Rubber bullets fired at Amplats workers

2012-10-30 09:23

Johannesburg - Police in South Africa on Tuesday fired rubber bullets, teargas and stun grenades in clashes with Anglo American Platinum miners, as a deadline passed for 12 000 sacked workers to reclaim their jobs.

At least 1 000 miners defied an ultimatum to return to work by 07:00, clashing with police and blocking roads amid accusations that they set fire to a power sub-station at the mine in north-western Rustenburg.

"Police used teargas, stun grenades as well as rubber bullets", to disperse around 1 000 strikers, said police spokesperson Dennis Adriao.

Police said the workers had blocked fire engines from the sub-station, thought to have been set alight in a pre-dawn attack.


Thousands of Amplats workers who were sacked early this month for going on an illegal strike were given an option of returning to work on Tuesday morning if they wanted their jobs back.

The deal was brokered in negotiations last week by the main National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in talks with Amplats.

But the workers refused to go back to work until their pay demands are met.

"We are six weeks on strike, we can't go back to work empty handed," workers representative Siphamandla Makhanya said, confirming clashes between workers and police. "There is a lot of shooting and things like that today."

Police said the Amplats power substation was set ablaze around 04:00 and "approximately a thousand or so strong people tried to barricade the police and fire brigade from getting there".

"Since then we have been having clashes with this group of people", which is trying to block roads and hurling rocks at the police in and around the informal settlement of Nkaneng, where many workers live.

Amplats, the world's number one platinum producer, had agreed to rehire the workers after six weeks of strikes that have shuttered its mines.

One-off allowance

The global miner gave the workers until Tuesday to return on existing wage agreements but with a R2 000 one-off allowance if they did so.

But some striking workers were adamant they would not be persuaded to return to the underground until there's some form of pay rise.

"Workers are very interested in going back to work as long as management is prepared to put something on the table," said Makhanya indicating the miners were softening their stance from the 16,000 rand per month their initially demanded.

"If our salaries can be adjusted from R2 000 upwards, they can go back to work," he said.


Amplats promised to give the numbers of workers who showed up later in the day.

A wildcat strike in August at Lonmin platinum mine has had a domino effect engulfing nearly the entire mining industry in South Africa as work stoppages spread to other platinum mines and gold sector as well.

The strikes sometimes turned violent leaving nearly 60 people dead.

The unrest has cost R10.1bn in lost production this year, pushing the country's yearly growth forecast downward to 2.5%.

The industry contributes up to nearly one fifth of GDP when related activities are included.

  • lorain.maseko - 2012-10-30 09:33

    Then they gonna start hacking policemen and get shocked when they are shot at.

      frank.kistler.31 - 2012-10-30 09:42

      "I see a bad moon rising.....i see...trouble ALL the way"

      jack.blacking.56 - 2012-10-30 09:55

      IT's quite clear that these strikers are blackmailing the company, how can you prevent entry to fire trucks and ambulances or intimidate anybody else that wants your job. These people should be shot will real rounds.

      gift.mushi.9 - 2012-10-30 10:02

      Apartheid to blame. Whites are poison.

      djmarcosa - 2012-10-30 10:32

      @ gift.. you know you guys should get over the apartheid nonsense now.. 20 years have gone by and that's all you guys know about.. get a life and work for a change.. stop making excuses.. if you want something go and work for it..

      pieter.calitz - 2012-10-30 10:36

      ANC to blame. They did not give the people free houses, free electricity, free water, free KFC, massive pay increases ... as promised in the election

      aniken.vader.31 - 2012-10-30 10:37

      gift - you are simply too sad for words! Man - i LOVE watching this tennis game between the haves (the anc) and the have not's - the anc voters)...! Come the next election, the SAME DEEP#$#$#ts will vote for the haves (the anc).! gift,....Savy?

      Cameron - 2012-10-30 10:37

      @Everyone, just report the troll, gift, as it is trying create further division between us. Dont stoop to ITS level.

      jon.jones.90663894 - 2012-10-30 12:36

      @Gift --- actually your name means poison in German. Knock off the t and it's poison in Afrikaans. Your scribbling is poisonous as well. Everything about you is so poisonous you should be branded with a hazard warning sticker. The antidote to your poison is education , IQ exercises and reading a few history books.

  • DJcrouse - 2012-10-30 09:33

    I really think dis striking has gone on far enough .... its time to put a stop to this.!!

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-10-30 10:18

      It is not so clever to continou striking when you have been fired. They should leave the area or go back to work.

  • lhensby - 2012-10-30 09:35

    Call the airforce in and bomb the morons,meet violence with violence, lead is much more effective than rubber!

      john.turner.58760608 - 2012-10-30 09:49

      Jan Smuts did it in the 1920's

  • ben.spreeth - 2012-10-30 09:39

    These strikers seem to be out of control. Somehow this has to come to an end. If violence is the only answer, so be it.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-30 09:47

      There's a total dearth of problem-solving skills across the entire spectrum in our country.

  • frank.kistler.31 - 2012-10-30 09:48

    "I see a bad moon rising.....i see...trouble ALL the way"

  • arthur.letlhogonolo - 2012-10-30 09:49

    violence is not good, but i think this bosses regard it as a good strategy to deliver the message to them!

  • warren.rodel - 2012-10-30 09:49

    We have 51.8 million people in this country, no one will miss these slackers if they are put down.

      kenpeg.dawson - 2012-10-30 10:07

      I dont think they are ours but migrant workers from outside our borders.

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-10-30 09:50

    So now they have discovered that there are different ways to deal with crowd control ?

  • john.turner.58760608 - 2012-10-30 09:51

    That's right let's destroy the place where we work, so that when we do get our payrise and our worklace is now in ruins, we can get a higher redundacy payout.

  • ben.alexander.16144 - 2012-10-30 09:51

    If these aggresive and armed strikers attack the police and the police should retaliate with force, will these aggresive and armed strikers who gets killed again be the "victims"? Will we again be told how sad this day is because the SAP did their work in protecting themselves and the people around them? Will our money be used to have the families of these "victims" at hearings? Or, will the idiots in SA see these "victims" for what they really are, armed and murderous thugs?????????????

      warren.rodel - 2012-10-30 09:54

      these strikes are starting to make a great conspiracy theory.

  • deon.louw.7505 - 2012-10-30 09:52

    They are breaking many laws, arrest them all. If you don't have place in jail make use of army tents. We need law and order.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-30 09:59

      The Presidency is too pre-occupied with trying to appear victorious over a cartoonist right now. These miner problems are minor so please do not bother The Presidency with trivial matters.

      johannes.ramara - 2012-10-30 10:25

      The so called Dale Mpofu is shouting high and vocal claiming to the Marikana Commision that the miners were peaceful. Look at what they are doing now.

  • mart.botha - 2012-10-30 10:10

    You cannot and must not try to fight terrorism with rubber bullets. Systematically and with the requisite authority, take out the ring leaders with sniper fire, and keep doing it until they disperse.

  • issa.kabudula - 2012-10-30 10:21

    When the juniors are striking for more cash - the seniors get even bigger cash based on the percentage worse still they don't take part in striking.

  • Joe Thembinkosi Khosa - 2012-10-30 10:26

    Miners.....miners.....strike....police...rubber bullets daily news in S.A nowadays....

  • strikeback.strikeback - 2012-10-30 16:47

    Strike back with

  • bobby.boon.18 - 2012-11-06 11:22

    CITIZENS There is 12000 open Job Placements Available sa MINES Dont hesitate Apply now if those apes dont want thier jobs then I am sure there is 12000 people in this country that would be willing to take the jobs available and if those on the strike make more trouble then reply with equal force!!!!

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