Violence is vicious - Mining company
"I do not know any company that has the competency to deal with such vicious acts"
The past week’s violence at Lonmin’s troubled Marikana mine, in North West, was of a vicious nature, the platinum producer said on Tuesday.
“I do not know any company that has the competency to deal with such vicious acts,” company spokesman Barnard Mokwena told reporters in Rustenburg.
“We are dealing with people who crossed security lines repeatedly.”
Mokwena was responding to criticism that the company had failed to protect its workers.
He said the deaths of two security guards, who burnt to death in a company vehicle on Saturday, showed “the kind of people we are dealing with”.
“They were on duty and were killed. This could have happened anywhere.”
Nine people, including two police officers, have been killed over the past few days at Lonmin’s Marikana mine after a protest action that started on Friday.
- The violence has been linked to clashes between members of the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which are reportedly fighting for control of local mines.
Earlier on Tuesday, thousands of striking rock drill operators gathered on a nearby mountain, seemingly to hold a meeting. The men were carrying knobkerries and iron rods.
Mokwena said the level of absenteeism was high. Most workers had opted to stay at home for fear of intimidation.
“We have not closed the mine as we believe the police are able to deal with this matter,” he said.
The mine was running on only essential services, said Mokwena.
- North West premier Thandi Modise called for an end to violent clashes at Lonmin’s Marikana mine.
“We call for [the] cessation of hostilities and for a return to the negotiation table,” she said in a statement.
Modise sent her condolences to the families of the nine people killed since violence erupted at the mine on Friday. They comprise two police officers, two security guards, three protesters and two other men.
“Survival of the fittest, anarchy and lawlessness shouldn’t characterise wage negotiations in the mining sector,” she said.
Modise hoped additional police deployed to monitor the area would bring the situation under control.
- Congress of the People labour spokesman Papi Kganare appealed to the unions and Lonmin to amicably resolve the dispute.
“Cope strongly condemns the use of violence by a section of certain mine workers to prevent others from exercising their democratic right to demonstrate peacefully...”
He described the killings at the mine as “selfish and barbaric” and encouraged the police to find the perpetrators.
Kganare urged the unions “to adhere to and uphold democracy and freedom of association and other freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic”.
He said Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant needed to intervene. “Her silence on this issue is deafening.”
- The SACP issued a statement saying "the mine bosses must take responsibility for their complicity in endeavours to undermine the NUM and provide a fertile ground for anarchy to prevail in the mines".
It alleged that "hose who have an ulterior motive to undermine the political and bargaining power of the NUM have now resorted to violence, including taking away life, in order to diminish the strength of the union. The law enforcement agencies have also been found wanting greatly in this regard".
"This calls for the NUM to take extra measures to secure life of its members unless its proud role will be wiped out by the bullet."
- A turf war between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) caused the clashes that killed nine people, including two policemen, on Sunday and Monday at Lonmin’s Marikana mine. Captain Dennis Adriao said no one had been arrested for the murders, but police investigations were continuing.
- The violence started on Friday following an illegal work stoppage and protest march by about 3,000 Lonmin rock drill operators.
- AMCU, the new union at Lonmin, has 21% of the company’s 28,000 employees as its members.