Miners now face murder charges
TENSIONS are simmering once again as striking Lonmin mine workers's harden following the laying of murder charges against their arrested colleagues.
Workers gathered under the sun near the mountain yesterday where their 34 colleagues were murdered and nearly 100 wounded and more than 200 arrested.
All this while a government-initiated peace accord meeting between warring unions NUM (National Union of Mineworkers), Amcu (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) and stakeholders was in process.
Irate workers told Sowetan that they would not return to work underground until their demands were met, a resolve that has been toughened by news that their detained colleagues would have murder charges added to public charges.
They are demanding that their arrested colleagues be released.
"The whole world knows that we were shot at and killed (when the police opened fire). There is no evidence that we fired a single shot," said one of the workers, Sakhumzu Zawa.
Workers threatened that they would withdraw their delegation of five men from the peace accord meeting should their demands not be at the top of the agenda.
Lonmin said yesterday in a statement that the company understood that employees were waiting for the environment to be safe before returning to work.
The company has denied that it would fire arrested workers, irrespective of the outcomes of the charges against them. Earlier, Lonmin, had been quoted as having said that the arrested workers would not be re-employed.
"Lonmin believes that those arrested are innocent until proven guilty by the courts. Decisions will then be made regarding dismissals, or disciplinary procedures."
Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini was part of the peace accord meeting. He declined to comment until talks were concluded.
The meeting is attended by Lonmin management, unions, workers representative, religious leaders and officials from the department of labour. - email@example.com