||Violent protesters denied bail
Look Local 23 October 2012
Some of the protesters arrested for violent behaviour were denied bail when they appeared in the Benoni Magistrates Court on Thursday, October 18.
Their case has been postponed to October 25.
Last week, the Benoni SAPS and metro police arrested more than nine rioters who took part in the violent protest on October 17.
Benoni police spokeswoman Lieut Nomsa Sekele said the nine were charged with public violence.
This is after some protesters pelted stones at officials who came to receive the memorandum at the Customer Care Centre, in Elston Avenue.
Protesters also vandalised a number of shops and cars.
In Actonville, police also arrested eight hostel dwellers who remained in a rampage mood all day.
Police spokesperson Capt Mack Mngomezulu said they had gathered outside the hostel following the march and hurled stones at passing motorists throughout the day.
“Motorists were advised to use alternative routes,” said Mngomezulu. Mngomezulu added that a number of protesters sustained injuries when they trampled on each other. “At least four were admitted to the Tambo Memorial Hospital,” he said.
Angry miners stone Vavi's car
News 24 19 October 2012
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi’s car was pelted with stones on Friday while visiting striking miners in Orkney, reports say.
Vavi was on his way to visit a third hostel at AngloGold's mine when angry workers attacked the vehicle.
AngloGold media told to leave the area because "it is too dangerous", after Vavi's car was pelted with stones,” Aldrin Sampear, a Jacaranda FM journalist tweeted.
Earlier, miners at a different hostel became hostile while Vavi was addressing them, with many walking away.
Jacaranda FM reported that Vavi had to be whisked away by bodyguards.
Cullinan joins mine strikes
Sowetan 19 October 2012
MORE than 1000 workers at the Premier Diamond Mine in Cullinan, northeast of Pretoria, have embarked on a strike.
The strike, in which employees are demanding a basic salary of R12500, entered its fourth day yesterday. The miners have vowed not to go back to work until their demand has been met.
They also vowed to picket outside the mine's main entrances "as long as management does not involve police", according to regional officials of the National Union of Mineworkers.
Management has warned that the strike is "illegal and unprotected" and gave the miners ultimatums on Wednesday and yesterday to return to work. On both occasions, workers stuck to their decision to return only after their demand had been met.
According to parent company Petra Diamonds' group support manager Egbert Klapwijk, the demands were outside their current two-year wage agreement which was reached at the collective bargaining chamber.
Klapwijk said the agreement only ends on June 30 2013.
Miners reject Zuma's plea
Sowetan 19 October 2012
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma's stern call to militant striking mineworkers to return to work has been bluntly rejected by striking workers who instead are threatening to escalate the industrial actions.
Zuma, whose government has been accused by workers of being on the mine bosses's side, issued the directive after holding a high-level meeting with business and labour on Wednesday.
He reminded the striking workers that the country had a collective bargaining system where they could raise their grievances.
But workers whose representatives held a meeting in Rustenburg yesterday to finalise plans to march to the Union Buildings, dismissed Zuma's orders and have instead threatened to intensify the strikes.
Spokesman for the Strike Workers Coordination Committee Mametlwe Sebei said workers expected Zuma to engage mining bosses to agree to a living wage.
"It is wishful thinking from President Zuma that workers will return to work because he says so. Workers are on strike because they want decent pay for their labour. We expect more mines to strike and march to Union Buildings.
"The president should be worried that we still do not have legislation on a minimum wage. We are also very disturbed that under him the government has deployed the army and police and their presence is destabilising peace."
Meanwhile, workers at Lonmin Platinum Mine will down tools today in protest against alleged police harassment.
A Lonmin worker, who refused to be named, said police had descended on Karee 3 shaft and arrested workers.
"They are arresting anyone who has been identified as being a ring leader during the strike. We are holding a meeting tomorrow and then we are going to embark on a strike," said the worker.
Lonmin management confirmed in a statement yesterday that there were sporadic labour disturbances at its mine
"This is apparently in protest against the arrest of three mineworkers in connection with criminal investigations by the South African Police Service."
Operations at Lonmin resumed last month after workers settled for a 22% increase.
Meanwhile, police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane refuted the workers' allegations that they were being harassed.
He said the police had arrested two suspects in connection with the murder of a fellow mineworker during the labour unrest at Marikana.
"In the past weeks, mineworkers have been brutally murdered and police have been working ... to try and arrest the perpetrators."
Medupi workers march to Eskom
Sapa 19 October 2012
Workers involved in the construction of the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo, marched to the local Eskom offices on Friday to hand over a memorandum of demands, Numsa said.
"The memorandum dealt with a wide range of issues, the main one being that locals employed in the project are regarded as general workers," National Union of Metalworkers of SA regional secretary Jerry Morulane said.
"We are saying this cannot be allowed because they need to train and develop the workers. The workers need to continue with their lives beyond this project."
He said nearly 3000 workers participated in the march.
This number could not be immediately confirmed by police.
Morulane said the majority of workers involved in the construction of the station were employed by labour brokers -- as opposed to Eskom or its contractor, Murray and Roberts.
"We believe that this is slavery of the worst kind."
He said workers were also being harassed by a security company at the site that employed guards from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"They intimidate our members. This is like something that happened in the apartheid era," Morulane said.
Thina Sonke residents protest
IOL News 19 October 2012
Johannesburg - Residents of the Thina Sonke informal settlement in Phola Park, near Alberton, blockaded roads on Friday morning, Ekurhuleni metro police said.
At 5am residents blockaded the road with burning tyres, various objects and big rocks, said Inspector Kobeli Mokheseng.
“They occupied the Old Vereeniging Road... including the M7 between Petersen and Kliprivier roads.”
Mokheseng said the protest had ended, but he still did not know what the residents had been protesting about.
“Even though we managed to defuse the situation together with the SA Police Service, we will observe and continue to monitor the situation.”
He advised motorists to be careful when driving in the area. - Sapa
Strike closes Toyota factory
Lungelo Mkamba 18 October 2012
Production came to a standstill at Durban’s Toyota Boshoku factory on Wednesday when 480 workers went on strike.
This was after negotiations between the management and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) deadlocked over the workers’ demand for a R1 500 retention bonus, the union’s regional secretary, Mbuso Ngubane, said.
The factory, near Prospecton, makes seats and door trims for Toyota vehicles.
On Monday, the factory’s management informed the staff of the intended strike and said it would seek an interdict in the labour court on Tuesday. But the move backfired when the Durban Labour Court granted the workers the right to go on a protected strike.
Ngubane, who was leading the negotiations with management, told The Mercury they had been offered R300 which they had refused.
“The strike will continue today (Thursday). They will report to the front gates of the factory and picket peacefully,” he said.
Ngubane said the dispute started in 2009 when Toyota gave artisans a retention bonus of R1 500. This decision was taken outside the bargaining chamber and it angered the workers.
The factory’s spokeswoman, Charmaine Lottering, said
: “No production is going on. Management is dealing with the issue and hopefully this will be resolved quickly.”
When asked if they would use the no work, no pay rule, she said this was usually what happened.
Lottering said she could not divulge how much the company had lost as a result of the strike.
Bus drivers ordered to return to work
City Press 18 October 2012
The Labour Court has ruled that Rea Vaya bus drivers in Joburg must end their strike and return to work, the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has said.
Samwu spokesperson Phumlile Shange said the order was made yesterday.
“This is an interim ruling and we are meant to meet with the employer of the bus drivers to discuss this further,” she said.
The court gave Samwu 25 days to contest the decision.
Piotrans, the company contracted to the city to operate the first phase of the bus service, said it had met and reached an agreement with workers.
“The buses should be operating as usual from this afternoon,” said Piotrans spokesperson Dumisani Mntambo.
He said it still planned to meet the unions to discuss the drivers’ demands.
“We have an open-door policy and we are willing to address their concerns.”
Commuters have been stranded since Monday, when bus drivers decided to go on strike.
Piotrans failed to reach an agreement on a labour dispute with the bus drivers on Friday, and a strike notice was issued.
Samwu said it was demanding an increase in workers’ salaries and better employment conditions.
The union also wanted a change in the shift system, because the one currently being used was “strenuous, and slavery”.
It also called on Piotrans to pay workers’ contributions to a provident fund from the time they were employed.
Soweto police threaten stayaway
Sowetan 18 October 2012
Johannesburg metro police officers in Soweto are threatening a stay-away if changes are made to the current shift system, their union said
Officers who were SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) members wanted the current shift system to remain and have additional officers deployed to Soweto wards instead, spokesman Jack Mokalapa said.
“If these demands are not met there will not be any officers on duty over weekends, starting this weekend.”
Mokalapa said metro police management wanted to introduce a new shift system with 10 metro police officers on duty per ward, every day.
“The shift system the employer wants to introduce will not be able to provide 10 officers per ward, as instructed by the mayor, because the current staff compliment in Soweto is less than 280 officers with 48 cars, meant to service 37 wards.”
This would cause safety problems for officers as some did not carry firearms.
“Workers’ safety will be prejudiced as they will be forced to do foot-patrols in the evening, leaving them vulnerable to criminals... also a quarter of these officers do not have firearms,” Mokalapa said.
Miners finalise plans for mass march
Eye Witness News 18 October 2012
Strike leaders at Gold Fields KDC West operations in Carletonville, North West, on Thursday said their industrial action would not end until their wage demands had been met.
It also said miners were ready to march to the Union Buildings, in Pretoria, next month.
At least 8,500 workers at the mine have been on strike since Sunday, while their colleagues at the mine's Free State operations returned to work yesterday.
Strike committee leader Mametlwe Sebei spoke to the miners in the Free State and those from the North West’s AngloGold Ashanti Mine yesterday, to finalise plans for their march on 7 November.
Sebei said communities from Gauteng and Rustenburg would join their strike in solidarity of their fight to earn more.
Meanwhile, the striking miners’ joint coordinating committee says the number of employees reporting for duty over the past three days is a result of weak leadership by strike leaders at their respective mines.
Three mines, including Gold Fields, AngloGold Ashanti and Village Main Reef, have all reported increased attendance figures, following a meeting with managements from the different mines earlier this week.
The return to work by thousands of employees has been largely welcomed by the mines and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
Sebei said the committee was aware of miners who suspended their strike at Gold Fields’ Free State operations yesterday.
He said although strikes had their “ups and downs”, workers reporting for duty was due to poor leadership practice.
The strike committee has vowed to intensify the industrial action, while NUM says it will continue to fight to bring it to an end.
The union has urged miners to go back to work and provide for their families.
Miners across South Africa have been demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500
Lonmin S.Africa mine disrupted as workers stay away
Reuters 18 October 2012
Around 4,000 workers at platinum producer Lonmin's Marikana mine in South Africa stayed away from work, once again disrupting operations at the site where 34 miners were killed by police in August, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.
"There have been disruptions at various shafts since yesterday," said Sue Vey, a spokeswoman for Lonmin.
"There are about eight areas affected at this stage."
Wednesday's attendance was "full turnout," said Gold Fields spokesperson Willie Jacobsz.
Mail & Guardian 17 October 2012
On Monday the gold producer issued a final ultimatum to workers at those shafts on a wildcat strike since September 24 saying that if they did not come back they would be fired.
Up to 70% turned up en masse at the mine near Welkom in the Free State, irrespective of their shift on Tuesday.
They were sent home and told to report according to the shift roster on Wednesday.
The company also issued a final ultimatum to workers at the KDC West mine near Carletonville, Gauteng and Beatrix number four shaft to be back at work by Thursday 2pm.
There was no sign of them yet.
"There has been a lot of informing and consultations taking place. We can expect them tomorrow [Thursday] at best," Jacobsz said.
The ultimatum did not apply to the 8 500 KDC East mineworkers who went on strike on Sunday but the company has applied for an interdict at KDC east declaring the strike unlawful.
Those who returned to work by the deadline would benefit from an agreement reached under the auspices of the Chamber of Mines, "notwithstanding that the offer has expired", Gold Fields chief executive Nick Holland said.
Gold Fields had lost about R1.2-billion in revenue and 65 000 ounces in gold production due to the strike.
The company had saved R900-million in wages over the same period, Holland said.
He said Gold Fields had been left with little option but to issue the ultimatums, given the escalating violence among strikers. This included intimidation, attempted murder, and damage to property. – Sapa
Striking AngloGold miners stone worker buses in S.Africa
Yahoo News 17 October 2012
Striking workers at global mining giant AngloGold Ashanti in South Africa stopped miners from returning to work Wednesday by pelting their buses with stones, the company and a union said.
Four workers were injured while trying to report for duty at the Moab Khotsong mine southwest of Johannesburg, which is one of AngloGold's six mines crippled by labour unrest.
"There were about four light injuries," said company spokesman Alan Fine.
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said worker buses were stopped by a group of about 20 people.
"Today when workers wanted to go to work... they were stopped by this small group. Those that left by buses had their buses pelted with stones," he said.
The foiled attempt to return underground came after thousands of workers trekked back on Tuesday to rival miner Gold Fields, the world's number four gold miner.
The firm has set a Thursday deadline for 15,000 striking staff, or more than 40 percent of its total workforce, to report for duty or face immediate dismissal.
The NUM said it hoped miners would return to work after a massive wave of wildcat strikes, accompanied by violence and intimidation, that have hit producers from platinum to iron ore.
"We are hoping all miners will go back to work provided there is enough security," said Seshoka.
National mineworkers march planned
SAPA 17 October 2012
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. - Sapa
Students protest at Jeff Radebe lecture
Yolisa Tswanya 17 October 2012
Cape Town - A small group of UCT students staged a silent picket opposing the Traditional Courts Bill during a lecture by Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe on campus on Tuesday.
Radebe was invited by the Law Students Council and the SRC to speak on access to justice. The group of between 15 and 20 “concerned students”, including members from Equal Education, Right2Know, Students Against Secrecy, Students for Law and Social Justice, UCT Students of the Workers Forum and UCT Palestinian Solidarity Forum picketed outside the Molly Blackburn Hall on the university’s upper campus.
UCT SRC societies co-coordinator Michael Moss and Nishal Robb led the silent picket opposing the Traditional Courts Bill, which is a proposed law that is planned to replace the Black Administrations Act of 1927.
“The Traditional Courts Bill is unconstitutional and we feel that there was very inadequate consultation. It will only create a dual system of justice,” Moss said.
He explained that the number of students that joined the picket were from various faculties - including law students who were more familiar with the content of the acts. Moss and Robb highlighted a number of problems with the proposed bill.
“If this act comes into place it will mean that people living in rural areas will be subjected to rural courts and there will be no racial or cultural differentiation,” Robb said.
Carina Conradie, a student in the Humanities Faculty, said: “The process behind the Traditional Courts Bill was not very open and that’s why I am here, we won’t be disruptive but we want the minister to know that we are here to listen and we care.”
Radebe said: “There is no doubt that justice must adhere to the democratic conception of justice itself. This is why our constitution recognises the provision for Traditional Courts as part of the justice system.”
Radebe said he had taken into account the various comments that he had received and closed by saying that access to justice remained a “crucial feature on the strides we are making towards the success of our democratic plan”.
“Access to justice is not only a value and theme that binds the judiciary, but binds all branches of state, organs of state, and juristic persons such as universities and individuals.”
Heavy police presence as IFP, NFP gather at Durban court
Sapa 17 October 2012
There was a heavy police presence at the Durban Regional Court ahead of two politically charged cases that have resulted in the deaths of two IFP members.
Both matters were originally meant to be heard in the Ntuzuma Magistrate's Court, but were moved to the Durban court at the eleventh hour due to security concerns.
Durban's Somtseu Road was closed off by police and riot police were blocking the entrance to the court building as Inkatha Freedom Party supporters and National Freedom Party supporters gathered outside.
Four men -- Bonginhlanhla Gwala, Bhungu Mgezeni Gwala, Mjabulelwa Gwala, and Malusi Sibusiso Ncengwa -- had been expected to bring their bail application, but the matter was postponed as the defence counsel of one of the four was not available.
Their formal bail application will now be heard on October 25 in the Durban Regional Court.
They are accused of killing Cebesile Shezi.
Shezi, who was wearing an IFP T-shirt, was shot dead near the Thembalihle railway station in KwaMashu shortly after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa addressed IFP supporters at a sports field in A-section, KwaMashu on October 6.
At their first appearance in the Ntuzuma Magistrate's Court on Monday, IFP supporter Siyabonga Dlamini was allegedly shot dead by an NFP eThekwini councillor in full view of police and television cameras.
The councillor, Mzonjani Zulu, appeared briefly in the same court, moments before the four men.
His case was postponed to November 5 for a formal bail hearing.
After the appearance of the five men, Durban Regional Court Magistrate Trevor Levitt praised the conduct of the public in court. He urged the supporters to keep up the good behaviour at future appearances of the men.
He also thanked police for ensuring the safety of all.
Access to Court L was strictly controlled by heavily armed members of the police national intervention unit.
Riot vehicles and a water cannon were on standby.
People who gathered outside court in the morning began dispersing at 11.30am.
Benoni protests turn violent
iNews Africa17 October 2012
A service delivery protest outside the municipal buildings in Benoni turned violent on Wednesday.
Several protesters hurled stones and sticks at policemen who stood cordoning off the building.
Police officers retaliated with rubber bullets.
Around 20 people were injured. Some were trampled on as those in front turned and tried to flee.
A few of the alleged instigators of violence were arrested and taken away in police vehicles and the crowds then dispersed.
As hundreds of them started their walk back to the informal settlements on the outskirts of Wattville, some protesters vandalised cars and shops along the way.
"I can't believe they did this," said one motorist who came out of shop to find his passenger window broken.
A Sapa reporter on the scene counted at least five badly damaged cars.
A man identified as the protest leader, Ezekial Mtungwa, walked behind the crowds.
"I am disappointed in them. This was not what we had planned," he said.
"I have told the police to take charge."
Mtungwa was part of a delegation that went into the offices to speak to officials from the housing department.
"We wanted answers... People have been waiting for houses for a while and instead, money is disappearing and nothing is being done," he added.
They delivered a memorandum of understanding to the officials and said they were expecting a response within 14 days.
Hundreds of protesters from Emandleni, Emlotheni, Harry Gwala, and local hostels took part in the protest march, which started earlier in the morning.
"Until when will we live in shacks", read some of their placards.
Among the crowd were also children dressed in school uniforms.
Many of the protesters also carried sticks, golf clubs, and knobkerries. A police helicopter hovered above while several police vehicles cordoned off entrances.
"We vote, but get nothing in return," said protester Ludwick Mavundla.
Meanwhile, workers and schoolchildren were prevented from going to or leaving the township, as large rocks were placed in the middle of the streets at the exits.
Taxis were also not operating.
"We don't know why they are including us in this," said a resident who identified herself as Sarah.
A letter circulated around the township on Tuesday informed residents this would be a peaceful march.
We want houses - Wattville protesters
IOL News 17 October 2012
Johannesburg - Hundreds of informal dwellers took to the streets of Wattville township near Benoni on Wednesday, demanding houses.
About 500 people walked to the department of housing where they were expected to deliver a memorandum.
Many in the crowd were carrying sticks, with some holding golf clubs.
“We want houses. We are tired of living like this, “ said a man who declined to be named. “Until when will we live in shacks?” read some of their placards.
Among the protesters were children dressed in school uniform.
At the department's premises, officials remained behind locked gates. It was unclear whether anyone would come out to address the crowd. A police helicopter hovered above while several police vehicles cordoned off the entrances.
One housing department official was escorted out of the building by policemen with guns and batons.
Hundreds of informal settlement dwellers ,from the Emandleni, Emlotheni, Emandleni and local hostel sections on the outskirts of the Wattville township, gathered for the march to the CBD on Wednesday morning.
“We vote but get nothing in return,” said protester Ludwick Mavundla.
Workers and school children were hindered from leaving the township as road exits were blockaded. Taxis were also not operating.
“We don't know why they are including us in this,” said a resident who identified herself as Sarah.
A circular distributed in the township on Tuesday called for a peaceful march.
S.Africa police arrest 26 amid fresh clashes with miners
Yahoo News 17 October 2012
South African police arrested 26 mine workers on Tuesday after fresh clashes that saw one officer attacked by a machete-wielding striker.
Police said they expected to make further arrests at the Samancor chrome mine about two hours drive from Johannesburg, after "a police constable was hacked with a panga on his left arm."
Police said they deployed early Tuesday to the mine -- which is not far from the Marikana mine were 46 people died in violence in August -- to "disperse a strong group of unruly striking workers."
Around 3,000 people were thought to be involved in the protest, which turned ugly when police moved in.
"The Constable sustained serious injuries on his left arm. He was rescued by other police officers, who then rushed him to Pedlaray Hospital for medical treatment."
One suspect has been charged with attempted murder.
It is the latest spasm of violence to grip South Africa's vital mining sector, which for months has been rocked by sometimes deadly labour unrest.
Miners are demanding higher wages and better working conditions, which employers say are unreasonable.
SABS strike continues
The New Age 16 October 2012
Negotiations between Nehawu and the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) continued on Tuesday as a wage strike entered its second week.
The National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union was demanding a 12 % salary increase, a 75 % medical aid subsidy, a R1200 housing allowance and "equal pay for equal jobs". Nehawu had earlier demanded a 20 % salary increase but the employer only put a six % offer on the table and later revised it to eight % with no housing subsidy and medical aid.
The union accused SABS of negotiating in bad faith after it offered non-union workers a seven % salary increase.
"A settlement to this dispute is possible if the employer has a change of heart and engages us genuinely, honestly and in good faith," said Nehawu spokesman Sizwe Pamla in a statement.
But the employer said there was nothing dishonest about the seven % given to non-union members.
"In order not to disadvantage other employees who are not members of the union we decided to implement the seven % increase," said SABS spokesman Tebogo Seate.
About 150 SABS employees were involved in the strike when it started, Seate said.
"There are negotiations taking place today (Tuesday). We should be able to find a solution," he said.
Various business units had been advised to come up with contingency plans in order to service customers during the strike.- Sapa
Why Rea Vaya workers are striking
SAMWU PRESS STATEMENT 16 October 2012
The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) in the Johannesburg Region is concerned by the wage disparities that currently exist in the City of Johannesburg entity Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT). These disparities have caused workers to withdraw their labour and embark on an indefinite strike.
The position of a bus driver and a dispatcher according to the employer are positions that are equal to one another, yet these two positions are not remunerated the same, causing deep frustrations amongst workers of this entity.
Together with wage disparities, there also are disparities in workers retirement funds and the money that is being contributed on behalf of the employer.
The Union has been through a number of processes already to try and resolve the disparities that currently exist in the entity, including engagements with the CCMA, face to face negotiations and bilateral meetings with the Member of the Mayoral Committee Rehana Moosajee responsible for transport. However a settlement could not be reached.
Contrary to what Rea Vaya Management has said - this issue cannot be resolved at the level of the national South African Local Government Bargaining Council - it must be discussed and resolved at a local level amongst the various stakeholders, as it is a local issue and not a national one.
Management of the Rea Vaya entity together with the City of Johannesburg are failing to address these disparities. We are calling upon Management to immediately address these long standing issues at the entity.
For more information contact SAMWU’s Phumlile Shange, on 0794995665.
South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU
National Media and Publicity Officer
Office: 011-492 2835.
Facebook = http://www.facebook.com/pages/SAMWU/109266402451312
Twitter = @SAMWUnion
Flickr (Pictures) = http://www.flickr.com/photos/tahirsema
Police remove striking Kumba miners
IOL News 16 October 2012
Police arrested a group of striking workers at Kumba Iron Ore's Sishen mine in the Northern Cape on Tuesday.
Police spokesman Colonel Hendrik Swart said the operation started around 3am and about 40 people were arrested.
Company spokesman Gert Schoeman said the company had regained possession of all the heavy mining equipment which had been held by the illegal strikers.
“Any damage to equipment is being assessed and the company has plans in place to restore the mine to full production as soon as possible.”
Schoeman said the majority of the illegal strikers ignored an ultimatum to leave the mine and report for disciplinary hearings by Monday.
He said those who ignored the warning had been dismissed.
Criminal charges of extortion, intimidation, theft, trespassing, malicious damage to property and contempt of court had been laid against them.
Kumba’s chief executive Norman Mbazima said the end of the mine pit occupation meant the company could get back to business.
He said employees would be informed when they needed to report to work later on Tuesday.
The striking group was served with a Labour Court order on Monday to immediately leave the premises and to release the equipment they were holding.
The court order stopped them from coming within 500m of the company's premises.
Swart said the police action was in terms of the court order. He said the operation ran smoothly.
Earlier, the company said the mine concluded a wage settlement with its recognised unions two months ago.
It had a two-year wage agreement in place with the National Union of Mineworkers and Solidarity.
The agreement made provision for a total cost-to-company increase of between nine and 12 percent.
The company said 95 percent of the illegal strikers were NUM members, who wanted to represent themselves. - Sapa
GERMISTON STREET CLEANERS ON PROTECTED STRIKE ATTACKED BY HIRED THUGS ARMED WITH SJAMBOKS
CASUAL WORKERS ADVICE OFFICE (CWAO) 16 October 2012
EMPLOYER THREATENS TO BURN DOWN CWAO, ASSAULTS AND INJURES CWAO VOLUNTEER
COLLUSION BETWEEN LOCAL POLICE AND EMPLOYER AGAINST WORKERS
Today, an employer and his hired thugs armed with sjamboks travelled around Germiston in a bakkie attacking street cleaners - mostly women - who have been on a protected strike for the last 2 weeks over working conditions and wage issues. The employer also stormed into the offices of the CWAO (which has been assisting the workers), threatening to burn it down and viciously assaulting a volunteer who had to be taken to hospital.
The outrageous events today have taken place against the backdrop of clear collusion between the employer and the local police to harass and intimidate the workers. Over the last 2 weeks of the protected strike police have, in several instances, been accompanied by the employer when they have arrested workers on the usual charges of ‘public violence’. Not surprisingly, none of the charges have stuck and all workers have had to be released. The CWAO has evidence that the police possess a list of all the employees of the company, but were happy to release the thugs involved in the attacks on the workers. Two weeks ago the police beat up and shot rubber bullets as a small group of workers involved in a demonstration, this after the municipal police consistently refused to respond to the workers’ request to protest and demonstrate in support of their demand that they be directly employed by the municipality.
A key reason why the employer has acted so violently and brazenly is linked to the fact that the tender for street cleaning in Germiston is up for renewal at the same time as the workers have been on strike. The Municipality refuses to divulge any information as to whether the tender has been awarded and to whom, although a new company, Mvume Investments, claims to have a short-term tender with the Municipality. Mvume Investments is owned by the same individuals (under a different name) who also owned LMM Training and Development, the company that had the previous tender. Not surprisingly, CWAO has also learnt that there are serious questions being asked around corruption and nepotism as part of Germiston’s R520 million solid waste contracts.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT CONTACT: IGHSAAN SCHROEDER OF CWAO on 0798882229
96 Knox Street, Germiston, 1401 (Tel: 0118730903; Fax: 0118730902; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org )
Strike nation – The revolution is just beginning
Lucas Ledwaba and Charl du Plessis 15 October 2012
Mining strikes may be ushering in a new era of worker empowerment and intimidation – at a very high cost
Police and striking miners at the Rustenburg mine of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) have clashed again, this time after miners allegedly invaded a shaft and tried to set it alight.
Police fired rubber bullets at a crowd of 1 000 Amplats workers on Friday night, said North West police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.
Ngubane said four miners had been arrested, while another 48 had been arrested in connection with two deaths in the nearby Nkaneng informal settlement.
One man was burned alive and another shot dead in Nkaneng this week as the miners’ strike continued.
Last week the company announced that it had dismissed 12 000 of its workers, who have refused to accept their dismissal.
One of the men at the centre of the crippling miners’ strikes that have gripped Rustenburg in the past two months is Mametlwe Sebei of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM).
During an interview in Johannesburg on Friday, Sebei said threats by mine bosses to fire the estimated 100 000 workers on strike across all mines could backfire.
“I do not think it would be possible to dismiss all these workers without at least precipitating this country into some elements of civil war because certainly these workers are not going to take it lying down,” said Sebei.
At Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen Mine in the Northern Cape, messages are being sent to striking workers demanding that they attend their disciplinary hearings or face dismissal.
About 300 striking workers downed tools during Friday’s night shift and took possession of equipment worth R3.3?billion, including 88 heavy trucks.
Sebei said the DSM had been mobilising workers across Rustenburg for the past four years after realising that “their interests were not being addressed by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)”.
This week, thousands marched on the town’s NUM offices to cancel their membership.
Sebei said they advised the workers to instead join the Association of Mining and Construction Union (Amcu) and turn it into the union they want it to be.
Sebei’s activism began as a student in Ga-Nchabeleng, Limpopo, where he was born in 1981.
At the University of Pretoria, where he studied law, he was elected president of the Pan-Africanist Students’ Organisation, the Pan-Africanist Congress’ student wing.
He joined the DSM after he left the Pan-Africanist Congress in 2008 when he realised it was not going to transform into a worker’s movement and searched for a political home more suited to his ideology.
Sebei said the rebellion against the NUM started in Rustenburg because the platinum mines employed young people who did not have any historical or sentimental attachment to the NUM.
The DSM, he said, has received enquiries from other sectors seeking to build alliances for a national strike and warned that the diamond sector could be next.
Violence continued to mar the strike this week, with one man, an Amplats employee, burned to death and another shot and wounded in Nkaneng informal settlement on Thursday.
The transport workers’ strike, which ended on Friday, also claimed a life this week when Cape Town truck driver Gary Stewart’s life support machine was switched off. His skull was fractured by a rock thrown through his truck’s window.
Another Cape Town driver was doused with petrol and set alight, and remains in a critical condition in hospital.
In KwaZulu-Natal, driver Joseph Duma was shot in the leg while driving his company truck in Cato Ridge.
At the same time, another truck driver escaped unharmed after the truck he was driving was torched.
SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Neren Rau said strikes across all sectors had cost the economy close to R20 billion so far.
He said the chamber had information that the strikes would soon spread to the hospitality sector.
Four arrested after protesters clash with police at Amplats
City Press 15 October 2012
Four people were arrested following a violent clash overnight with protesters near an Anglo American Platinum shaft in Rustenburg, police have said.
Officers used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse about 1 000 protesters who were marching last night toward the Khomanani 1 shaft, police said today.
The crowd responded with petrol bombs, damaging one police vehicle. There were no reports of injuries.
Large parts of the platinum and gold mining industry have been brought to a standstill by wildcat strikes that started in early August and intensified after the police killing of 34 strikers at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine on August 16.
Hundreds of miners marched on the headquarters of Impala Platinum in Johannesburg today to deliver a list of grievances to the company.
“We are here, we are at Impala,” Lesiba Seshoka, a spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said by telephone, as fellow miners cheered and chanted in the background.
Seshoka put the number of marchers at 2 000, but the SABC said the number was closer to 600.
Bus strike strands 35 000 Jhb commuters
News 24 15 October 2012
Johannesburg - Some 35 000 Johannesburg commuters were stranded on Monday after striking drivers of leading bus company, Rea Vaya, parked their fleet in South Africa's economic hub, employers said.
The strike by 240 drivers was staged after talks over wages and shifts between the employer, the Johannesburg municipality and the workers collapsed on Friday.
"Our bus drivers are on strike. They gave us a 48-hour notice to embark on a strike - after negotiations failed," general manager Dumisani said.
Known as Rea Vaya bus, the company normally serves the city's high density townships to the main industrial and commercial areas of South Africa's largest city.
Mntambo said the company is going to court to try stop the strike and "try find some common ground".
A strike by Lonmin platinum mine workers in August snowballed into copycat strikes at other mines before spreading to other sectors.
Thousands of delivery truck drivers ended a three-week strike on Friday after securing a three-year wage deal.
Elsewhere, thousands of mine workers are still on strike, including at the world's largest platinum mine complex run by Anglo American and the operations of one of the leading gold producers Gold Fields.
Kruger Park restaurant staff on strike
News 24 15 October 2012
Johannesburg - The staff responsible for the management of restaurants in the Kruger National Park (KNP) have embarked on a strike, a spokesperson said on Monday.
"All the camps are affected except Mopani and Punda Maria rest camps in the northern part of the park," said William Mabasa, in a statement.
The staff belong to the Compass Group.
"... We are in discussion with Compass Group management and we have been assured that contingency plans are in place and currently temporary staff have been hired to assist with the operations until the end of the strike."
Their demands were unclear and Mabasa could not immediately be reached to clarify.
Striking Amplats miners dig in
Mail & Guardian 14 October 2012
Striking Anglo American Platinum workers will not suspend their strike, the Rustenburg Joint Strike Co-ordinating Committee said on Sunday."We are not going to be
intimidated into submission. We are not going to participate in any form of disciplinary hearing," said spokesperson Mametlwe Sebei.
He said the disciplinary hearing was a threat aimed at forcing the workers to abandon their strike.
"We will engage management on issues relating to our demand, which is a R16 000 salary [at Amplats mines]."
He said the only way to resolve issues affecting miners in South Africa was to nationalise the mines.
"The only way to deal with the cheap migrant labour legacy is to allow mine workers to own these mines through nationalisation."
Sebei said he would be visiting other mines to push for their demand for a basic salary of R12 500.
" I will be at mines in Limpopo, Free State and Carletonville from Monday."
On Saturday, he told reporters in Marikana near Rustenburg that the strike in the mining sector was continuing despite threats of dismissal.
"No amount of threats or deaths can stop us. We are determined to continue with the strike."
Sebei said a meeting of the strike committees in all mines in the country had agreed to intensify the strike.
"We have agreed to escalate the strike. We are going to shut down the bit that is still operating. All workers in the country must be paid a minimum of R12 500. We are calling for a minimum wage for all workers."
He said it had been agreed that workers should embark on a national strike in November to push for a minimum wage. The national strike was planned for November 3.
Sebei, who is from the Democratic Socialist Movement, denied they had "hijacked" the mineworkers strike.
"We are in solidarity with the workers. Four weeks after the [Lonmin] Marikana strike, we saw that no one was standing up for the workers and we offered them solidarity."
He said his movement would canvas international support for mineworkers.
"We will call for a solidarity march at SA embassies abroad, the day workers stage a national strike. It is not fair that mineworkers are living in poor condition while the bosses' pets are far better off."
The committee, made up of leaders from different mines in Rustenburg, met with other workers' leaders from mines in Limpopo, the Free State and Mpumalanga with a view of forming a national committee that would speak for mineworkers.
"We need to have a constitution that will guide us to deal with those who left the structures once issues at their mines have been resolved," said Evan Ramokga, one of the leaders.
He said leaders at mines that were still operating should not expose strikers to arrest by leading them to shut down the mines.
"Do not use the wildcat [strikes]. You expose them to arrest. Rather come to us to share ideas. We know how to shut the mines. The aim is to stop smelters from operating."
Amplats has fired 12 000 workers for failing to attend disciplinary hearings.
On Friday, Amplats said the four-week strike had cost it R1.1-billion in revenue.
Drop call to nationalise
Meanwhile, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has warned that the call to nationalise mining companies should be dropped.
The ANC's Mangaung conference in December is expected to deal with the issue of nationalising strategic assets, such as mines.
"The biggest issue when it comes to policy issues is whether Mangaung will nationalise [mines]. We've dealt with that issue, but [investors] continue to raise it," Shabangu was quoted as saying in City Press on Sunday.
"We are confident that when we come out of Mangaung we will be able to put this matter aside and it will bring and instil much more investor confidence."
Shabangu was concerned that protracted strikes in the mining sector had dented investor confidence.
"It has been a cause for concern because it's not a once-off; it is sort of spiralling in the mining industry," she reportedly said.
Shabangu's comments followed an emergency meeting on the economy called by President Jacob Zuma on Friday night involving government, business and labour.
He called on business and labour to work together to find solutions and was concerned by violence associated with strikes.
"We are confident that working together we will be able to find solutions, informed by the Constitution and the values of our democracy. We have a long history of productive social partnerships in our country," said Zuma.
Keep on trucking: Transport strike comes to an end
Sapa 12 October 2012
A wage deal has been signed at the road freight bargaining council's offices in Johannesburg, ending a three-week long truck drivers' strike.
The transport sector's strike has ended after unions signed a wage agreement on Friday. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
The agreement, which includes the South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) was announced by the Road Freight Employers' Association on Friday after wage talks resumed on Thursday evening.
The strike has been marked by violence which left several truck drivers injured and one dead, and a number of trucks damaged or destroyed.
Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu said his union was wrongly blamed for the violence.
"There were three other unions on strike as well but we hear Satawu being blamed for the violence. Employers know we never burnt a single truck."
Earlier this week, three trade unions, jointly claiming to represent 15 000 workers, agreed to adjust their pay demand in an attempt to end a three week-long strike. But Satawu, which represents about 28 000 workers in the strike, was not included in that agreement.
Wage talks resumed on Thursday evening, resulting in the new agreement involving all unions.
The deal was staggered over three years and had a 10% wage increase in the first year, 8% in the second and 9% in the third.
The first wage increase would be implemented on March 1 2013.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) said it was elated that the end of the strike was in sight.
"While we are mindful of the cost to the economy and the lives lost in this strike, we are convinced that the sector will now rebuild itself to the advantage of the greater South African economy," Fedusa general secretary Dennis George said.
He would appeal to the labour minister to extend the agreement to non-parties in the road freight and logistics sector, to strengthen collective bargaining.
Cost runs into millions
The strike saw workers lose a total of R271-million in wages.
"Workers lost R271-million in wages while employers suffered a R1.2-billion loss a week," Road Freight Employers' Association chairperson Penwell Lunga told reporters in Johannesburg.
Lunga said employers had been operating at between 70% and 80% capacity as of Wednesday. – Sapa
Striking unions agree to settle for less
Lungelo Mkamba and Sapa 11 October 2012
Three trade unions have agreed to adjust their pay demand in an attempt to end a protracted strike by thousands of truck drivers.
This was confirmed yesterday by the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) and the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu), which represent the three unions.
“All the unions agreed that we have to conclude the wage negotiations now,” said Fedusa general secretary Dennis George.
Two Fedusa affiliates are involved in the strike – the Motor Transport Workers’ Union (MTWU) and the Professional Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (PTAWU). The Transport and Allied Workers’ Union is affiliated to Nactu.
They are not linked to the largest of the striking unions, the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, which is an affiliate of Cosatu.
George said it was decided to facilitate a meeting of the three smaller unions after talks between unions and employers broke down on Tuesday.
He said the three unions agreed that they wanted a two-year rather than a three-year agreement because of the unpredictability of financial conditions and inflation.
The unions said they were prepared to settle for a 10 percent increase in the first year and an 8 percent increase in the second.
Road Freight Employers’ Association (RFEA) spokeswoman Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht said the employers had tabled two offers.
These were a three-year deal with increase of 10 percent, 8 percent and |9 percent over three years, or a two-year deal with 9 percent in the first year and 8 percent in the second.
“We are hopeful that these constructive proposals will facilitate a break in the deadlock and take us forward,” she said.
Satawu, which represents about |28 000 workers in the strike, is not included in the unions’ new agreement.
Yesterday, a Durban transport company owner said that one of the company’s drivers was shot by striking truck drivers on the N3 Joburg bound near Cato Ridge on Tuesday night.
Mark Snyman, the owner of FBN Transport, said several shots were fired at the driver and he knew that the gunmen were strikers.
Speaking outside the intensive-care unit of a Durban hospital yesterday, an emotional Snyman asked that the driver’s name be withheld for his safety.
He said the truck was passing under a bridge at about 9pm when the driver heard a “loud bang” and realised that he had been shot.
Snyman said that an hour after the shooting, another truck was reported to have been petrol-bombed near the Mariannhill toll plaza.
The driver called his employer and screamed into the phone: “Please Mark, come help me, please.”
Snyman used tracker and GPS to find the truck, eventually locating it, stationary, at Camperdown Police Station.
The driver had been hit by a bullet on his thigh and, despite losing blood, had managed to drive himself to safety.
The hospital’s spokeswoman, Tricia Stoole, said that the bullet had gone through the driver’s thigh and into his abdomen. “He lost a lot of blood and underwent an operation yesterday. He should be out of bed in the next couple of days,” she said.
Snyman conceded that it was dangerous for his employees to work while the strike continued.
“I will have a meeting with all the drivers because they fear for their lives,” he said.
He was considering hiring armed guards to accompany his drivers on their journeys, he said.
Police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed both the shooting at the petrol bombing at Mariannhill.
In Cape Town, a truck driver is fighting for his life after protesters set him alight in Manenberg.
Another truck was set alight between Albertina and Riversdale on the N2.
In Gauteng, four truck drivers were injured yesterday.
NEWCASTLE CLOTHING WORKERS ON STRIKE
SACTWU 12 October 2012
Approximately 3 800 clothing workers in Newcastle are on strike for a living wage. The legal strike by these SACTWU members started on Monday 8 October 2012. The strike affects 35 companies and workers earn between R250-R400 per week, far below the legally prescribed minimum of an already low wage of R534 per week. Workers are on strike demanding a R45 per week increase.
The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) is determined to continue our fight for a living wage for clothing workers.
For further comment contact SACTWU Newcastle Organiser Patrick Vundla on 0729425886.
Strikes resolved in the Northern Cape
NUM 12 October 2012
Strikes at Petra diamonds, Koffiefontein and Finsch mines in the Northern Cape have now been resolved. Workers agreed to return back to work as the NUM interacts with mine management in terms of the demands put by the workers. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) congratulates these members for taking a decision to return back to work and showing confidence in their union leadership to take forward their demands. Meanwhile, the NUM has received mixed feelings on the offer given by the Chamber of Mines of moving entry level from category 3 to category 4. The NUM will continue to interact with its members and would meet the Chamber of Mines on Monday.
Ngwako Matsha- 083 809 2351 (NUM Communications Officer)
Lesiba Seshoka- 082 803 6719 ( NUM National Spokesman)- 082 803 6719
People arrested at Samwu march
Molaole Montsho 12 October 2012
Fifty people were arrested under the Regulation of Gatherings Act in Rustenburg on Friday after infiltrating a protest march by the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu).
They were isolated and arrested when union leaders alerted the police that a group had joined the march with the intention of disrupting it.
“They will be charged under the... act,” said Captain Elsabe Augoustides.
Samwu in the Bojanala region was protesting against corruption, fraud, maladministration, nepotism and political interference in administration by councillors.
Union members dressed in red T-shirts marched to the Bojanala municipality's offices to hand over a memorandum.
“We are sick and tired ka 1/8with 3/8 corruption,” they chanted as the march proceeded along Oliver Tambo Drive. Some waved placards.
In a memorandum addressed to North West local government MEC China Dodovu and Bojanala mayor Louis Diremelo, the union said it was worried about the slow pace at which issues affecting service delivery had been handled.
It demanded the removal of all mayors in the five local municipalities within Bojanala, and that all municipalities in the district be placed under administration.
Regional secretary Marks Molepo said if the demands were not responded to within seven days, the union would stage a “sustained protest action” at individual municipalities.
The five local municipalities in Bojanala are Rustenburg, Moses Kotane, Kgetlengrevier, Madibeng and Moretele.
Samwu alleged that Moses Kotane municipality failed to provide residents with clean water and spend municipal infrastructure grants, and was unable to collect rates and taxes.
In Moretele, the union alleged that R88 000 had been stolen from the office of the mayor, and that R1million had been paid to a service provider before it rendered services.
The union lamented Madibeng's appointed as municipal manager while corruption charges were pending against him.
It alleged that he was charged and suspended by the municipality which later appointed him as a municipal manager.
In Rustenburg, the union said politicians were interfering with administration.
It also called for the resignation of executive mayor Mpho Khonou over the salary paid to speaker Matthew Wolmarans, who is serving 20 years in jail after being convicted for the murder of whistleblower Moss Phakoe.
Phakoe was gunned down at his Rustenburg Noord home in 2009, after compiling a dossier on corruption in the Rustenburg local municipality. - Sapa
3000 Municipal Workers to down tools in North West over corruption.
Samwu 12 October 2012
More than three thousand Municipal Workers in the North West Province, Bojanala Region will be taking to the streets from today 12 October. These members will be marching to present a memorandum of demands to the MEC of Cooperative Governance and traditional Affairs China Dodovu and to the District Mayor of Bojanala Region, Lowie Diremeleo.
Municipal Workers are concerned by the unacceptable levels of favouritism, nepotism, Political interferences in administrative matters and rampant corruption taking place on a daily basis in Municipalities in the North West Province.
These Provincial and Regional protest actions will also be followed by national action, where all South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) members throughout the country will be bringing services in this country to a complete halt.
The Union is calling for the Political Heads and Municipal Managers of the following municipalities to swallow their pride and resign with immediate effect, for dismally failing Communities, municipal workers and ordinary tax payers in the Province.
Detailed evidence of corruption in the Province
Rustenburg Local Municipality
The Mayor and his Municipal Manager should resign and the Rustenburg Municipality must be put under administration because of the following reasons
1. The Mayor continued to ignore and condoned corruption, when the former Council Speaker Mathews Wolmaranstad (who is currently serving a jail sentence) drew a monthly salary from the Institution. Also, Enoch Matsaba who was a co accused in the murder case of the late Councillor Moss Phakoe, was paid monthly salaries for more than eight months while in jail.
2. Fruitless and Wasteful expenditure, the Mayor commissioned a company called Price Water House Coopers to conduct an investigation into employment practices in the Institution.
3. More than half a million was paid by the Municipality to this company to do this work. Work was done by this company but up till this stage, the result of work done by this company has never been made public, or even to the Council and all other stakeholders.
4. The report is gathering dust wherever it is! The question that needs to be asked is, at whose expense and who has benefited from this process?
Abuse of administrative powers on the side of the Municipal Manager has resulted in unfair, illegal and the un-procedural appointment of one “blue eyed boy”.
A man called Nketu Matima has been appointed as manager in the Council Speaker’s Office, up till 2017. Nobody knows why and how this man was appointed, he is receiving 900, 000 per annum in the form of a salary.
Also, the Illegal, un-procedural appointment of a manager in the office of the Municipal Manager, this man is paid R850, 000 per annum.
Private Companies in the Municipality
A private company known as Khetwayo and Motltlegi JV all the way from Easter Cape is contracted to the Municipality to do the following duties/function – repairing water pipes, unlocking sewage lines.
This is work done on a daily basis by municipal employees. It is not clear as to why this company is drawing salaries every month for the work that it is not doing. In August this year R847, 000 was paid to this company for doing nothing!
Moretele Local Municipality
We will continue to call for the Mayor, the Council Speaker and the Whip to resign in this Institution
We acknowledge and appreciate the little progress that was made, when the following people were suspended;
1. The Manager in the Mayor’s office – Benny Matlala
2. Lea Sekhaolela – The MMC for special Projects in the Office of the Mayor
These people were suspended after SAMWU raised serious concerns of corruption in this Institution.
A small Municipality in a deep rural area which does not generate income had the audacity to employ a Deputy Chief Financial Officer. This is an insult to the community of Moretele
It is still embarrassing and totally unacceptable that this Institution through its Mayor Johannes Lehari that payments are still being made to a Legal Firm called Mosire Tsiane. More than R400, 000 in payments were made in the last two weeks.
This is a company that is used to syphon money out of the Municipality.
It is for this reasons that the Union is continuing to call for the Political Head Of this Municipality to resign.
Moses Kotane Local Municipality
We congratulate law enforcement agencies for acting swiftly in arresting two people in Limpopo and another two in the Gauteng Province for working and colluding with a worker in the Finance Department in stealing R6 Million from the coffers of this municipality.
This is a Municipality were workers are not provided with safety clothing, the workers are working in Sewage Department without safety gloves and protective clothing, All this while the Mayor gallivants around in a new Audi Q7.
It is sad to realise that even this new Audi Q7 that the Mayor is going around with, was involved in an accident and within a few days, she got herself a new luxurious Blue Efficiency Audi Q7 and a Mercedes Bens sedan C200 CDI, without any Council Resolution.
The Mayor and his Council has spent R800, 000 during an IMBIZO held in one of the poor and impoverished villages called Mabieskraal this year in August. The sad part is that the R800, 000 was never authorised.
Almost all the villages that are supposed to be serviced by this Municipality are now running for months without clean drinking water. There are absolutely no services that are provided by this Municipality yet the Mayor lives a Hollywood like lifestyle.
Madibeng Local Municipality
The intervention made by the National Minister of Cooperate Governance and Traditional Affairs Mr Baloyi in sending a committee to investigate corruption in this municipality, was welcomed by the Union.
We are worried that the work of this committee is taking much longer than expected. Three weeks was initially set aside for this committee to complete its work, it is worrying that we now well into the third month. We can only hope that honest work is being done
A man called Solinda Mnisi a Regional Executive Committee member of the ANC in Bojanala Region has been deployed as the Strategic Director in the office of the Executive Mayor of Madibeng, a position that does not exist in the Organizational Structure.
The Municipality has also employed a new Chief Financial Officer, a certain Mrs Nkuna who was allegedly dismissed for corrupt related activities in one municipality in Limpopo.
The question is how on earth was this person employed with such a terrible background and allowed to deal with finances in this institution?
SAMWU in the North West Province will not rest until all corrupt elements are arrested and thrown into jail.
We will also not rest until we see proper and efficient services rendered to all communities.
We will not rest until workers in general and SAMWU members in particular, throughout the North Province, are provided with proper protective clothing and working tools.
For more information please feel free to contact Jacob Modeming, SAMWU’s Provincial Secretary on 018 3811217 or 0820617800.
South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU
National Media and Publicity Officer
Office: 011-492 2835.
Protesting Univen students go on a rampage
SABC 12 October 2012
Protesting students disputing SRC elections results have burnt down buildings and several vehicles at the University of Venda. The action comes after the campus ANC Youth League branch defeated Azanian Students Congress - a student wing aligned to Azapo. University of Venda spokesperson Takalani Dzaga says they are still assessing the extent of the damage.
"Following the announcement of the SRC election results that were cast, a group of students decided to damage a property on campus. It is a group comprising of those students who did not win the elections, so we are currently continuing with the investigations – but unfortunately at this point we can only be able to indicate the nature of the damage," says Dzaga.
South African Police Service’s spokesperson, Mashudu Malele says they have sent a police contingent to campus as the situation is still tense.
A similar incident occurred at the Tshwane University of Technology this year in August when student went on a rampage, burning a building at the institution’s Pretoria campus. University of Technology Vice Chancellor Nthabiseng Ogude said the culture of destructive action at TUT would not be allowed to continue.
She was welcomed by violent student protest action, only in her third week as the principal of the institution in Pretoria. The rector said that she felt betrayed by the strike action while busy attempting to address issues raised with her office.
Councillor creates stink with mask
IOL News 12 October 2012
Northern Cape - A councillor arrived at an economic development portfolio committee meeting in Kimberley wearing a gas mask, the Volksblad website reported on Friday.
Rooies Strauss, an African Christian Democratic Party councillor, was protesting against the health and environmental risk created by the local municipal dumpsite, outside Kimberley.
Strauss kept the mask on during the meeting. He told the newspaper that smoke and gas released by burning refuse at the main dumpsite were unhealthy and caused sicknesses.
He said most of the city's residents suffered from the effects of the dumpsite smoke.
“Sicknesses such as cancer, sinuses, emphysema and other related illnesses must be prevented,” he was quoted saying in the report.
Strauss said he thought inmates in Kimberley's newly-built prison lived in “gas chambers” due to the smoke.
DA committee member Philip Vorster told the newspaper most councillors at the meeting were not impressed by Strauss's protest.
“Strauss tried to make a point and I would say it was both successful and unsuccessful,” the report quoted Vorster saying. - Sapa
34 trucks torched in Cape
Yolisa Tswanya (IOL News) 12 October 2012
Cape Town - Thirty-four trucks have been torched in Cape Town since the start of the transport workers’ strike three weeks ago, say city authorities.
At least eight trucks were attacked and set alight in Cape Town on Thursday.
Five truck drivers were admitted to GF Jooste Hospital and were being treated for burn injuries on Thursday night.
Western Cape Health Department deputy communications director Mark van der Heever confirmed the five drivers were admitted on Thursday.
“Five truck drivers were taken to GF Jooste and two of them are on ventilators, the one sustained 40 percent burns and the second 60 percent burns to their bodies, Van der Heever said.
Patrick Thapile, a truck driver who works for a toilet paper company, whose truck was stoned and burnt in Philippi on Thursday, said he was terrified of going back to work.
“From what I could see, it was like 50 men that came running towards our truck and started to throw stones and we were lucky we got away. When I came back to check on the truck it was on fire,” Thapile said.
A 59-year-old and a 51-year-old driver sustained minor injuries as they jumped out of their trucks to avoid being attacked, while Pick n Pay drivers ran towards the ocean after their truck was pelted with stones on Baden Powell Drive near Strandfontein. In Gugulethu, a truck driver and his assistant escape injury after being stoned.
City fire and rescue services spokesperson Theo Layne said a total of 34 trucks had been torched since the strike began on September 24.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirmed Thursday’s incidents and for the first time linked the attacks to the strike.
“The motives of the violence could possibly be related to the strike.”
Van Wyk said cases of arson, malicious damage to property and public violence have been opened and requested that anyone with information contact crime stop on 086000111.
* On Friday, the Road Freight Employers Association said all four unions were set to sign a three-year wage deal to end the countrywide truck driver strike.
The agreement would be signed at 10am on Friday. Details of the deal would be made public after the signing.
Roads closed as truckers march
The New Age 11 October 2012
Major roads in Isando, Ekurhuleni remained closed on Thursday as striking truck drivers marched to the offices of the Road Freight Employers' Association (RFEA).
"There are over 1000 strikers marching and being accompanied by members of the SAPS, Ekurhuleni metro police and private security companies," metro police spokesman Inspector Kobeli Mokheseng said.
Isando Road, Andre Greyling and Van Agt streets were some of the roads closed.
The workers intended delivering memorandums to the RFEA head office and courier company DHL, both in Isando.
SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union spokesman Vincent Masoga said they had organised the march.
Talks to end the violent strike were scheduled to resume at the Road Freight Bargaining Council on Thursday evening.
Man burnt to death at Amplats strike
News24 11 October 2012
Johannesburg - A man was burnt to death and another shot and wounded at Nkaneng informal settlement in Photsaneng near Rustenburg on Thursday, police said.
"About 400 mineworkers gathered at the informal settlement around 06:00, and a man was shot and wounded. He was airlifted to hospital," said Captain Dennis Adriao.
Another man was burnt to death at the informal settlement and a minibus taxi was torched.
"Forty people have been arrested for public violence," he said.
Another group of striking Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers gathered at the Bathopele Mine.
"The police and mine security dispersed that group," Adriao said.
North West Taxi Council spokesperson Bernard Afrika said taxi operations to Photsaneng, Bleskop, and surrounding areas had been suspended for safety reasons.
"We have suspended operations until the police restore order and it is safe to operate. The primary task of a taxi is to transport people," he said.
Afrika said two minibus taxis were transporting people to work and other places when they were burnt.
"Not all the people in the taxis were going to the mines, some were children going to school and others were women going to clinics and other places. We cannot confirm whether they were going to the mine."
Passengers and drivers ran away when the taxis were stopped and later set alight.
"Striking mineworkers do not want people to go to work. They burnt taxis suspecting of transporting people to work. This is the second incident, during the Marikana strike, [that]... taxis were also set alight," he said.
'Out of hand'
Spokesperson for the sacked workers Gaddafhi Mdoda, condemned the violence.
"We do not know who is behind this. The violence is getting out of hand."
He said criminal elements within communities near to the mines might have used the strike as a springboard to commit crime.
"We cannot afford to have more enemies, we already have enemies - the government, mine management, and the National Union of Mineworkers - we cannot afford to have our brothers and sisters as enemies," he said.
Workers went to Bathopele Mine to stop it from operating.
"We want to shut this mine down, it is the only mine operating," he said.
R16 000, allowances
Bathopele was the only mine operating normally following the illegal strike on 12 September. Other components of Amplats operating normally were the concentrators, smelters, and refineries.
Workers at Amplats went on an illegal strike on September 12, demanding a monthly salary of R16 000 and allowances.
The company fired 12 000 workers after they failed to appear in disciplinary hearings.
Despite the dismissal, workers have vowed not to appeal and still regard themselves as Amplats workers.
On Wednesday, they marched to the NUM offices in Rustenburg to de-register their membership with the union.
Striking S.Africa gold miners reject pay offer
Reuters 11 October 2012
Union says options in gold dispute now "exhausted"
* Platinum output falls 1.9 pct in August
* One man burnt to death in protest (Adds man killed, trucker strike latest)
By Sherilee Lakmidas and Agnieszka Flak
JOHANNESBURG, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Striking gold miners in South Africa have rejected the industry's latest wage offer, a trade union said on Thursday, dimming hopes that wildcat strikes that have paralysed the sector could end anytime soon.
Since August, almost 100,000 workers across South Africa - including 75,000 in the mining sector - have downed tools in often illegal and violent strikes that are hitting economic growth and undermining investor confidence in the minerals hub.
"This was a final offer from the companies. They said take it or leave it," Lesiba Seshoka, spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers said. "Now that it has been rejected our options have been exhausted."
Africa's top two bullion producers, AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields, have been hit by an estimated 48,000 miners taking to the streets to fight for higher wages.
The action is costing AngloGold 32,000 ounces of gold each week, while Gold Fields is losing 2,300 ounces a day at the two mines that have been affected. Continued...
Cape ‘has most violent protests’
Bronwynne Jooste 11 October 2012
Cape Town - The Western Cape is seeing more violent service delivery protests than most other provinces. For the first time in five years, the province has had more protests than Gauteng.
While Gauteng’s protests have dramatically decreased this year, the Western Cape is leading the trend in violent protests.
There were more than 200 protests in SA between January and August.
Reasons include unhappiness with municipal services like water and electricity. But other issues like land and housing are also major factors.
These are the findings of the Multi-level Government Initiative’s Service Delivery Protest Barometer.
The protest barometer initiative is based within UWC’s Community Law Centre.
Researchers on Wednesday outlined their latest findings.
In the first eight months the Western Cape had 51 protests to Gauteng’s 30.
Violent protests include rocks hurled at motorists or tyres burned to block roads.
Jaap de Visser, who heads the initiative, said it was not clear why the numbers were rising in the Western Cape while dropping in Gauteng.
“Gauteng could be getting something right, or the media there is not writing that much about the protests.
“In the Western Cape it could be linked to the stand-off between the DA and the ANCYL… or because there is progress, but people don’t see that progress where they want to see it.”
Nico Steytler, the director of UWC’s community law centre, said the reasons for protests often changed.
The unhappiness might have started with housing. But when it was not resolved, people became frustrated.
“Housing is no longer the issue, it’s now: ‘You are ignoring us’. The lack of response then triggers another cycle of protests.” Steytler said local government was often the target. For instance, there were no protests against the provincial government when there were low matric pass rates. “Local government is the closest to the people.”
Derek Powell, a senior researcher with the initiative, said it was important not to draw “large conclusions” based on the findings.
Powell said more research needed to be done linking issues like unemployment to protests. The initiative would also track a municipality’s audit outcomes to see whether this had any impact on the number of protests.
“We should be prudent and cautious about speculation on these issues.”
Powell said the initiative wanted to study the triggers and warning signs of protest violence.
The city stressed that the spate of recent protests in Cape Town were politically motivated. Since July protests have caused R14 million worth of damage.
Solly Malatsi, spokesman for mayor Patricia de Lille, said there was a “clear political motive” from the ANCYL who “threatened on numerous occasions” to make the city and province “ungovernable”. “It is essential to differentiate between genuine service delivery protests by communities calling for additional services and politically orchestrated protests that are initiated by a political minority to advance their political agenda.”
Malatsi said this was also a finding in the Municipal IQ. The city’s own customer satisfaction survey showed the majority of residents were satisfied with municipal services. He said the city also provided a wide range of free services.
The ANC in Cape Town said the increase in protests spoke of the frustration of residents whose complaints were falling on deaf ears.
Tony Ehrenreich, the leader of the ANC in the city council, said the number of protests were climbing because people were becoming more frustrated.
“People believe their demands are not being taken seriously. There is a sense that their needs are not at the top of the list. The experience is that the actual delivery takes place in the wealthy areas and the promises of delivery happen in the poor areas.”
Ehrenreich said although other provinces did have the funds to address all service delivery problems, they were at least committing money to solve them.
“In the Western Cape there is significant under-expenditure in relation to people’s needs.”
Brown’s supporters ‘paid to protest’
Leila Samodien 11 October 2012
Cape Town - About 50 protesters turned up to support fraud accused Arthur Brown outside court on Wednesday, but several said that they didn’t know who he was and that they had been paid to protest.
One Mitchells Plain man said he was part of a group who had been “randomly selected off the streets” to take part.
He said that they were “obviously” not willing to do it for free and that they had been paid “a fee”, but he would not say how much or by whom.
He then pointed out former Fidentia employee Mogamad Salie, saying he would have more information because he had helped organise the protest.
Salie denied any knowledge of protesters being paid.
“Most of these people are investors or they worked for Fidentia,” he said. “I was a delivery driver.”
The protesters gathered outside the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday for what was to be the start of Brown’s criminal trial.
But Judge President John Hlophe postponed the case to November 6 because the judge to whom the trial had been allocated, Judge Daniel Dlodlo, had previously handled a matter involving Brown.
As Brown left the courthouse, another of the protesters – who confirmed he, too, was being paid to be there – asked whether Brown was “the man this is about”.
He said that none of the protesters knew what they were protesting about or who Brown was. They brandished posters, some of which read: “Brown is innocent”, “Curator is a crook”, “Curator stole my money” and “Fraud Services Board”, referring to the Financial Services Board (FSB), which placed Fidentia under curatorship in 2007.
One of the protesters also handed out four-page, colour-printed comic booklets to people coming to the court.
The contents of the booklet, titled The Tale of the Two Curators, appeared to mock the board and Fidentia curators Dines Gihwala and George Papadakis.
Among the protesters were former SA Nylon Spinners employees. One, Woodrow Christian, who said some of the workers had invested money in Fidentia through the Antheru Beleggings Trust.
“We received payouts from 2004 to 2007, but we haven’t got anything since,” said Christian. He believed Brown was innocent.
Approached inside the court after the proceedings, Brown said that he did not know anything about a protest outside because he had arrived at the court early.
After he left the courthouse, he addressed the media, saying it felt “good” to have supporters.
“These people aren’t wrong to blame the curators for losses [of Fidentia money],” said Brown.
He said he had filed criminal complaints against the curators about such losses.
Eric Ntabazalila, regional spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, could not confirm whether charges had been laid against Gihwala and Papadakis.
Brown faces nine criminal charges: four counts of fraud, one of money laundering and two each of corruption and theft. His case has been on the court roll for two years.
When he last appeared in court in August, Judge Hlophe warned Brown his R1 million bail would be forfeited if he was not ready to proceed with the trial.
Speaking after court proceedings on Wednesday, Brown’s attorney, June Marks, said they were ready to go to trial.
Some S.African truckers suspend strike, bulk press on
Agnieszka Flak and Wendell Roelf (Reuters) 10 October 2012
Some of South Africa's striking truckers have agreed to return to work on Wednesday, easing pressure on Africa's biggest economy where two weeks of labour unrest in the transport sector have hit supplies of fuel, cash and consumer goods.
But disputes in the mining sector escalated after Gold One fired the majority of its 1,900 workers at its Ezulwini operation, paralysed since last week by a wildcat strike. Atlatsa Resources said it had also fired 2,161 miners for an illegal strike.
Since August, almost 100,000 workers across South Africa, including 75,000 in the mining sector, have downed tools in often illegal and violent strikes that may hit economic growth this year and undermine investor confidence in the minerals hub.
Two transport unions with 5,500 members agreed to abandon the truckers' strike, but the biggest labour group, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) which represents about 28,000 workers, pressed on with the boycott.
Another 9,500-strong transport union denied reports its members would also suspend strike action, saying negotiations were continuing.
An employers' association had earlier said three transport unions had suspended the strike because "employers have now offered double digits (a pay rise) for the year". It said it was still in talks with all groups to hammer out a final deal.
The rand currency, which fell to 3-1/2 year lows against the dollar on Monday on worsening investor sentiment about labour strife, firmed on news the transport unions would end their walk-out.
SATAWU is demanding annual wage increases of 12 percent for two years - more than double the inflation rate, while employers have offered a total 18 percent pay rise over that period.
"We are willing to compromise on our demands, but only as long as the employers do the same," said Vincent Masoga, a spokesman for SATAWU.
An employers' body said last week that the freight industry was losing around 1.2 billion rand in turnover each week. If the protests expand to rail and ports, exports of coal and other minerals would also be hit.
Affected companies include logistics groups Imperial Holding, Super Group, Grindrod, Barloworld and Bidvest.
President Jacob Zuma's ruling African National Congress has been criticised for letting the strikes spread. Moody's ratings agency downgraded government bonds a notch last month, saying ineffectual governance posed a long-term economic risk.
Large parts of the mining sector, responsible for about 6 percent of gross domestic product, have been brought to a standstill in the last two months by wildcat strikes by more than 15 percent of its workforce.
Platinum miner Lonmin reached a deal in September to end a wildcat strike for a yearly wage increase as high as 22 percent for some miners.
Within hours of the deal, workers at nearby platinum mines called for similar raises. In the days that followed, wildcat strikes hit sectors including gold, iron and car manufacturing.
The Chamber of Mines said it met unions on Tuesday "in an attempt to bring normalcy and stability" to the gold sector and that unions would address their members on Wednesday on proposals to correct anomalies in working conditions.
Last week, mining giant Anglo American Platinum fired 12,000 of its workers who went on an illegal strike, raising the stakes in the labour disputes. Analysts are warning of further job losses and the closure of marginal shafts.
Almost 50 people have been killed in the current labour strife - 34 of them shot dead by police on August 16 at Lonmin's Marikana mine in the deadliest security incident since the end of apartheid in 1994.
"The ongoing violence that has led to the senseless and untimely death of workers will further discourage direct investment in the industry," Bheki Sibiya, chief executive of the Chamber of Mines, said in a statement.
Kumba Iron Ore said it could not honour its contractual obligations to deliver ore to ArcelorMittal's South African unit due to an illegal protest at its giant Sishen mine.
On Monday, a local government workers' union said it also planned a protest in the next few days, the first sign of labour unrest spreading into the public sector.
SATAWU is repugnantly appalled by the employers behavior
SATAWU 10 October 2012
Never is the history of our bargaining council have we ever had employers walking away from the negotiations
SATAWU is repugnantly appalled and shocked by the employers in their decision to walk away from the negotiating table this afternoon at the bargaining council. Just after we resumed the negotiations the CCMA presented our position to the employers and upon such a move, the employers walked out.
The employers have since disappeared and we believe their delusional attitude is informed by a decision by the smaller unions to have called off the strike action.
The employers together with PTWU jointly addressed the press and sent out confusions regarding the suspension of the strike to our members and the public.
We were hopeful that all parties would come to a consensus today in a clear effort to end the strike action. However the tactic y the employers signifies their total disregard to the workers who keep the wheels of the economy moving and therefore rendering the entire industry frustrated.
Meanwhile our strike continues as SATAWU and we are also looking forward to a secondary solidarity strike by the freight and ports sectors.
For more information please call:
Acting National Media Officer
South African Transport & Allied Workers’ Union
A revolutionary union most admired
Tel: 011 333 6127
Cell: 083 297 3826
Mineworkers march to cancel NUM membership
Sapa 10 October 2012
Sacked Amplats mineworkers have marched to the regional office of the National Union of Mineworkers in Rustenburg to cancel their membership.
"We are at their offices. There is no one here. They have run away. There are thousands of us from four mines and the comrades from Samancor."
He said another march to the NUM office would be arranged.
"We have dispersed and we our going to meet at our different shafts to discuss when we are marching again."
Police spokesperson Captain Dennis Adriao said the group gathered in the city's city centre without a permit.
"We explained to them that they need a permit to march. They understood and dispersed peacefully," he said.
Mdoda said they would not appeal their dismissals.
"We are not going to appeal because we see no reason to appeal."
The workers elected a committee to speak for them. They burnt NUM T-shirts at one of the protests at Samancor in Mooinooi.
At their meetings they had a box full of membership forms for the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), despite claims they had no ties with any union.
Amplats fired 12 000 workers last week. The company said since the illegal strike started less than 20% of workers had reported for duty.
"Currently four of the company's mining operations in the Rustenburg area have insufficient staff to operate and only essential services are being carried out at those mines. Our Rustenburg concentrators, smelters and refineries and Bathopele mine continue to operate normally," the company said in a statement.
The strike had spread to Amplats operations in Limpopo.
"Anglo American Platinum also confirms that the company has begun to experience strike contagion at its Union and Amandelbult [Tumela and Dishaba] operations, where workers have presented memorandums of demands similar to those received in Rustenburg," Amplats said. – Sapa
Kumba talks to striking workers
Business News 8 October 2012
Johannesburg - Negotiations with striking workers at Kumba Iron Ore's Sishen mine in the Northern Cape were continuing on Monday, the company said.
“The company's engagement with the strikers is focused on encouraging them to leave the mine property, securing all mining equipment, and to resume safe mining operations as soon as possible,” said spokesman Gert Schoeman.
The workers went on strike on October 3, demanding a monthly salary of R15,000 for all Kumba workers.
Schoeman said production was suspended on October 4 when the strikers blocked access to the pit, creating an unsafe environment for mining operations.
“The company is losing approximately 120,000 tons per day of finished product due to the illegal strike,” he said.
“However, Kumba currently estimates that it will have sufficient production from its other mines and stockpiles of finished product at Sishen Mine and Saldanha to continue supplying its customers until mid-October.”
Schoeman said loading operations at Sishen Mine had also been affected by the illegal strike and not all load-out stations were operating at full capacity.
“Kumba concluded a two-year wage agreement with organised labour two months ago that makes provision for an increase of between nine percent and 12 percent (total cost to company), which was well above the rate of inflation.”
He said permanent staff below management level also benefit from Envision, an employee share scheme, that paid out R2.7 billion to 6209 members at its first maturity date in December 2011.
Each scheme member employed by Kumba since its market listing in 2006 received a pre-tax cash payout of approximately R570,000 at the time, he said.
“Envision scheme members also receive dividends twice a year which amounted to R33,675 (pre-tax) per member in August 2012.” - Sapa
Amplats workers refuse to accept dismissals
Molaole Montsho 8 October 2012
Sacked Anglo American Platinum miners have refused to accept their dismissals for embarking on a wildcat strike.
This is the beginning of the war', warn striking Amplats minersAmplats fires 12 000 workers ahead of talksWildcat strikes at mines continueGold Fields evicts workers as mining strike spreadsFarlam commission hears NUM 'shot at protesters'"We used the Bleskop Stadium on Saturday, a day after the mine fired us. If we were fired they could not have allowed us to use their property," said Gaddhafi Mdoda, one of the strike leaders.
"The dismissal does not threaten us. If the mine is going to dismiss us, no one is going to work at the mine."
He said despite being fired they regarded themselves as employees of Amplats and workers would gather at the Bleskop Stadium again on Monday.
"We are going to Bleskop, we are still employees of the mine," he said.
He said they would not appeal their dismissals but continue with the strike until their demand was met.
Amplats fired 12 000 workers on Friday after they failed to attend disciplinary hearings. Workers went on a wildcat strike on September 12, demanding a monthly salary of R16 000 and allowances.
On Thursday night one of the workers was killed at Nkaneng informal settlement near Photsaneng.
The police fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse them, and later a man identified as Mtshunquleni Qakamba (48) was found dead.
"We are going to lay a charge of murder against the police for killing one of our comrades," Mdoda said.
He said the case would be opened at the Rustenburg police station on Monday.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in North West has appealed to the workers to suspend their strike.
"We are calling on all workers who are on [an] unprotected strike to reconsider to suspend the strike to allow the negotiations to start and allow the federation to lead their demand for proper disputes and take a protected action which will not dismiss anyone," said provincial secretary Solly Phetoe.
The federation appealed to Anglo American Platinum to reinstate fired workers.
"We call on the employers to reinstate all those workers and call the unions to discuss the demands of workers," said Phetoe.
Spate of attacks
Phetoe said the federation was concerned about the spate of attacks on the leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) and their relatives.
"This is clearly no longer about wages but a clear attack on the NUM, Cosatu and its members.
"Workers are now under attack and being forced to join other unions that are not their choice. Workers are forced to get into unprotected strikes ...," he said.
He said the killing of NUM leaders was a cause for concern and workers were now living in fear of raising their cases with the union, management or the police.
The cousin of an NUM shop steward was shot and killed in Marikana, near Rustenburg at the weekend.
"An unemployed cousin of a NUM shop steward was shot and killed last night [Saturday] at the shop steward 's house in what is reported to be a case of mistaken identity," NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said.
"Gunmen appeared from nowhere at the Marikana hostel and immediately shot the steward 's cousin who was sitting on a bed. The cousin died on the scene."
On Friday night, a NUM branch leader was shot dead at his home in Marikana, in what Seshoka described as an "assassination".
"This comes after the death of the NUM branch chairperson last weekend and the attack on another branch leader, who escaped while his wife was killed," said Seshoka.
Five NUM members – two of them shop stewards – were killed in violence associated with a strike at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana between August 10 and August 16, said Seshoka.
"Cosatu NW condemns all the killings no matter who is involved, all the killers, in particular those of activists in our trade unions," said Phetoe.
"Cosatu supports the demands of the workers but we are not supporting illegal actions, and the continuation of killing each other. We are not supporting intimidation during strikes or forcing workers to join unions that they have not chosen ..."
The South African Communist Party said what was camouflaged as legitimate workers' demands and protest in the mining sector had now been hijacked by regressive forces, just like in apartheid, to try and eliminate the NUM and its basic unity.
"To use violence to mobilise workers away from their organisation must be strongly condemned. Over a period of time the SACP has been warning of an existence of a lumpen tendency that is prepared to do anything including these senseless killings, to assume power in society," said spokesperson Malesela Maleka.
The SACP called on the state to act "with haste".
"We also call upon employers to take responsibility for these developments as it is their own dangerous and opportunistic actions in trying to weaken the NUM that has led to this situation," the SACP said. – Sapa
Port worker strike deadline looms
Business News8 October 2012
Johannesburg - Workers at railways and ports will know by Friday whether they can join an ongoing strike by truck drivers, the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) said.
Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said on Monday that the union gave a seven-day notice to strike at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration last Friday.
The CCMA has until Friday to decide whether to give permission to Satawu to expand the strike to port and rail workers.
Masoga said the union was continuing to plan protests and pickets amongst truck drivers, in co-ordination with other unions.
He said the union would continue to negotiate with employers, with the next meeting to discuss truck drivers' salary demands being scheduled for Tuesday.
Satawu has been asking for a 12 percent wage increase but was prepared to negotiate a compromise if the employers, including the Road Freight Employers' Association (RFEA), were willing to also compromise.
“We're prepared to even take 10 percent but the guys are not budging at all,” Masoga said.
The unions involved in the truck drivers' strike said action continued on Saturday but they were hopeful an agreement would be reached during negotiations this week.
“We are positive that we might find a solution because there is a lot at stake,” the Motor Transport Workers' Union's (MTWU) Dirk White said.
“This strike is not about political play - people can lose their jobs.”
The unions involved are Satawu, the Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union SA (PTAWU), the Transport and Allied Workers' Union of SA and MTWU.
Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said the strike was continuing and they had received a notice of negotiations.
“We will always be hopeful,” he said.
“More importantly, we are hopeful that the employers will play ball this time around.”
PTAWU's Pancho Ndevu agreed with the other unions and said they would remain hopeful for the workers. - Sapa
Mangaung battle gets violent
IOL News 8 October 2012
Johannesburg - ANC nomination processes turned into an ugly battle, with party members and leaders apparently exchanging blows and threatening each other at the weekend.
The incidents took place in Port Elizabeth and Sekhukhune in Limpopo, where nominations had to be postponed after members literally fought over preferred candidates for leadership positions at the Mangaung conference.
Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) regional chairman Nceba Faku and regional secretary Zandisile Qupe allegedly battled physically.
Details were posted on the Facebook page of a regional member – “Breaking News: NMB ANC Regional Chair and Secretary have fought physically over the leadership of the ANC”.
The fight apparently took place after Qupe was quoted in the local newspaper as saying the metro backed president Jacob Zuma.
This angered Faku, who in turn declared in the same paper he supported change and deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.
A heated argument between Faku and Qupe apparently ensued at Florence Matomela House, the regional ANC headquarters.
An insider said: “They exchanged vulgar language and punches started flying. The officials quickly stopped the fight.
“They were told to keep it under wraps because it was going to bring the organisation into disrepute.”
He slammed both Nceba and Faku, saying what they had done was alien to the ANC.
“You cannot spoon-feed the members of the ANC with the names of the people they should support. Qupe was spoon-feeding the branches on who they should nominate before the branches decide who they want to elect as their leader in Mangaung. Faku was also wrong.
“The ANC members have to decide on their own [who] they want to nominate as a preferred candidate or president,” he said.
Qupe denied he had exchanged blows with Faku.
But he said it was mischievous of Faku to express his personal choice of leadership in the paper, contrary to the decision of the regional executive committee.
In what has been styled “continuity and change”, Nelson Mandela Bay – the second-biggest region in the Eastern Cape – would continue with the current leadership in the ANC led by Zuma.
But they would replace national NEC member and North West Premier Thandi Modise with NEC member Jessie Duarte, and national treasurer Mathews Phosa with KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize.
“They (Modise and Phosa) have not shown signs of working as [part of] the collective.”
The decision had already been communicated to all the branches and structures of the alliance.
Striker hits Free State water supply
SAPA 7 October 2012
Strike action by workers at the Dewetsdorp Municipality, in the Free State has led to water disruptions in the area, the SABC reported on Saturday.
Mayor of the Naledi Municipality Mpolokeng Mahase reportedly said a meeting with the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) would be held on Monday.
Municipal workers scheduled to do maintenance work, failed to arrive for work on Saturday, leading to water disruptions. - Sapa
A PLEA FOR SUPPORT FROM THE POLICE
This request came from SAPS members themselves. The incident has cut
across racial & cultural lines & shows the level of frustration &
anger within the police against management failure. The fact that more
& more leaks regarding corruption are emanating from within the
service also indicates an increasing number are far from happy with
the way they are being used & abused by their political masters, often
against their own communities. Some are tired of being hated or viewed
only with fear & suspicion. Top-down corruption is undermining even
basic service delivery. This, all combined, is having severe
pschological effects on many officers, leading to increased domestic
violence, substance abuse, violence & suicide. It's a
self-perpetuating cycle of violence resulting in Marikana-style
tragedies. The current political power struggle has also further
sub-divided an already never-properly-integrated police service. As
they say, - when elephants fight it's the grass that gets trampled.
A PLEA FOR SUPPORT FROM THE POLICE
Please join SAPS & members of the public in protest tommorrow to
demand real commitment from the Government & SAPS top management to
end violent crime & the killing of citizens & cops alike.
Members of the SAPS have requested the public join hands to voice our
outrage at yet another senseless murder - this time of a police
SUNDAY 7 OCTOBER @ 2PM
NEW GERMANY KENTUCKY
Two Pinetown SAPS detectives were shot today when they entered the New
Germany KFC to buy food while an armed robbery was in progress. One
member was not wearing a bullet proof vest & was shot 3 times in the
chest, the other was shot in the thigh. Both were taken to hospital
where one member later died of his wounds.
A member who responded to the incident killed one of the robbers &
recovered R5000 & one firearm. The 2 other suspects fled on foot.
Recently a young Glenmore father was gunned down in his home in front
of his family during an armed robbery. The robbers stole +/- R30 000
worth of goods which were later sold for around R5000. What a waste of
human life! And the body count goes on & on & on.....
KZN is the murder capital of SA & we are all suffering - communities &
good cops alike are equal victims of an uncaring government that
cynically manipulates security agencies for political ends, yet
routinely fails ordinary citizens & hardworking, honest officers who
all confront violent crime on a daily basis.
WE ARE ALL VICTIMS OF A GOVERNMENT THAT IS FAILING TO PROTECT US & HAS
ALLOWED CRIME TO RULE OUR LIVES & FRACTURE OUR COMMUNITIES!!
We must support good, honest, hardworking police who are members of
our communities & often die in the line of duty for us & demand action
against all criminals regardless if they are members of our
communities, members of the police themselves, or in government.
We call on government to - Stop the killing!!! Stop the crime!! Stop
Convener: Umbilo Action Group
‘You can’t buy bread, and you may get shot’
Leanne Jansen 8 October 2012
Durban - Two policemen were shot dead in Durban over a weekend in which ordinary citizens came under fire in a shopping centre, on the streets and in a takeaway restaurant.
On Sunday, an off-duty policeman was killed in KwaMashu, close to the area where a councillor was abducted and murdered on Friday.
News of his killing came as people from Pinetown and New Germany gathered outside a New Germany Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet to lay flowers and bid farewell to Detective Constable Ajith Krishinlall, who died after being hit several times in a shoot-out with robbers on Friday night.
His colleague, Detective Constable Jerome Ngoma was critically injured in the same robbery.
At 7am on Sunday, customers and staff in the Sunningdale Centre Spar in the northern suburbs escaped with their lives when 15 men stormed the shop with pistols and AK47s. They emptied the tills and robbed people of their wallets and cellphones. A shoot-out ensued and, it is understood that a Blue Security guard was injured, although this could not be officially confirmed.
Dianne Kohler Barnard, DA police spokeswoman who was at the KFC gathering for the dead officer, described the city as “the wild west”.
“You can’t go to buy a loaf of bread, and you might get shot. Then the minister (Nathi Mthwethwa) wants to tell me crime has gone down…” she said.
A frustrated senior policeman, formerly of the Pinetown area, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “our hands are being tied behind our backs”.
“On the one hand, the public says we’re not providing a service. On the other, we’re accused of brutality,” he said.
What has incensed the Pinetown and New Germany communities is that a third policeman, who also responded to the KFC robbery and who shot dead a robber, was subsequently charged with murder by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
The directorate were also accused of hijacking the crime scene and contaminating evidence, allegations which spokesman Moses Dlamini categorically rejected.
“It is a known fact that the directorate has upset a lot of policemen by arresting members of the infamous Cato Manor unit and that some of their friends and supporters will go out of their way to tarnish the name of the Ipid and its investigators,” Dlamini said.
He said the officer had not been arrested and was not to appear in court, but that the directorate had registered a murder docket, as was routine, when a person died as a result of police action.
But Jacques Stephen, a reservist who addressed the emotionally charged KFC gathering, said: “The SAPS are expected to love and hug [criminals] because they’ve got rights… there are members who have lost the fight, who get charged and prosecuted. The police are taken off the streets for doing their jobs.”
Kohler Barnard, whose son Peter, 24, was hijacked outside their home a week ago, said: “If you hold a gun to someone’s head, any cop… has the right to take you out.”
Krishinlall’s family was suffering the same devastation as “many other families, whose relatives had died in the line of duty. “These are the people who put themselves between you and a bullet,” she said.
“If I find that [the Ipid] destroyed forensic evidence, I will not let this matter drop, I assure you.”
The crowd released white balloons into the afternoon sky for the dead policeman.
The daughter of a policeman clutched a placard which read: “Is our dad next?”
No arrests have been made for the KFC killing, but a case of business robbery, murder and attempted murder is being pursued, SAPS spokesman Thulani Zwane said.
Another SAPS spokesman Jay Naicker, said the fatal shooting of the off-duty officer outside KwaMashu Hostel couldn’t be linked to tensions between members of the IFP and NFP.
The policeman, who was in civilian clothes, was on his way to a friend when he was shot repeatedly at 3pm.
No arrests had yet been made in that murder either.
In the Spar hold-up, witnesses said the robbers had herded them into the receiving bay when Blue Security arrived. The robbers then fired shots through the store’s windows at the guard.
Spar owner Garth Slater, said one customer was hit on the head and was taken to hospital, but was treated and released.
He said support from the Sunningdale community had been “amazing”. Twenty minutes after the incident police reservists, volunteers and a crisis team arrived to assist staff.
The Mercury, with additional reporting by Bongani Hans, Wendy Jasson da Costa and Andile Dube.
ANC plans crime march
Erin Hanekom (look local.co.za) 2 October 2012
A CRIME awareness march will take place on Saturday, November 3 on the Bluff. Hosted by the ANC branch for ward 66, the purpose of the march is to organise residents to stand together and fight against crime.
“This is not an ANC project, it is for all residents and organisations in the area. We want to change the mentality that crime only affects some people and to show strength through the co-operation of many people and local organisations,” said Thabani Nyawose, ANC secretary for ward 66.
A representative from the KZN Security MEC’s office and Mayor James Nxumalo are expected to give speeches after the march.
Local organisations have been asked to participate, along with Brighton Beach SAP, CPF, army and local security companies. Wentworth Hospital staff will be on-hand, checking blood pressure, sugar levels and giving health advice. The march will start at 9am on Tara Road, next to the Bluff Medicross and will continue to the Bluff Eco Park, with speeches to follow. Entertainment and refreshments will be provided.
Active volunteer crime-fighters and the police will be thanked for their work and community members will be asked to raise their concerns and suggestions.
“We hope it will be a forum for interaction, giving residents access to people with the authority to make changes,” said Thabani. Community members are urged to make suggestions and provide assistance. Contact Thabani on 073-417-6886 or email@example.com.
S.Africa miners rally after 12,000 sacked, threaten violence
Johannes Myburgh (Yahoo News) 6 October 2012
Hundreds of the 12,000 miners sacked by the world's largest platinum producer in South Africa on Saturday rejected their dismissal at a rally that also mourned a colleague killed in clashes with police.
Their leaders spoke to the workers at a stadium in the northern town of Rustenburg and encouraged them to reject the dismissal by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), and to keep protesting until they win a pay rise.
"This is the beginning of the war," one leader Gaddhafi Mdoda said to loud cheers.
"Management is just trying to frustrate us. We won't back down," said another, George Tyobeka.
"If Anglo American are not willing to put something on the table, they must pack their things and go," Mdoda told AFP.
Some workers said they would use violence to force mine management to rehire them.
"If they are not willing to talk to us many things will be burnt starting from today," said Hendrick Mpondo, 27.
"Right now some of the workers were planning to go and burn the smelters."
Near the Thembelani shaft, three vehicles torched on Friday night still lay by the roadside, a sign of the violence that has accompanied the strike.
Groups of workers from various shafts made their way into the stadium under police escort, singing and chanting slogans, while a helicopter circled the area.
Workers observed a moment of silence for a colleague who died during clashes with police on Thursday, near a hill where they have been staging daily demonstrations.
They have vowed to continue their protests until their demands are met.
Workers are pushing for at least the 11-22 percent raises that those at Lonmin's nearby Marikana mine received after a strike that left 46 dead, 35 of whom were killed by police.
In Marikana on Friday evening a National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch leader at a different mine was shot dead in what the union has described as an assassination.
"The NUM is shocked at yet another assassination of one of its branch leaders in Marikana," the union said in a statement.
"This comes after the death of the NUM branch chairperson last weekend and the attack on another branch leader who escaped while his wife was killed."
Unions have come under fire as workers reject the traditional negotiation structures and accuse their guilds of conniving with mine managers.
Around 28,000 Amplats workers have been on a wildcat strike for three weeks at the firm's sprawling facilities in Rustenburg, which account for around a quarter of world platinum production.
Amplats on Friday said the miners had failed to appear before disciplinary hearings "and have therefore been dismissed in their absence".
It is the latest crisis to hit South Africa's vital minerals sector, which has been crippled by a wave of violent disputes over miners' pay since August.
The company said the strike had so far cost 700 million rand ($80 million, 60 million euros) in lost revenue.
-- Spectre of violence --
But with many miners unwilling to give up their demands for higher pay and Amplats taking a tough line, the spectre of violence looms.
At least seven people have been killed around Rustenburg in strike-related volence this week.
With around 100,000 workers currently on strike across the country, President Jacob Zuma -- who has publicly kept his distance from the crisis -- has called for the work stoppages to end.
"We should not seek to portray ourselves as a nation that is perpetually fighting," he told business leaders in Johannesburg Friday.
Investors, already spooked by earlier violence, warned the Amplats dismissals could deepen a crisis that has already paralysed an industry accounting for around 20 percent of the continental powerhouse's GDP.
"The government is doing nothing," said Peter Attard Montalto, a strategist with Japanese bank Nomura, who warned the strikes had already shaved 0.2 to 0.3 percent off third quarter growth.
Analysts have warned that the strikers' demands will result in job losses in the country where one in every four employable people is already out of work.
In February, Amplats' rival Impala Platinum fired 17,000 workers, only to rehire them a few weeks later as part of a wage agreement.
Amplats on Friday indicated it was open to "exploring the possibility of bringing forward wage negotiations within our current agreements."
More trucks go up in flames
IOL News 6 October 2012
At least five trucks were torched across the Cape Peninsula and shots fired during one incident on Friday, with police on high alert to maintain law and order as authorities scrambled to keep pace with the attacks.
This was in spite of a second court order issued by a Joburg court in a bid to stop the extreme violence associated with the two-week truckers’ strike, which is said to be costing the transport sector more than R1 billion in revenue every week.
While the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has denied involvement in the violence, they vowed yesterday to intensify the strike, calling on workers in the ports and rail sector to conduct a secondary strike, which could severely hit the country’s ports.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said there had been attacks “all over the Peninsula” on Friday, with police officers deployed and on alert “to keep law and order”.
He confirmed that three trucks were torched in Philippi East, Nyanga and Gugulethu yesterday, and another stoned in Philippi East.
Three people, including a child, were injured in an attack at Borcherds Quarry yesterday.
“It was truck strike-related. The truck was stoned and then shots were fired. We are investigating who fired the shots,” Traut said.
Late yesterday afternoon a fifth truck was torched on the N2, blocking the Airport Approach Road.
Dozens of similar incidents have been reported across the country since the strike began.
On Friday, the Road Freight Association turned to the Johannesburg Labour Court in an attempt to halt the strike by four unions, including Satawu, the Transport and Allied Workers Union of SA, the Professional Transport and Allied Workers Union, and the Motor Transport Workers Union.
While the attempt was unsuccessful, an order was issued in respect of the first two unions, which Road Freight Association executive officer Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht said made it “tougher on the unions to continue with irregular strike action”.
The other two unions did not come to an agreement, and their matter was postponed.
Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga confirmed they were planning to “intensify” the strike by calling for a secondary strike by their members in the ports and rail sector, to take place “some time next week”.
He did not know off-hand the number of members Satawu had in ports and railways, but said “we have lots of members there”.
The association said it had received no notice of a secondary strike, which would be “illegal and unprotected”.
Transnet said in response to queries that “our colleagues throughout are working as normal”.
Talks between the four unions, which represent about 20 000 workers in the transport industry, and employers deadlocked on Thursday after the union declined the latest three-year offer of a 10 percent increase in the first year, 8 percent in the second, and 9 percent in the third year.
Masoga said the offer did not meet their demand, and was no different from an earlier offer of 9 percent.
Brown-Engelbrecht said the union’s failure to sign the agreement was “a breach of trust, and threatens the institution of collective bargaining”.
Masoga said the union hoped the two parties would meet again, but they would strike indefinitely until their demands were met.
The Road Freight Association said the strike was costing workers around R270 million in wages, and the industry R1.2bn in turnover every week.
The strike is also starting to harm deliveries of fuel, food and goods, with some petrol stations in Johannesburg and Durban, in particular, running dry.
Shell said yesterday it had declared force majeure – a contract clause that frees both parties from liability if they cannot honour a contract to deliver fuel.
Meanwhile, SA retailers have reported mixed fortunes.
Pick n Pay director Neal Quirk said there were some stock shortages as a result of the strike, particularly in poultry and fresh produce.
“We are monitoring the situation on an hourly basis,” he said.
Woolworths said it had had some absenteeism, but had contingency plans in place to keep shops open.
Shoprite spokeswoman Sarita van Wyk said it had also not experienced “significant” shortages as a result of the strike.
Speaking yesterday during a SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry event, President Jacob Zuma said the strikes had impacted heavily on SA’s transport and mining industries.
“We should not seek to portray ourselves as a nation that is perpetually fighting. We must create a climate of constructive social dialogue, which South Africans are known for,” he urged.
The City of Cape Town said its waste removal contractor Waste Smart was also participating in the strike, and did not collect rubbish as scheduled on Friday.
It should, however, be collected by the end of today, so residents of Fish Hoek, Philippi, Delft, Somerset West, Gordons Bay, Strand and Melkbosstrand should leave their bins outside. - Weekend Argus
Don’t take law into own hands, urges IFP
IOL News 6 October 2012
Durban - People should not take the law into their own hands as political tension amongst political parties were very high in KwaZulu-Natal, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said on Saturday.
IFP leader in the province, Blessed Gwala urged members in KwaMashu to remain calm after the party's Ward 39 councillor Themba Xulu was abducted on Friday night.
Gwala said that it was alleged that Xulu was abducted by five armed men who pretended to be from the Pinetown police station who drove a car with a false registration number.
KwaZulu-Natal police confirmed that a councillor was abducted.
Captain Thulani Zwane said the councillor was taken on Friday night but could not release any more details.
He said about 1000 people marched to the KwaMashu police station shortly after the news about the abductions broke out.
Police minister Nathi Mthethwa was expected to brief the media at 3pm on Saturday afternoon and provide more details. - Sapa
Protestors close off highway with rocks
IOL News 6 October 2012
Johannesburg - Angry residents in Driezicht near Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, have barricaded the Golden Highway with rocks, according to a report on Saturday.
The SABC reported that the protesters, who have illegally occupied land, are demanding property to build houses.
They are refusing to talk to police, saying they want to be addressed by government officials, the public broadcaster reported.
Police are maintaining a strong presence while the protesters are singing struggle songs and burning tyres. - Sapa
Rubber bullets fired at Amplats workers
IOL News 4 October 2012
Nkaneng, North West - Police fired rubber bullets to disperse a group of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mineworkers in Nkaneng, near Rustenburg, on Thursday.
The group had earlier gathered at the top of a hill, and had barricaded roads linking Rustenburg and Marikana with burning rocks and burning tyres.
Police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the crowd, but onlookers from the informal settlement started stoning the police vans and police had to call for reinforcements.
A number of police nyalas were at the informal settlement and police were positioned at the entrance to the informal settlement.
Workers at Amplats have been on a wild cat strike demanding R16 000 monthly salary.
Shops and cars have been burnt in incidents linked to the strike. - Sapa
Another order against strike violence issued
IOL News 5 October 2012
Workers in the freight sector belonging to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) march through the Durban central business district, demanding an increase in salary September 26, 2012.
The Labour Court issued another court interdict aimed at preventing further violence in the truck drivers' strike, the Road Freight Employers Association said on Friday.
“We approached the court before in an attempt to address the violence that has tainted the strike to date. The order makes it tougher on the unions to continue with irregular strike action,” said spokeswoman Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht.
The interdict addressed the violence only, she said.
The RFEA secured an order last week to stop the violence that has seen delivery trucks being attacked and torched during the two week-long strike.
South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) spokesman Vincent Masoga said the employers' attempt to halt the strike had failed.
“The court re-affirmed the first order with a couple of instructions to unions and members to ensure that there is no violence.”
He said the court instructed unions to form a committee and appoint marshals who would ensure that the strike was peaceful.
Talks meant to end the strike collapsed on Thursday evening. Drivers want a 12 percent salary increase for each year while employers offered 8.5 percent for next year, and another 0.5 percent the following year
The unions involved are Satawu, the Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union SA, and the Motor Transport Workers' Union. - Sapa
Fiery attacks on trucks continue
IOL News5 October 2012
A bleak weekend looms for businesses, consumers and truckers as there’s no chance that the truck drivers’ strike will be resolved soon.
The strike has been characterised by violent attacks on trucks, particularly in Ekurhuleni and Cape Town.
Since the strike started last week, 26 trucks have been attacked and 21 drivers and passengers have been injured in Ekurhuleni, said Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department spokesman Kobeli Mokheseng this morning.
In the latest incident last night, a truck carrying medical waste was torched in the Roodekop area.
Emergency officials set up a 100m exclusion zone around the vehicle, as it was unclear what the truck was carrying. Law enforcement officials were trying to trace the driver.
This morning the Road Freight Employers’ Association (RFEA) confirmed the deadlock, and said there’s no plan yet for resuming negotiations.
The leading union in the strike, the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), said it was focusing on dealing with today’s court action by the RFEA to suspend the strike.
Negotiations stalled again yesterday as the unions and employers failed to reach an agreement in the bitter and increasingly violent wage strike.
The RFEA said there was an understanding that it would sign an agreement yesterday with the unions.
Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht, spokeswoman for the RFEA, declined to specify what the increase for each year would be, but said the third year’s increase was “well above projected CPI”. Consumer price index is a measure of inflation.
“All parties were committed to an acceptance of this deal and were going to return [yesterday] for signature of the deal,” she said.
This was the third time the RFEA thought it had reached an agreement before the unions had changed tack, she said.
The unions and the employers, said Brown-Engelbrecht, had agreed to take the deal back to their members on Wednesday and sign the deal to end the strike yesterday.
Satawu denied that the unions had agreed to sign a deal. “We could not have agreed to sign a contract, we all agreed to go back to speak to all our constituencies before signing anything,” said spokesman Vincent Masoga.
He said their processes were “highly democratic” and that they had to have support from their members before agreeing to sign a deal.
A deal was not reached because the employers would not change some of their conditions, many of which “caused concern”, said Masoga.
The RFEA and the unions negotiated through the night on Wednesday, with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and the Department of Labour facilitating the talks.
Lawyers from the RFEA and unions were scheduled to meet in the Johannesburg Labour Court today to argue an application for an interdict to suspend the strike.
Meanwhile, businesses are feeling the strain.
Shell confirmed shortages of petrol, saying deliveries of fuel were halted to areas affected by intimidation and violence.
Other garages around Joburg were also running low.
Yesterday retailer Pick n Pay warned that it was running low on some goods at its stores.
No end to pupil intimidation
IOL News 5 October 2012
Northern Cape - Pupils who returned to 41 schools that had been closed due to service delivery protests in the Northern Cape are still being intimidated, Naptosa said on Friday.
The National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA in that province said it was concerned about the intimidation still taking place at some schools.
“What concerns Naptosa is the situation where schools are still not open, although it is only a few schools, 1/8and 3/8 the fact that members of some unions are prohibiting the schools to re-open and intimidating Naptosa teachers who want to teach,” Naptosa CEO in the Northern Cape Louwrens Strydom said.
Children in the province stopped attending schools in June as residents in the Olifantshoek, Kuruman and Kathu areas protested over the lack of tarred roads and other municipal services.
By the end of September, pupils returned to school following interventions by the public protector, the deputy minister of mineral resources, and the police minister.
Naptosa said teachers and pupils subjected to intimidation by protesters needed support from the social development department.
“Many of the learners and teachers experienced violence and intimidation of a very aggressive nature... if not 1/8supported 3/8, the lesson to the learners will be that using violence and intimidation is the way to solve problems,” he said.
Strydom said teachers and pupils needed to undergo counselling. He was relieved at the news that grade 12 pupils would write their exams at a central point.
“This will prohibit disgruntled community members from disrupting this important examination.” - Sapa
TWO CLOTHING EMPLOYERS ARRESTED FOR POINTING FIRE-ARMS AT WORKERS
PRESS RELEASE: IMMEDIATE
SACTWU 5 October 2012
Two clothing employers were arrested yesterday, after threatening striking clothing workers by pointing rifles at them, most of whom are women workers. The incident happened in QwaQwa in the Free State. SACTWU’s local organiser in the area, Christopher Soetsane, immediately reported the matter to the police. In this instance, the police responded very quickly and took firm action. We compliment them for that.
The workers are all members of the Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU). They are on a protected (legal strike), demanding a living wage. The strike started yesterday. Many of them earn as little as R200 per week in reality, when the current legally prescribed wage is already as low as R534 per week.
SACTWU condemns this hooligan employer behaviour and will ensure that our members’ rights are properly protected.
If further comment is required, kindly contact SACTWU QwaQwa Branch Organiser, Christopher Soetsane, on 0766792180
South Africa wildcat strikes spread to more mines
Ed Stoddard and Agnieszka Flak (Yahoo News)4 October 2012
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A series of wildcat miners' strikes in South Africa spread to a new sector, iron ore, on Wednesday and hit another gold firm in an escalation of the labour unrest that is testing President Jacob Zuma's leadership.
The industrial action at Kumba Iron Ore, a unit of global miner Anglo American, further dented investor confidence in the continent's wealthiest economy as it showed the protests had moved beyond platinum and gold mines.
Workers at the Kusasalethu mine near Johannesburg, operated by South Africa's No. 3 bullion producer Harmony Gold, also downed tools in what management called an "unlawful" action launched outside the normal collective bargaining channels.
Zuma is under fire for failing to address and contain the workers' protests demanding wage increases, which stem in large part from glaring wealth inequalities persisting in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.
As many as 75,000 miners, or 15 percent of the South African mining sector's total workforce, are already out on strike, while a national truckers' stoppage is squeezing fuel suppliers. Analysts said if it lasts another week, some petrol stations could run dry and some banks' ATMs could run out of cash.
Kumba, one of the world's top 10 iron ore producers, said the wildcat strike at its giant Sishen Mine in the Northern Cape involved only 300 employees and was limited to one area in the open cast mine, leaving most of the facility unaffected.
"The action is being dealt with in line with the Company's labour relations procedure, with due consideration to the safety of the vast majority of workers who are not taking part in the unprotected strike," Kumba said in a statement.
Kumba's share price was over 4 percent lower on the news.
Shares of Harmony Gold fell 1.5 percent in Johannesburg.
The recent weeks of labour strife, in which around 50 people have been killed, have stirred up criticism of the ruling African National Congress and the presidency of Zuma, who faces a challenge from ANC rivals ahead of a party leadership conference in December.
In another illegal strike over wages by contractors at mining company Petmin, a security guard was hacked to death this week by knife-wielding assailants at the Somkhele mine in KwaZulu-Natal, local media quoted police as saying.
The rand fell one percent in early trade on Wednesday, partly due to the escalation of the mines conflict.
FEARS OF MORE MINES CLASHES
Kumba was regarded as immune to the strike contagion because rank and file employees there in December who had worked for at least 5 years were given a lump sum of about 345,000 rand each after taxes as part of a share scheme.
This represented a fortune to workers earning as little as 7,000 rand a month. But it was not immediately clear if any of the 300 reported strikers were among the 6,200 who had benefited from the plan.
"We thought the share plan meant this would not happen there," said Gideon du Plessis, the deputy secretary general of trade union Solidarity which represents skilled workers.
Solidarity is not taking part in the strike.
Kumba produced 41.3 million tonnes of ore in 2011.
Seven weeks of labour unrest and strikes, which originally erupted at Lonmin's Rustenburg operations, have now spread across the South African mining industry.
The world's No. 1 platinum producer Anglo American Platinum is also grappling to resolve a strike at its Rustenburg operations in the country's "platinum belt" about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. Worker attendance at Amplats' Rustenburg mines has fallen to below 20 percent.
Some 21,000 Amplats workers have joined the illegal walkout.
Fifteen thousand miners at Gold Fields KDC West mine downed tools on September 10, hitting production at the world's fourth-biggest bullion producer. Gold Fields bosses have refused to negotiate with them.
The spreading labour unrest has raised fears the country could see a repeat of the stand-off with police at Lonmin's platinum mine in August that led to the shooting of 34 miners.
It was South Africa's bloodiest security incident since the end of apartheid in 1994, and an official commission of enquiry started a probe this week into the killings.
The commission on Wednesday adjourned its hearings until October 22 to give lawyers involved more time to prepare and collect copies of relevant documents and testimony.
Men bust for homegrown speed bumps
IOL News 1 October 2012
A story from Alexandria, Johannesburg begs the question: Why is it necessary for residents of South Africa's biggest city to take the law (and the picks and shovels) into their own hands when it comes to road safety?
It seems two men were arrested on Sunday in Extension 9, Far East Bank in Alexandria, for digging trenches across a road.
Were they trying to occupy Alexandria? Drain their garden? Or lay their own cable for watching subscription TV?
Actually, none of the above.
The men told metro police they were tired of waiting for the authorities to install speed bumps.
They dug trenches to slow down the traffic through their mostly residential area, where pedestrians - especially children - are constantly at risk from speeding vehicles.
On the one hand it shows an admirable sense of community responsibility and willingness to tackle neighbourhood problems hands-on.
But, as a commentary on the level of service delivered by JMPD, it's pretty blunt, so it's not surprising that metro police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, took a dim view.
“The Johannesburg MPD cannot allow members of the community to take the law into their own hands,” he said, “as the digging of trenches results in the extensive damage of the tarred surface.” - Sapa
Toyota strike escalates to infighting
Bongani Hans 4 October 2012
Durban - Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), who are striking to demand an increase of R3.22 an hour from Toyota, their employer in Durban, have accused their leaders of betraying them and have called on them to resign.
The striking workers stopped operations at the country’s biggest motor manufacturer, which is near Prospecton, on Monday.
While they were protesting at the main entrance on Wednesday, the workers, most wearing Numsa T-shirts, hurled insults at the union’s regional leaders. Others called for a new union.
“We want phone numbers of Amcu [the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union] because we want to join a new union,” said worker Mandla Mnyandu.
“As soon as I join the new union I will burn my Numsa T-shirt because this union has failed to fight for our demands.”
Amcu was involved in the recent Lonmin strike, which left 36 mineworkers and two policemen dead.
On Wednesday, the strikers carried placards calling for former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema to support their action.
“Our regional secretary, Mbuso Ngubane, and our shop stewards have not been supportive to our demands,” said one striker.
“When we return from the strike we will sign a petition demanding a change of leadership in Numsa.”
Toyota spokesman Leo Kok said the company had shut down production when the workers had refused to work on Monday.
“Our management is currently in Durban negotiating with the union and some staff members, but I do not have an update of what is happening there,” said Kok.
He declined to divulge how much the company had lost as a result of the strike.
In a statement on Wednesday night, Johan van Zyl, the chief executive of Toyota SA Motors, said the unprotected strike revolved around the implementation of a 2010 national bargaining forum wage agreement.
“We are confident that we will be able to resolve the issue soon and hope to restart production at the first possible shift,” said Van Zyl.
Meanwhile, the truck drivers’ strike, now in its second week, continues to be marred by violent attacks on working drivers.
Sapa reports that in Cape Town two trucks were set alight and a third was pelted with stones on Wednesday.
Motorists on the N3 between Joburg and Durban also reported seeing convoys of 10 to 15 fuel tankers travelling under heavy police guard.
The drivers want a 12 percent salary increase, but their employers have offered 8.5 percent for next year, and 0.5 percent the following year. - The Mercury
NUM: Petra strike resolved
IOL News 5 October 2012
A strike at Petra Diamonds has been resolved, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Friday.
“They have agreed to stop the strike,” said NUM spokesman Peter Bailey.
“An agreement has been signed and all operations will normalise on Sunday.”
Details of the agreement were not yet available, but he confirmed the miners would resume work on Sunday.
Workers at Petra's Kimberley mine embarked on an underground sit-in on Tuesday, which halted operations.
In the meantime, workers at the company's mine near Koffiefontein, in the southern Free State, had also downed tools.
The new agreement covered all Petra mines, Bailey said. - Sapa
Protesting miners vow to stay underground
Michael Mokoena (IOL News) 4 October 2012
Kimberley - Mine workers who have spent more than two days underground at Petra Diamonds’ mines in Kimberley are refusing to come to the surface until the management of the mine agreed to their wage increase demands.
The workers have downed tools and are staging a sit-in underground at the company’s three mines - Joint Shaft, Wesselton and Koffiefontein mines.
On Wednesday the workers who were on the surface at Joint Shaft Mine told the DFA that they were concerned about the health of their colleagues who had spent two days underground without food and water.
“We are struggling to transport food and water to our colleagues who are underground because the management of the mine has taken the keys that open the cages that transport us underground and back to the surface. We had to make plans to get bread and water to the workers underground while the company refused to assist,” the miners stated.
“Some of the workers who are underground are sick and our efforts to send them medication has failed because the mine management is preventing us from doing so.
“In fact we had to hide the worker’s medication inside the bread we sent to them earlier.”
Speaking to the DFA from inside the company premises, the workers vowed not to return to work until the mine management gave in to their demands.
“We have been working for this company for years yet we are poor! We earn as little as R1 600. What can we do with this little money? We cannot even look after our children or take them to school. That is why we are demanding R10 000 basic salary for general workers and R17 000 for machine operators. We also want our bonuses,” they stated.
They accused the company of being racist and promoting white people only.
“Black people are being oppressed at this mine to such an extent that they are afraid of complaining because if they do, they are fired. Whites are the only people being trained and promoted while blacks are sidelined. Why don’t you ask yourself why only blacks are gathered here. It is because the whites are in the air-conditioned offices polishing their nails while we are underground.”
They accused the mine of flouting the mines safety regulations, including failing to ensure that the shafts were properly ventilated.
They said that they were inspired by mine workers in Marikana who went on a violent protest that ended in police shooting and killing 34 miners in August. “Miners in Marikana gave us hope and strength to rise up and fight against the injustices in our place of work. We will forever be grateful to them,” they said.
The miners at Wesselton Mine said that they too had to scrape around for food and water for the workers who are underground.
“The workers have reiterated that they will not come to the surface until they have achieved what we are demanding for,” the miners stated.
Petra Diamonds denied allegation that it was preventing the workers who were underground from accessing medication, food and water.
“The workers who are staging a sit-in underground are there voluntarily and on the outside we have tried our best to ensure that those of them who need medical assistance are attended to. Just yesterday [on Tuesday] two workers who needed medical assistance were helped to get to the surface,” the company’s spokesman, Gert Klopper, said.
“As we speak a team of medical personnel is ready to assist the workers immediately when they decide to come to the surface.”
Klopper said, however, they would not comment on the demands of the workers because the company was still in negotiations with NUM which represents the workers at the mine.
“But it is unfortunate that workers have decided to circumvent legislated bargaining processes and embark on an illegal strike.
“Marikana has certainly changed the country’s labour relations landscape and opened the door for unprotected strikes in the country but this will not benefit the workers because they will lose their bargaining power,” Klopper added.
He also said that the illegal industrial action was only limited to Wesselton and Joint Shaft mines.
At the time of going to press NUM’s provincial secretary, Cornelius Manhe, said that the talks between them and Petra Diamonds were still continuing.
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