Police sent to Wonderkop Stadium

2013-05-14 15:54
(Werner Beukes, Sapa)

(Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Marikana - A large number of police were at Wonderkop Stadium, in Marikana, North West, where Amcu members were expected to meet on Tuesday afternoon.

A water cannon, a number of police vans, and Nyalas were parked outside the stadium. Lonmin workers were bused in from all 13 shafts of the mine. Carrying knobkerries, sticks, and umbrellas they filed into the venue singing: "Police are dogs. They must leave."

Marikana made international headlines on 16 August when police shot dead 34 striking Lonmin miners while trying to disperse them. Ten people were killed the week before in strike-related violence.

Most workers gathered at the stadium on Tuesday wore green Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) T-shirts, or yellow T-shirts with the National Council of Trade Unions' emblem on the back.

Lonmin operations were disrupted on Tuesday morning as workers went on a wildcat strike, demanding the shutdown of the National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) office at the mine.

One worker, Amos Maja, said the NUM was no longer a majority union at the mine and should give Amcu space to operate.

"We want Amcu to operate free[ly], that's why we want the office of the other union to be closed."

Lonmin confirmed operations were suspended on Tuesday morning because of the strike.

"We can confirm there is a stoppage. Workers arrived for work, but did not go underground. The reason for them not going underground is unclear," said company spokesperson Sue Vey.

Strikers said they wanted police to arrest those responsible for murdering Amcu regional organiser Mawethu Steven, who was shot in Photsaneng, in the Nkaneng informal settlement, on Saturday.

"Police are here watching us while the murderers are roaming the streets. They must go down and track those killers," Maja said.

An NUM shop steward and his twin brother were also shot dead in Nkaneng on Saturday.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Gauteng urged law enforcement agencies to focus on the area around Lonmin's Marikana mine.

"Our members are victimised each and every day," Gauteng Cosatu secretary Dumisani Dakile told reporters in Johannesburg.

Dakile said Cosatu was concerned about security in the area and he called on State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele to ensure the situation was under control.

"They must be able to deploy all necessary resources to make sure that particular area remains calm, and no one is injured, and no one is killed."

Earlier, NUM regional co-ordinator Mxhasi Sithethi said the situation at the mine was tense.

"People are singing outside our office, demanding the closure of the NUM office."

Read more on:    lonmin  |  cosatu  |  amcu  |  num  |  siyabonga cwele  |  mahikeng  |  mining  |  uprising

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