Union welcomes Zuma's mine killings' probe

2012-08-18 08:42

Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers has welcomed the commission of inquiry to investigate the killing of striking workers at Lonmin Marikana mine in North West.

"The NUM strongly believes that such a commission is necessary and would help unearth the motive forces behind the senseless violence," said the union on Friday.

NUM said the commission should help the country understand the underlying threats faced by the country's democracy.

It said the public display of dangerous weapons, threats and intimidation should have no place in the South African democracy.

President Jacob Zuma earlier announced that a commission of inquiry would be set up to uncover the truth behind the shootings at the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg where 34 protesters were gunned down this week.

"We remain fully committed to ensuring that this country remains a peaceful stable, productive and thriving nation that is focused on improving the quality of life for all," Zuma told reporters at the Lonmin conference centre.

Thirty-four people were killed in a shoot-out that erupted near the mine on Thursday when police tried to disperse striking miners.

More than 78 people were injured. Another 10 people had by then been killed in the violent protests at the mine over the past week.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) over recognition agreements at the mine. Workers also wanted higher wages.

  • spartanx93 - 2012-08-18 08:49

    Unions...... the cancer of SA labour!

      mofstok - 2012-08-18 10:04

      I would keep my mouth shut about this if I were the Unions: they were directly responsible for the violence leading up to this event. They deserve the blame for this.

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-18 10:18

      Spartanx93, The probe will be as useful as that of: de aliens commin down an probing dere by de barn. Dey will probe de poeple an den dey will probe de udder poeple and den dey will discov ver dat it was,- YES!, the 3rd FORCE! If the SAPS is at fault can we (tax payers), afford another scandal, court case and millions paid in liability? If the Union is at fault, can they afford another scandal, court case and millions paid in liability? So do not hold your breath for any result of a probe being published before ....well when Jesus comes. Except a preliminary result that will resulting more ANC voter support?

      christof.coetzee - 2012-08-18 10:56

      I can tell you now, the ANC, ANC affiliates, followers and unions are actually HUNGRY TO BLAME THE POLICE... we're starting to see more articles and photos depicting the "poor suffering people", they gonna play this event on emotions and not logical reasoning(like always) and blame the police for this, because then they win the sentiment of the black masses and unions, will be a good strategy for the corrupt government. I feel really sorry for those families who lost their husbands/fathers, but again, if you want to carry deadly weapons, strike violently, act criminal and threaten the policemen's lives then you have basically signed your own death-sentence.

  • anthonycharles.williams - 2012-08-18 08:59

    How the F$$k can you "unions" of South Africa welcome the probe, it,s becauce you that those men are dead, and you to stupid to even see that. You all must hide your brainless heads in shame.

      spartanx93 - 2012-08-18 09:55

      The unions said their supports are ready to die......

      max.reynecke - 2012-08-18 09:57

      The probe is just an ANC strategy to give some hope to the hopeless of this country. It creates the false hope that the government cares for its citizens while all of us with half a brain cell knows that nothing could come from any probe no matter what the outcome. But then again, never take someone's hope away, it might be the only thing he has left.

      sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-08-18 10:37

      The fact of the matter is that strikes are progressively becoming more violent. This situation is becoming more volatile with every passing day. The strikers are demanding 120% salary increases, because unions are encouraging it, making promises they can't keep to get membership. You have the employer on one side, worker on another, and not one, but two unions stirring it up. It is a dangerous recipe...

  • smallies - 2012-08-18 09:06

    will the fact that the protestors killed 10 people also be investigated or only the police who acted in self defence

      shirley.steenkamp - 2012-08-18 10:05

      Aha,but didnt you know that the person causing the problem always becomes the "victim" in this country.People always complain police dont act on crime-well if 2 of my collegues have been slaughtered by a raving mob and they are threatening my life,then I would do the same.Unfortunately,then there are probes etc into why the police retaliated. It was clear on the footage,guns were taken from those shot,so lets be real-you dont show up for a "peaceful" protest brandishing a gun!!!! In this country its ALL about the criminals rights!!!

      louis.lourens.54 - 2012-08-18 11:06

      WTF? Why wasn't a commission set up after the 10 people were killed last week as well??

  • vivian.harris.73 - 2012-08-18 09:07

    They would welcome it as it shifts the blame away from them. And not all 34 were killed by police....10 were killed by the protesters...don't forget that!!!!

  • iceman196 - 2012-08-18 09:10

    omg, is it possible to be more stupid, you lot murdered police officers, you attack the police with pangas and spears and hell knows what else, and you expect no retaliation, you are more thick than I thought, even after they tried to reason with you, nope, all you know is violence and hate and more violence (Shrug my shoulders in disbelief)

  • michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-18 09:17

    Sorry I have to post here, the last article is closed for comments. Some of you were asking about the average pay scale of miners overseas. Australia = $110 000pa USA = $70 000pa RSA = $6000pa The one lady, I forget her name, was mentioning the cost of living overseas compared to here and said you cant compare, please remember that precious metals mined in USA, AUS, RSA etc. sell for the same price. Gold in SA sells for the same price it does in the USA. The only difference is overseas mine companies / mines, dont make some ridiculous profit of say 500% pa, RSA mines do because quite frankly we have slave labour doing the work. How do you think this country became so rich in the, "old days" not much has changed if you ask me. Secondly there were many comments that said that doesnt justify the killing of policemen and security guards, well of course it doesnt, but we were talking about salaries here. Bottom line the mine workers in this country are exploited, and this needs to change today.

      larry.piggott1 - 2012-08-18 09:51

      I hope that you mean R6000 per month? On another point, Australia, American and first World Miners are in general highly trained and intelligent. They dont go on a rampage every time something does not go their way.

      anthonycharles.williams - 2012-08-18 09:56

      you maybe right, but the unions were fighting each other over the workforce members, money was only the after thought, not the main reason for the fighting. So the unions are to blame for this, no one else.

      magomarele - 2012-08-18 10:09

      true, mining is a very risky work and I know many miners who perished in the line of duty. The exploitative wages reflected above for SA employees reflect some of legacies of cruel apartheid system. The multinational corporations are taking advantage of our social instability and poor government leadership. Things like these will give way to breeding ground for radicalism leading to people like Malema to claim lost ground. We'll be doomed.

      fanie.brink.5 - 2012-08-18 10:09

      You don't have a clue what you are talking about!!!

      ken.loveland.5 - 2012-08-18 10:10

      Metal selling prices relate back to the companies income. Income relates back to the workers capacity to spend in that country, so the $ value is not a true picture. Another thing to remember is that the miners in those countries are highly skilled and their mines are mechanised. Our mines are labour intensive, creating jobs and income for lower skilled workers, therefore a lot more labour to obtain the same output. Otherwise the mines need to be mechanised and thousands would then have no income.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-18 10:52

      Not sure where you got your figures from. See here for Rock Drill Operators in the USA. Seeing as it is the RDOs demanding the increase. Click on the Salary tab which states the median as $42 050 PER ANNUM

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-18 11:27

      No larry, thats equivalent, a rock face mine worker (the most dangerous job) gets R4000pm with NO pay rise, maybe a bit higher in other mines, but not by much. And they are HIGHLY skilled miners, we have some of the best miners on the planet, we didnt just dig down to 4500m with buckets and spades. We hold all the records for the deepest and most productive mines in the world. Try organise to go down one, you'll be shocked and *pooh* yourself at the conditions, ambient air temp is almost 50 celcius with huge cooling systems. When you hear a rock burst you'll soil yourself. And YES 1st world countries miners do strike like ours, UK 1984, Coal miners in Madrid, etc etc. I find it strange that our police were trying to disperse a riot with no riot gear but with tactical gear. And I hate to tell you Ken, metal prices ARE the same world wide, do you watch the news??? The only difference is operating costs, and again I hate to burst your bubble but operating costs in the UK, USA, AUS is far higher than in RSA. And @lacrimose.wolf... that is for surface water drillers and core samples, that is not a miner per say in this instance. There is a serious difference to a rock face miner 2.2km down a platinum mine and a bloke in a little hole getting core samples.

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-18 11:30

      @lacrimose.wolf... thats for a coal miner, one of the most dangerous mining jobs out there, look at the salary and please do your research before you just willy nilly posting a salary of a core sampler / driller. There is a big difference bro.

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-08-18 12:59

      michael.barns, thank you for laying out the facts. You are getting to the root of the problem here. It's unfortunate that so many here are refusing to understand.

      ?? - 2012-08-18 21:24

      I'm a foreigner here. I'm not an expert on the situation in South Africa and I'm just some ideas from a 3rd party. 1. Dear Michael, you just can't compare the salary like this. Think about the average salary of American is more than $45,000 p.a., while which of South African is only $5,000 p.a. One important reason of the high salary of miners there is that they're in a richer country. 2. Maybe you're angry at why the miners only earn $6000 pa but the owners make billions of dollars. There's no absolute fair in the world. Think about another question: Why miners can make $6000 pa while 25% of this country make nothing because they can't find a job? After all, the labor price is partially decided by the market. It's also unfair and unreasonable that if some worker can hold a job of $18,000 pa while somebody else, who can also do this job, is desperate finding a job. 3. If you really think the owner of the mine is making too much money, what you should do is make them to share the benefit with all South African people -- I believe the mine should belongs to all South African, not only including the miners and the owners of the mine. Only triple the salary of miners -- is nothing more than only foster another privileged group. 4. If someone is really higher skilled, I believe it should be much better to find another good job than this dangerous and low paid job, instead of shoot somebody and risk being shot.

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-19 11:11

      jeeesus christ do i have to draw you a picture. mining for precious metals is very different to say making a hamburger. Base metal prices are THE SAME PRICE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, therefore in the USA if I dig out 10 ounces of Gold I can sell it for, (depending on the WORLD gold price) $15000.. If im in RSA and I dig out 10 ounces of gold I can sell it for $15000.. are you starting to understand and getting a clear picture here? The ONLY difference is the operating costs of the mines themselves, this is what leads to a difference in the year profit, so whilst in RSA we have a profit of 500% in the USA you have a profit of 50%... I am still yet to see miners in the UK, USA, AUS, Germany, Spain etc, live in shacks (those are little tin houses) next to the mine, it is only in RSA that this happens, and why???? Well ill let you try and decipher that one. And with regards to your, "stupid" comment about because there arent enough jobs in the country one should just shut up and accept any old job at any old price and be happy with it is just plain retarded. Oh and the next comment about why dont the miners just go find another job, I know miners that have worked on the mine for 30 years, and do you know what they have to show for it? You guessed it, hardly anything, they will go back to the rural lands and live in a mud hut on the scraps of their pension. For you to say they should just go and find another job is plain ludcris, this is what he has specialised in his entire life.

      Aaron - 2012-08-19 17:51

      1. Dear, you should widen you eyes and look at more of the world. Low salary happens in all poor countries - you should see China Indonesia India or somewhere else. It's so blind you only look at the rich country - They also have cars everyone, do you also mean everybody in South Africa should be granted a car? 2. The real fairness based on the proportion of the salary of miner to the average salary of the country. Consider U.S: $70,000 to $45,000, and South Africa: $6,000 to $4,000. If you want to be fair, easy - tell South African Government to make effort to raise the value of Rand 10 times. The miners soon get $60,000 p.a. now. - But does it affect anything of their life actually? Dude, you really should study more about international trading. 3. Besides, one simple truth all around the world: what you should earn is based on what you do, not based on what your boss earn.

      Aaron - 2012-08-19 20:33

      After all, I'm not saying $6000 pa is fair enough in South Africa, considering its dangerousness. But your way of comparison is thoroughly wrong. What if I tell you in China a college graduate is only making $6000 annually? And I also don't think $18000 pa is fair. Compared to most people who's jobless or making $4000 pa. Do the miners worth $18000 pa? The greedy of mine owner just can not justify the greedy of the miners. If you really think the capitalist make too much money, you should make them leave money to this country, to benefit all the people. If you want change the country, tell me what you gonna do for the jobless? They're much more miserable than the miners. The salary in rich country is actually unsustainable - they're too arrogant and lazy to deserve what they've earned. See all the economic crisis happening in U.S and Europe.

  • Joubs1957 - 2012-08-18 09:21

    And today Comrade juli ass is going to adress the miners???? More violence coming soon - watch this space!

      iceman196 - 2012-08-18 09:38

      i can imagine what will come out of fatsos filthy fat hole, probally its because of the whites and there comrades are dead and because the mines and farms havent been nationalized, the real tragedy is that they are so uneducated that they will believe him

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-08-18 09:24

    The unions themselves should be probed!!! They are the cause of this mess!!!!

  • pjugroop - 2012-08-18 09:25

    Don't waste tax money on Dead people!!!, use it on the thousands of poor who are still alive! IDIOTS

  • Ntsikelelo KaThemba Majola - 2012-08-18 09:25

    This is a true reflection of where our lovely South African country is heading to, under this arrogant leadership of ANC, Now they want to waste our money on a commission, instead of compromising the fat cats mine owners money by increasing employees salaries, Becareful ANC maybe next rulling term will be your last.

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-18 10:19

      This country is not going there. It has already arrived

  • kim.buren - 2012-08-18 09:25

    The Mineworkers Union are the ones with blood on their hands. Can they not manage their members. Your members are the ones that make this country unstable.

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-18 10:20

      Kim the thing is that they do not want to manage their members. I bet you your breakfast that this is exactly what they wanted so they can force the mines hand in to getting their way

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-08-18 09:29

    I don't understand what is behind the Union rivalry but the mining industry is a special case. The work miners do is highly skilled, soulless and dangerous, and in so far as it is done underground it is life shortening and spiritually destructive. But mineowners pay them like shop assistants. I expect Government to say: We know nothing about running a mine, but we are the guardians of human rights; we lay down a minimum tariff wage; we will increase the powers of safety inspectors; should strikes occur for more than the tariff, we will broker negotiations. We are not responsible for mineral price fluctuations, but we will guarantee the survival of the industry, because it is a key industry - it earns foreign exhange.

  • Petzer.Franc - 2012-08-18 09:41

    Will there also be a probe into the deaths of police and security guards?

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-18 10:35

      It will be covered under the same probe

  • mosesbongane.sibanda - 2012-08-18 09:44

    anyone who say well done to the police is cerebrating the killing ,and is evil and he doesin't belong to SA ,is not one of us .

      brendon.nel.7 - 2012-08-18 09:55

      Is not one of us? What's that?

      zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-18 10:00

      People are not celebrating the killing of mine workers, they are celebrating the police defending themselves from being killed. Which is something they are trained to do

      anthonycharles.williams - 2012-08-18 10:06

      You are man enough to wright this post, so are you man enough to wright to those two police members wifes,families and tell them to get the f$$k out of this county because they are evil and dont belong here? YOU "is not one of us" get it!!! no dont think so

      shirley.steenkamp - 2012-08-18 10:20

      So you agree then,that police can be killed,thats its ok to act in purposful violence to get an increase??

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-18 10:51

      us, them....this is what causes division, one of us, one of them, no one is celebrating the killings, people are supporting the police for trying to peacefully deal with a very aggressive protest & only resorting to using live ammunition when absolutely necessary (when they were attacked, see video footage)

      somikazi.pita - 2012-08-18 10:57

      What did you expect the police to do? Just stand there and wait to be killed? You know they're humans too with families right?

  • peter.fraser.92754 - 2012-08-18 09:44

    Probe the unions as well. They have a record of violent protests.They are the real instigators.

  • magomarele - 2012-08-18 09:51

    good work by the police. Those mine workers are nothing but thugs.

  • mfanafuthi.samson.9 - 2012-08-18 09:53

    Num is the worse union to help their members they only eat our money.they will not fight for workers because they are bribed every where.num is useless I say again num is useless.its a scheme of labourbrokers they only suck blood to their slaves.

  • busani.mabunda - 2012-08-18 09:55

    ZUMA INQUIRY ...... (yawning) .. ZZZzzzzzz

  • brendon.nel.7 - 2012-08-18 09:57

    Just another commission of enquiry. Does our government do anything other than hold commissions of enquiry

  • maxie.ellse - 2012-08-18 09:59

    "We remain fully committed to ensuring that this country remains a peaceful stable, productive and thriving nation that is focused on improving the quality of life for all," Zuma told reporters at the Lonmin Mine. Which country is he living in.

  • fanie.brink.5 - 2012-08-18 10:03

    "We remain fully committed to ensuring that this country remains a peaceful stable, productive and thriving nation that is focused on improving the quality of life for all," Zuma told reporters at the Lonmin conference centre. This must tne the joke of the year!!! Whenever the ANC leaders say something like "for all" or "for poor people" we all know at this stage they are only joking because they are then already trying to see how they can pocket more money through corruption!!!

  • mosesbongane.sibanda - 2012-08-18 10:03

    those people they fight for more pay ,because they work hard and the mining benefit very few people ,why they did not pay them in the first place ? until they shoot and kill them like that, like animals, and all over in the world was watch on TV , that was sad and sham .

      magomarele - 2012-08-18 10:18

      police didn't attack the miners, miners attacked and charged with fire arms and phangas. Police had to defend themselves. Two officers had already been murdered by those thugs and we can't allow our police to die carrying guns. They should defend themselves. Well done to our police.

      zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-18 10:58

      The world all over is asking themselves \Why are protestors protesting with weapons?\. I've seen protests in other countries, people there take a bath, dress well then go to have a peacefull protest and the police only to go to them to make sure that they'll have a safe protest, not to fight with them because they see a threat.

      nathan.willemse.3 - 2012-08-18 11:29

      @moses when anyone attack you with an dangerous weapon you defend yourself or will you stand, run or allow yourself to be killed. The 2 police officers, 2 workers and 2 security gaurds was killed by the same miners you defend. I don't support the killing of the miners but I believe that if you or any of the people blaming the police were put in that situation as the police you would have pulled the trigger to protect yourself. I know I would have

  • koolHD - 2012-08-18 10:07

    Its time we eradicated clueless leaders. If i was zuma i'd resign as the head of state.

      zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-18 10:14

      Only to be replaced by another clueless leader?

      B.b. - 2012-08-18 11:15

      I wonder if Zuma was representing DA, what would be the comments?

  • mario.polanski.3 - 2012-08-18 10:12

    The mine workers need to realise that if you recklessly play with fire, you are going to get burnt, and it will not help to try and put the blame on everyone else but yourself. Quite cynical that sixty years later, Sharpeville is re enacted all over again, but this time by the liberators of the oppressed.

  • fanie.brink.5 - 2012-08-18 10:15

    Zuma will now do his best to capitalize on human suffering because there is nothing more important to him than the next election!!!

  • zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-18 10:20

    Zuma is not a mine worker or a member of Num, and he didn't order the violence and the protest. Your blames on him will solve nothing because they are uneducated

  • nick.tarr.39 - 2012-08-18 10:21

    If it had nothing to do with rival unions then why were rival union members targetted in the first 10 days... Poverty effects every sector dont see auto workers killing each other. Logic is tough wont lie.

  • charmaine.mcdonald2 - 2012-08-18 10:22

    Unions are to blame for this. Other comments have already been written below.

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-08-18 10:23

    Commendable Mr Prez !! NOW how about a commission of enquiry into the arms deal and your participation in profit ??

  • jafta.thotse - 2012-08-18 10:32

    this realy threaten the democracy of our country, people have constotutional right for peaceful strike. we hope the commission of enquiry will realy find the motive behind this, may their soul rest in peace

      somikazi.pita - 2012-08-18 10:47

      Yes peaceful, those strikers were NOT peaceful at all.

      Ndongz - 2012-08-18 11:22

      Was the strike peaceful with people carrying weapons singing war songs, I doubt. Was the strike legal? I doubt so who was really unconstitutonal?

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-08-18 10:39

    Are the unions paying their wages while they strike? Ig not why are they paying membership fees? overseas unions pay wages when they call a strike?

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-18 10:42

    The mineworkers were used by the unions to fight their battles, but if you believe the lies they preach & are stupid enough to take up arms against their enemies, then you deserve the trouble that comes your way when you start attacking them. There are snake in the grass, beware of them.

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-08-18 10:50

    Of course NUMSA will come out squeaky clean. We all know that THE NUMSA held in high esteem in the ANC. They also hold the sword because the have the voters on their side. It is just going to be a waste of time and energy. The correct thing to do, wont be done. A bleeding country for all to see.

  • Ndongz - 2012-08-18 10:56

    There's a great part of me that believes that NUM had a lot to do with this massacre and if the inquiry discovers this,NUM members should be arrested...

  • ashley.bloxham - 2012-08-18 11:12

    The wit okes will be blamed again!!

  • omatsepe - 2012-08-18 11:28

    When workers go on strike, production is down, the company doesn't make money! Investors threaten 2 pull-out, pressure is put on government! They have 2 end the strike @ all costs! Cause they run @ a loss themselves! Its all about money in this world! That's how the system works! Money has taken value over life ever since its introduction in this world! That's the bottom all boils down to that!

  • george.moganyaka - 2012-08-18 11:35

    Thorough investigation is needed in this matter cos nw bread winners

  • lwazi.sibiya.10 - 2012-08-18 11:59

    That enquiry will find AMCU union guilty of starting violence bcos mine management and NUM can never be wrong. As for NUM who pledge their 100% support for Zuma in mangaung, hands will wash each other but bottom line people were slaughtered

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-18 14:37

      This is the truth.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-18 14:36

    Num welcome the probe, ... is it because the script is already written in their favor. ???? It is going to be interesting to see how many lies are going to be portrayed as truth in this commission. Even more interestingly is the amount of lies which is just going to be accepted by the general population of South Africa.

  • wade.johnson.58726 - 2012-08-18 20:20

    I find it strange that the Police get all the blame from the Mob. The NUM & AMCU clearly deserve blame. And why don't we hear anything about the two Policeman that were hacked to death by the crowd, three days prior. I know that the Police are going to be the Scapegoats. Though, the real issue in this country is the violent & unlawful behavior when Strikes & Protests take place. Burning tyres; turning refuse Bins over; vandalism & in this instance, moving in on the Police when intent to attack them with; Pangas; Knives; Spears; Firearms. What else were the Police meant to do ? Run away ?

      heinrich.swart.3 - 2012-08-20 08:22

      As in the past.

  • ?? - 2012-08-18 21:25

    5. However $6000 p.a. is comparatively low considering the work is quite dangerous. But I don't think it's a smart move to ask for tripling the salary at once -- I don't believe anyone on the earth can accept this kind of terms easily. It could be much better to ask for raising the salary gradually, just like what Eskom is doing on the tariff. That's the art of negotiation. Violence is no good to anybody.

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