Church leaders hopeful of Lonmin deal
Negotiators for striking Lonmin workers believe that a deal is in sight to end the six-week strike at the mine in Marikana, North West.
“We have been mandated to negotiate on a specific figure,” said Jo Seoka, president of the SA Council of Churches.
Workers have been on a wildcat strike since August 10, which turned violent and 45 people have been killed since it stated. The government has deployed soldiers to the area to back-up the police in restoring law and order in Marikana. Seoka said workers were of the view that soldiers should protect the country and not privately owned entities such as mines.
The wage talks continued late into the night on Monday, according to the CCMA.
“There is incredible commitment from all the parties and the civil society groups that are involved to try and find resolution,” CCMA director Nerine Kahn told SAfm.
“We know that the whole nation is watching.
“We also would like everybody just to be a little bit patient, because it’s important in the negotiations that you follow procedures and try and make sure you keep the confidentiality... so people have the opportunity to report back to their constituency and they can make decisions as opposed to hearing from the public domain.”
Kahn said she was hopeful that an agreement would be reached soon, and said there was “significant commitment”.
“Everybody in the room is trying to find each other.... They are trying to find ways of ending this impasse.”
Miners held a meeting yesterday to be briefed on developments about their wage demands. The SACC leader commented: “This meeting demonstrated that workers were not violent, they were not carrying any weapons. All their weapons have been taken by the police”.
The crowd went over to singing, mocking President Jacob Zuma. “We are being led by idiots - Zuma,” they sang.
Their jovial mood changed when expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was denied entry into the Wonderkop Stadium.
Malema had visited families of people injured when the police fired rubber bullets at residents of Nkaneng on Friday.
He then made his way to the stadium and the police gave him ten minutes to leave or risk arrest.
He was escorted under heavy police guard out of Marikana. Police followed him until the N4 highway.
Workers said they were not aware that Malema was to speak to them.
“We regard him as our hero. He saved us when we were arrested by getting us lawyers to represent us in court,” said Ephraim Ndoko.
He said he was keen to hear Malema speaking, because he gave him courage.
Malema is expected to address media in Sandton today.
“The press conference will ... speak to the physical prevention of Malema from addressing mineworkers in Marikana despite the plea that he should come address them,” suspended ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu said in a statement. "The press conference will [also] make concrete reflections on the political developments in South Africa." - Sapa