Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mthethwa: 35 killed in mine violence

Mthethwa: 35 killed in mine violence
2012-08-17 07:55

VideoLonmin mine shoot-out footage
2012-08-16 19:22

An attempt by the police to disperse striking workers at Marikana's Lonmin mine ended in a shoot-out, watch the footage here.

Related LinksMine shoot-out death toll rises to 25
Lonmin mine shoot-out footagewatch
What were we supposed to do, police ask

Johannesburg - No violence was reported at Lonmin mine in Marikana, North West, overnight after 35 people were shot dead there on Thursday afternoon, police said on Friday.

"Police have been patrolling the area, but the situation remained quiet after the shooting," said Captain Dennis Adriao.

ENews quoted Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa as saying that 35 people had died in the shoot-out.

"Police did everything they could... but people [miners] said they were not leaving and are prepared to fight," he said in an interview with Talk Radio 702.

Provincial health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said no injured people were admitted to hospital although Mthethwa countered this.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega will hold a media conference on Friday at 11:30 at Lonmin Training Centre.


Read more on: police | lonmin | mahikeng | mining | protests | crime | labour


Zuma backs police in mine massacre

Flashpoint ... Police officers walk through dead bodies moments after opening fire on protesters

by Staff Reporter

Bloodbath ... A police officer walks past dead bodies of miners


SA cops fire on miners, '18 killed'

Zuma axes top cop, reshuffles cabinet

SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma refused to condemn the police on Thursday after up to 18 miners taking part in wildcat strikes were shot dead.

Zuma, who is in Mozambique ahead of a SADC summit which gets underway on Friday, said he was “alarmed and deeply saddened” that an industrial dispute at the Lonmin platinum mine in Rustenburg “has degenerated in this manner leading to tragic loss of lives of so many people.”

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said officers “did their best” in a volatile situation, posing the question: “Now, what should police do in such situations when clearly what they are faced with are armed and hardcore criminals who murder police?”

Before Thursday’s clashes, 10 people – including two police officers – had been killed in turf wars pitting the country’s largest mine workers union, which is closely allied with the governing A.N.C., against a radical upstart union demanding sharp increases in pay and faster action to improve the grim living and working standards for miners.

With the opposition Democratic Alliance calling the shooting a “massacre” and demanding an inquiry, Zuma markedly would not condemn the officers who opened fire.

“We are shocked and dismayed at this senseless violence. We believe there is enough space in our democratic order for any dispute to be resolved through dialogue without any breaches of the law or violence,” the President said in a statement.

“We call upon the labour movement and business to work with government to arrest the situation before it deteriorates any further.”

Zuma said he had instructed law enforcement agencies “to do everything possible to bring the situation under control and to bring the perpetrators of violence to book.”

Mthethwa said police initially tried to peacefully disperse the protesters who have been on strike for a week by deploying tear gas and using water cannons. It is claimed shots were fired at the officers during the operation.

The minister said: “We had a situation where people who were armed to the teeth, attacked and killed others even police officers and, for the record, one of the firearms used was that of our deceased police officer.”

Frans Baleni, general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, defended the police in an interview with Kaya FM.
“The police were patient but these people were extremely armed with dangerous weapons,” he said.
Video footage of the shooting made headlines worldwide as it showed the moment police officers armed with machine guns fired on machete-wielding workers, leaving a field strewn with bodies.

The killings will widen a deepening fault line between the governing African National Congress and a nation that, 18 years after the end of apartheid, is increasingly impatient with deep poverty, rampant unemployment and yawning inequality.

The strike and the government’s iron-fisted response are emblematic of the frustration with the slow pace of transforming South Africa’s largely white-owned business establishment and the growing perception that the A.N.C. and its allies have become too cozy with big business. As a result, many people, especially the young, have looked for more radical solutions.

“N.U.M. has deserted us,” said one of the striking workers, who gave his name as Kelebone, referring to the older union, the National Union of Mineworkers, by its ubiquitous acronym. “N.U.M. is working with the white people and getting money. They forgot about the workers.”

Kelebone, who works as a winch operator, said he was paid about $500 per month to do difficult, dangerous work.

“We need more money,” he said.
Like most of the workers who walked off the job last week, Kelebone, who is 28 and sports a long mane of dreadlocked hair, is a member of the Association of Mine Workers and Construction Union, a newer and more radical union.

When Joyce Lebelo moved to the informal settlement near the platinum mine in 1998, she built only a tiny shack, thinking the new government would soon provide her with a proper house. She is still waiting.

“When we voted we didn’t think we would spend ten years living in a shack,” she said, sitting beneath the tin roof of her tin-walled house, which she has expanded over the years to include a kitchen, bedrooms a dining room and wall-to-wall carpeting. But bricks and mortar, never mind running water and electricity, are still a distant dream.

“The promises they made, they have not delivered,” Lebelo said. “The people who got power are fat and rich. They have forgotten the people at the bottom.”

Lonmin, the London-based company that operates the mine, shut down operations on Tuesday amid the violent strike.
For the past three days, workers armed with machetes, sticks and wooden cudgels occupied an outcropping of rock near the mine, chanting and dancing, pledging their readiness to die if their demands were not met.

“The struggle, the struggle, it will liberate us,” they sang, shuffling in formation with their machetes held aloft.



  2. The Unions should know - You don't go to a gunfight with an Okapi & skin shield!