are underpaid labour.

      nettie.potgieter.5 - 2012-08-15 18:02

      I would like to hear your comments when this mines closes and nobody have jobs.

      itse.nnete.1 - 2012-08-15 18:09

      @ nettie.potgieter.5 Then we will just have to nationalise them wont we...

      nettie.potgieter.5 - 2012-08-15 18:19

      Then your problems will be way more. Just look what the coverment is doing to the country now!

      rodney.bevan.58 - 2012-08-15 18:21

      @ Itse, nationalising the mine won't make any difference, do you really think these miners will suddenly stop striking illegally once the mine is nationalised? I suppose you believe in the tooth fairy and Santa as well.

      Watkykj - 2012-08-15 18:38

      Killing innocent people and they not thugs?? Get out of the f@#$ing crack coma you are in!! All these \frustrated employees\ need to hand over the thugs responsible for death of innocent people or go down with hail storm of bullets!

      Watkykj - 2012-08-15 18:39

      Killing innocent people and they not thugs?? Get out of the f@#$ing crack coma you are in!! All these \frustrated employees\ need to hand over the thugs responsible for death of innocent people or go down with hail storm of bullets!

      emilyjane.elson - 2012-08-15 20:12

      Employers don't negotiate in a civilized manner? I see murdering thugs not being civilized and you blame the employers? If people are smarter and work harder they deserve the payout they get. They've killed people and it's okay because they're frustrated?? If that's the case then I'd have killed many people by now but you don't see us running around like hooligans "offing" people! FFS

  • ken.rowe.509 - 2012-08-15 18:02

    If a group kills police officers and others then they have waived their rights and should be taken out by maximum force. Simple.

  • Meister01 - 2012-08-15 18:27

    Just move in with force. Take out the murderers. Because that is what they are. Striking is one thing. But violence and murder? They each deserve the bullet.

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-15 19:57

    These people will demand higher salaries, free houses, free water, free electicity, free schools and claim for all there children. No claims after 2 children. All these woman claim for ten children from 8 fathers and all the fathers gone awol. If the don't pay lock them up.

  • GratiDaGreat - 2012-08-16 08:45

    Although I dont agree with the the stance of the nationalisation of mines. The driving forces are understandable. The people of SA are tired of having whites who are sitting in airconditioned houses watching, through their CCTV cameras and TV screens, black people simply asking for a livable and reasonable pay for the hours they spend in dark a nd dangerous mines then call their demands unreasonable and unattainable. Violence is wrong and should not be condoned, but this is the paradigm set decades ago. Violence was used to fight for political freedom. And if peaceful negotiations dont seem to yield any benefit, be sure there'll be violent protests until some sort of economic freedom is reached by the marginalised and poor.

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