Striking miners want to call a national march
"We are going to be intensifying and escalating the strike. We are going to make sure that there is no wheel turning in each and every mine in the entire country"
The date for a national march by striking mineworkers would be confirmed by Thursday, AngloGold Ashanti workers were told on Wednesday.
“There will be a meeting [on Thursday] to confirm the date,” Democratic Socialist Movement spokeswoman Liv Shange told thousands of striking workers.
They were gathered on a hill at the Mponeng mine outside Fochville in the North West, attending a mass meeting.
They have been on strike since September 25 for better wages.
Shange said a national strike committee was formed in Rustenburg last week. It included Limpopo and Northam mines in the gold, platinum, and chrome industries.
“The next step for that committee is to march on the Union Buildings, hopefully on November 3, to take this struggle to government.
“We have thousands and thousands of workers that have been on strike now for weeks and government needs to feel this and needs to respond.” Fellow spokesman Mametlwe Sebei told the workers they were not alone.
“We are going to be intensifying and escalating the strike. We are going to make sure that there is no wheel turning in each and every mine in the entire country.”
He said their demands for better wages were not unreasonable.
“You are breaking the chains that they have tied your hands with for far too long.”
The movement was calling for nationalisation of mines, much to the joy of mineworkers.
“Not only the few must get rich, but the communities must benefit,” Sebei told the crowd.
Workers representative Rodgers Motlhabane, said they would stay on the hilltop until their demands were met.
“We are not going anywhere.”
Earlier, worker’s representative Tshepo Motloi, said one of the miners’ representatives was arrested on Monday for incitement.
Six workers were arrested on Friday for public violence. “What public violence?” he asked. “They say they burnt people’s car[s]. No cars were burnt.” The men appeared in Fochville Magistrate’s Court on Friday afternoon and were released to appear again on November 16. Motloi said seven more people were arrested on Saturday on the same charge. They appeared in court on Monday and were released on R1000 bail each. One man still remained in jail as the workers tried to collect his bail, Motloi said.
As the workers waited for the meeting to start they sang and danced. Some were carrying sticks and pipes.
There was a strong police and security presence at the bottom of the hill. A helicopter was circling the hilltop.