Mathunjwa wants traditional authority to take mines

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AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa
AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) president Joseph Mathunjwa has urged the Bapo Ba Mogale Traditional Authority to expropriate the land that houses Sibanye’s Marikana mines.

Speaking at the seventh anniversary commemoration event of the tragic Marikana massacre at Wonderkop in Marikana on Friday, Mathunjwa said the time was now for the land to be taken.

“Tell them [Bapo Ba Mogale] that it is time to take these mines now, not tomorrow. The time is right now,” he said to thundering applause from the crowd gathered. He urged the communities to join hands with Amcu to expropriate the mines.

Delivering a two-hour long speech that mirrored a political manifesto, Mathunjwa went on to take a swipe at Sibanye-Stillwater [the new owner of Lonmin], calling the company evil, and referred to government political leaders as managers of white monopoly wealth. Rival union the National Union of Mineworkers wasn’t spared and was called “servants of mine owners”.

“How can you allow capitalists to pray for you because their god is the devil,” he said in reference to a media statement Sibanye issued that said that the company had held prayer services earlier in the week in commemoration of the incident where 44 people, including miners, police and security guards, were killed.

In pre-empting what could happen in the near future, Mathunjwa warned that if he was arrested on trumped-up charges, he would bring a halt to production on all mines in the country.

Read: Marikana: The mining sector needs to transform, says Mokonyane

“I warn you that if I have never broken a law and [I am arrested] from fabricated charges, there will be no mine that will be working on that day,” he said.

Despite the programme stating that the chief executive of Lonmin would be present, there was no representative from the company nor from Sibanye, because they were not invited.

In his typcal evangelising style of delivery, Mathunjwa went on to threaten Sibanye, Anglo and Impala, saying that the union would not be accepting anything less than R1 000 in the current ongoing wage negotiations in the platinum belt.

“We are not going to accept anything less than R1000. In fact that R1000 is [just] for us to even open the talks,” he said.

He also pointed out that the union would not be accepting percentage-based increases as the figures offered were below inflation and amounted to very little wage increase.

The DA, EFF and PAC were the only parties that offered messages of support at the event which was attended by the widows of deceased miners, as guests. Efforts to get comment from Bapo Ba Mogale were unsuccessful.


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