Lonmin offers strikers a bonus to go back to work
And scraps bosses' share options - While Malema makes 'cop death threat' claims
Striking Lonmin workers have been offered a once-off bonus in the hope of getting them back to work, a National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) negotiator says.
“They have been offered R1,500 once-off, which is available until tomorrow [Wednesday] for them to report to work,” said NUM's Eric Gcilitshana.
Employees were considering the offer, he said.
Talks aimed at ending the strike, which began with normal procedural warnings on August 10, are set to resume later today. A revised increase amount is on the table. It was not the R12,500 workers originally wanted but reports differ on the actual amount.
Meanwhile, Business Report says Lonmin has scrapped a performance scheme that awarded shares to senior executives.
In Malema's words...
And in Sandton today, expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema claimed that police threatened to kill him at Wonderkop Stadium when he was denied entry on Monday.
“Police threatened to isolate us and kill us,” Malema told a news conference.
“They pushed us out against our will... even though we were invited there to speak.”
Malema further said that after the August 16 shooting, where 34 striking miners were killed, police and civilians carrying weapons should have been disarmed.
And Malema asserted that President Jacob Zuma had militarised police “like all dictators” when he took office.
“Jacob Zuma is a liability to South Africa and the ANC.
“Like all dictators, he only concentrates on his village Nkandla.”
Malema said Zuma was only interested in his family, and would plunge the country into a “deeper crisis”.
“It’s not about a person who sings beautifully and dances nicely.
“Zuma is highly compromised... he has got no capacity... maybe in cultural activities...”
Malema also said Zuma was a “divisive leader who believed in conspiracies”.
Zuma told Parliament last week that action would be taken against those suspected of inciting violence.
“It is also some people of some description who are going there to instigate miners to operate in a particular way,” Zuma said at the time.
“It cannot be accepted. And therefore we are looking into that; we are going to be acting very soon.”
Prior to this, Malema had told striking miners at Gold Fields near Carletonville not to return to work until their demands were met. He also called for a national strike to take place once a week, every month.
Last week, Malema also visited SA National Defence Force soldiers in Lenasia, who are facing disciplinary action for a protest at the Union Building in 2009. Malema criticised government and accused it of ignoring the needs of SANDF members.
How the economy is reacting...
The wildcat strikes in South Africa’s platinum belt are now in their sixth week and investors are worried.
Critics say Pretoria’s response to the strikes has been slow and ineffective, exposing the government as ill-equipped to handle crisis and lifting the chances of a credit downgrade.
The rand has tumbled, insurance against default on South African debt has risen and foreign investors have sold shares in mining companies.
“The lack of government appearance or intervention is one of the most concerning things. What’s that saying about any crises that we have in this country? It doesn’t appear that there’s anyone to pull it all together,” said Nic Norman-Smith, a fund manager at Lentus Asset Management in Johannesburg.
Violence at Lonmin Plc’s Marikana mine last month left more than 40 people dead, 34 of them striking miners shot by police in the bloodiest security incident since the end of apartheid in 1994. The killings shocked South Africa and the world but Zuma and his government have done little to show they were on top of the unrest, started by miners demanding higher wages.
“I think they’ve been particularly poor in addressing it, in addressing the country as a whole,” said Mohammed Nalla, an analyst with Nedbank Capital in Johannesburg.
For weeks after the Marikana shootings, Zuma mostly avoided the subject while dispatching cabinet ministers to the region for what was seen as symbolic shows of sympathy.
Government arbitrators pushed for a “peace accord” to calm the situation, which stoked anger among the strikers who said they wanted to discuss money before anything else.
After weeks of criticism, Zuma’s government said on Friday it would clamp down on “illegal gatherings” and police seized weapons from striking miners over the weekend. Some investors fear this will just anger the strikers further.
“What you have in South Africa is a weak economy and scary politics,” said James Syme, a senior fund manager at JO Hambro Capital Management Group in London, who helps manage 500 million pounds in emerging market equities and is underweight on South African assets.
“The policy environment makes no one happy, neither the electorate nor the corporate.”