Police, miners negotiating truce

2012-08-15 15:39

Johannesburg - Police and striking miners were negotiating a truce on a hill near Lonmin's Marikana mine on Wednesday afternoon.

A large crowd of workers sat quietly on the hilltop, and occasionally sent a small delegation to speak to the police, who waited near the bottom of the hill.

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.

Likely to be a lengthy process

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.

The striking workers did not appear hostile. They sat quietly on the hill watching a man dressed in white, who knelt motionless against a thick white pole.

It was suspected that the man might be a traditional healer, since the workers first congregated on the hill on Tuesday 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 - have been killed since then.

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

Adriao said a police officer who was injured during the protest on Monday remained in hospital in a critical condition.

Solidarity ‘grateful to police’

Earlier, local residents said most of the men left the hill overnight and returned in the morning.

Trade union Solidarity expressed concern about 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.

"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.

Shabangu ‘engaging’ with police minister

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 non-striking workers. Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu had expressed concern at the violent protests, 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.
Chamber of Mines spokesperson Jabu Maphalala said the employers' organisation would not comment on the unrest as it did not have enough information.

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

Workers also wanted higher wages. They claimed 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.

  • neil.swart - 2012-08-15 15:47

    I wonder if I should kill someone and stand on the pavement with a gun in my hand, would SAPS negotiate with me too?

      andrew.hendrikse - 2012-08-15 16:14

      How low we have stooped!!! murder is murder!! these thugs are murderers and should be rounded up and charged for their collective crime!!

      farmfreund - 2012-08-15 16:52

      Send in the Army or hwat is left of it and solve the problem, the old regime would had this resolved the first day , these people are holding the government hostage , they are nothing better than the Boeremag 20 trail them for high treason

      nettie.potgieter.5 - 2012-08-15 16:54

      Only for 3hours then they shoot you dead. That is how they negotiate in other cases.

  • Willie - 2012-08-15 15:48

    How can the police negotiate truce with thugs

  • Randomhero6661 - 2012-08-15 15:52

    F@ck them... the world doesn't need these type of people... shoot the small delegation one by one...

  • joe.irwin.50 - 2012-08-15 15:53

    2 of their own have been slain by these thugs. No negotiations will bring them back. Jail the lot of them.

  • - 2012-08-15 15:53

    Sounds like Zim land invasions. Noone wants to take responsibility for this chaos.

      larry.piggott1 - 2012-08-15 16:19

      Has this Government ever taken responsibility for anything?

  • nettie.potgieter.5 - 2012-08-15 15:56

    The police must surround the Kopie and prevent them to leave. One night on the Kopie and the power of the muthi wil be gone and it wil be the end of this distructive strike!

  • Shaun - 2012-08-15 15:57

    Why are the police negotiating?

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-08-15 16:21

      I agree, arrest the lot. Use the army if they are too many to handle.

  • kenneth.roselt - 2012-08-15 15:57

    surround them, lock them all up, and fire live rounds if needed. they can then be disarmed and all charged for the 10x murders. Simple.

  • npretorius2 - 2012-08-15 16:05

    R12 500 a month for unskilled labour?? Go to china, Japan, South America and see what unskilled labourers earn there, they will have the shock of their life!! Most of them get free/subsidised housing, free electricity and many more goodies that we don't get for free. Life is unfair. Deal with it, Be glad you have a job and use it to feed your 8 or 9 children. I am so angry now. With an unemployment rate of 30% in SA, be lucky you have a job.

      mike.rockey - 2012-08-15 16:25

      from R4k to R12500; surely they must realise that is unrealistic.

  • Sidney Gilroy - 2012-08-15 16:08

    Lonmin is going to close down the mine. Very,very bad exposure for SA.

  • phoofolo.lebohang - 2012-08-15 16:10

    Its Bad and Sad... two familes they lost their beloved one's, the bread winners and SAPS lost two members. At the end of the day there's a negotiating truce... South African Justice System must change.

  • cape.maori - 2012-08-15 16:11

    Negotiate? Skiet die bliksems and go home!

  • Anele - 2012-08-15 16:44

    Num and amcu leaders were agreed this morning to have meeting to sort this problem out those guys are being used by those mining company and they really get peanuts @end of the day

  • - 2012-08-15 16:46

    Its actually a first: Hostage takers or armed bandits perched on a hill.

  • colin.payne.921 - 2012-08-15 16:57

    I spent almost 30 years managing people in a unionised environment and came to the conclusion that largely decent people, who just wanted to put bread on the table, were continually manipulated by unionists with hidden political agendas. I cannot tell you how many times I cried for the workers who got themselves caught between unyielding untruthful employers and egotistical union secretaries, both sides setting out to prove apoint at the expense of poor people who just got caught up in it. There were times when I had to be escorted out of premises under armed guard because the unions had fired strikers into violent frenzy, and there were times when the employers threatened me for "interfering in things I didn't understand". Once you let that beast out of the cage, it is impossible to control it, so whilst I agree that people should be executed for this travesty, start with those who cause it, those who rub their hands with glee at their use of poor pawns in the game!

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-08-15 17:00

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

  • Watkykj - 2012-08-15 19:00

    2 of your own have been taken! No negotiations! Shoot to kill!

  • Watkykj - 2012-08-15 19:00

    2 of your own have been taken! No negotiations! Shoot to kill!

  • Ganjito - 2012-08-15 20:29

    I am not surpriced by the minister Shabangu statement that those who committed crime must be brought to books. She under an idea that she has not committed crime. \r\n\r\nWhile she should be the one apologizing to the people of south africa for failing to regulate the operating mines and protecting the miners from exploitation.while her department is handing out mineral rights and renewing them, the department has being unable to put enforcement of other government policies and laws passed by the government....I guess in our lifetime your failures minister will be evident with long and violent strikes in north west

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