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SA Protest News 3 - 10 October 2010 (2010) SA Protest News 3 - 10 October 2010.  : -.

Earthlife...SASOL Day of Action 12 October 2010
EarthLife 9 October 2010

On Tuesday the 12th of October 2010 Earthlife Africa andpartners Jhb will hold protests at
SASOLBURG – A procession march will starting at 10am at the Zamdela taxi rank and proceed to SASOL main Gate. A memorandum will be handed over and thereafter there will be other activities.

SASOL H/Q , a demonstration starting a 12pm no 1 Sturdee Ave , Rosebank.
The protest is to highlight Sasol continuing harm to the environment and the people.

Sasol seems to have very little regard for the people employed and living inclose proximity to Sasol plants. Sasol has to be held accountable for theongoing pollution in these areas. The use of contract workers must beinvestigated, especially because when these workers are injured or exposed toharmful substances they have no access to assistances from Sasol.

Climate Change caused bypollution is a threat to our existence; corporations like SASOL throughirresponsible industrial practice put our lives at risk. It is afact that Sasol is one of the worst emitters of GHG on the African continent.Sasol produces about 75.4million tonnes[1] ofgreenhouse gases annually – about 21% of South Africa’s total greenhouse gasemissions per year. Sasol is presently planning to build a new 80,000barrels/day coal-to-liquids plant in South Africa. This would add an estimated23 to 37 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere on an annual basis.While the world talks about reducing GHG emissions, Sasol continues to increasetheir output.

Your organisation is invited to join us ina protest at Rosebank on the 12th October2010 , SASOL Head office from 11hr00am till 2hr30pm in highlighting thecontinuous harm SASOL is causing to the environment and people.

For more information please call Makoma at082 682 9177 or 011 339 3662. .
Makoma Lekalakala
Programme Officer
Earthlife Africa Jhb
tel 011 339 3662
fax 011 339 3270
fax to email 086 545 5866
cell 082 682 9177

Protestors set police car alight in Jo’burg
Camilla Bath & JP du Plessis (Eye Witness News)
5 October 2010

Angry protestors have set fire to a metro police vehicle at the Lion Park informal settlement near Cosmo City in north western Johannesburg.

Eyewitnesses said thousands of residents took to the streets on Tuesday morning over housing issues and turned on metro police when the officers tried to prevent them from demonstrating.

Locals claim they have been waiting for proper houses since 2004. They have also demanded that Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane address the issue and visit the area.

“It is very tense but people are scared because police have tear gases and shooting at them. People where blocked from going to work,” one man among the protestors said.

The metro police’s Edna Mamonyane said more officers had to be deployed to the scene and by midday there was a large police presence.

Officers fired shots randomly into the crowd to disperse them and people who were on the scene earlier ran back into their shacks at the sight of the police chopper and nyalas.

Officers went on foot patrol, going door-to-door trying to find anyone that may have been involved in the morning’s violence.

At least two people were seriously injured and it is not clear whether live ammunition or rubber bullets were used.

At least six people have been arrested thus far.

Was live ammunition fired at protesting JHB crowds?
JP du Plessis (Eye Witness News ) 6 October 2010

Police are investigating whether officers used live ammunition to disperse protesters in the Itsutseng informal settlement on Tuesday.

One person was shot and died, while at least two others were wounded.

Officers raced to the scene after protesters set fire to a metro police vehicle while demonstrating over housing.

The police’s Lungelo Dlamini said it was not yet clear whether the bullet that killed the protester was fired by an officer or a protester.

“Police will be investigating an incident in which one of the protestor died yesterday. He was shot and died in the hospital,” said Dlamini.

Just minutes after Eyewitness News arrived at the scene on Tuesday, a white BMW drove out of the community towards the police barricade. There were two men running in front of the car shouting for help saying there was a man inside the car who was dying.

As the vehicle drove past Eyewitness News saw three men in the back seat - one had been shot in the shoulder, while the other two were covered in blood. One of the men looked to be in a critical condition.

But Eyewitness News could not make out at the time if they were shot with live ammunition or rubber bullets and investigators are now looking into whether excessive force was used by metro police officers during the protest.

ICD investigates death of JHB protestor
JP du Plessis (Eye Witness News) 7 October 2010

The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) is probing the death of a protestor during a housing riot in Itsutseng on Tuesday.

Police and metro police officers used rubber bullets to disperse angry residents in the north-western Johannesburg settlement after they stoned officers and set fire to a patrol car. But two protestors were shot with live ammunition, and the police and the ICD are investigating to find out if the bullets were fired from an officer’s gun.

About 160 people were arrested for public violence and damage to property but they have all been released without charge.

At least three people were wounded by live ammunition during the violence; one of them died when he arrived at hospital.

The police are trying to find out who shot the man and the ICD said it will also investigate the shooting.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on the Human Rights Commission to launch its own probe into whether officers at the scene used excessive force when dealing with the angry crowd.

The Johannesburg Metro Police Department has refused to comment, saying it is a police matter.

Cape Town riot tactics under fire
GLYNNIS UNDERHILL Mail & Guardian 8 October 2010

Cape Town's mayoral committee has defended the controversial riot-control methods of South African Police Service and city law enforcement officers in Hout Bay's Hangberg fishing settlement, claiming that they had to defend themselves when they fell into a four-hour ambush.

The city's Democratic Alliance mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, also suggested that attempts to blame the city for injuries sustained by residents were part of a "dirty tricks" campaign against the DA-led city government.

Four people claim to have lost an eye during running battles between residents and police over two days last month, sparked by shack demolitions. Many other residents and police personnel were injured.

The police response -- officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas at residents armed with petrol bombs, flares and smoke grenades -- is now under investigation by the Independent Complaints Directorate and the South African Police Service.

Smith said that he was saddened by the violence, but that "looking at the footage, I don't think it could have turned out any other way".

"I understand that people get emotional if a structure they erected, albeit illegally, is dismantled in front of them. But that is not what happened here. SAPS, metro police and law enforcement were ambushed. That siege lasted for four hours."

Smith said the city's police team had worked under SAPS orders during the operation. Though some people were trying to blame metro police and law enforcement officers for the injuries to residents, this was merely part of a "dirty tricks" ­campaign against the DA-run administration.

"There were several Nyalas [armoured personnel carriers] on site. The city's staff only had one," said Smith. "Most people said that they were hit by rubber bullets fired by officers in Nyalas. But the officers were highly justified in defending themselves. To ambush them like that was attempted murder."

Smith said residents had stockpiled weapons including bricks, petrol bombs and flare guns after Western Cape Premier and DA leader Helen Zille warned them at a public meeting to remove the illegal shacks or the city's land invasion unit would tear them down.

The Hangberg community lives in government houses and flats at the base of Hout Bay's Sentinel Mountain and residents claim that the shacks were erected by homeless community members.

Rasta druglords
Twenty-nine shacks were pulled down during the operation, and a further 54 the city claims were built illegally on a firebreak are still to be demolished. A council application to pull down the occupied shacks will be heard in court on October 18.

Zille told the Mail & Guardian that a small group of "Rasta druglords" were dead set against the city's planned upgrade of the area, including access roads and services, because it threatens their illegal activities.

The city had tried on four occasions to prevent the erection of the shacks to allow for the upgrade, but had to retreat, said Smith.

But Hangberg residents said they are less concerned now about development than about renewed violence.

"The children are terrified because the police are going to come back when the city of Cape Town tears down more shacks. The police stormed into people's houses without search warrants and beat up our families. They tore down shacks belonging to homeless members of our community," said a furious 48-year-old Joan Jacobs, who has lived in the settlement all her life. "They stripped us of our dignity."

Sixty-two people were arrested during the clashes, but Smith said he doubted whether any prosecutions would stick.

Last weekend hundreds of people marched to the Hout Bay police station to protest against the destruction of the shacks, but Smith claimed the march was hijacked by Cosatu.

In a memorandum addressed to the police, Cape Town mayor Dan Plato and Zille, residents demanded a commission of inquiry into last month's violence. Residents also called for a moratorium on evictions by the city until a solution can be found.

Tony Ehrenreich, Cosatu's provincial secretary, said the federation had a long history of involvement with the Hangberg community.

"You just can't have that level of police brutality and these claims of ‘political hijacking' of the situation by Cosatu are an attempt to dodge the issue," he said.

Police sources told the M&G that the coordination of the city's law enforcement and metro police units with the SAPS was problematic ­during the operation.

It was normal practice for rubber bullets to be fired at the ground or feet during public-order operations, said seasoned police officials. However, each situation had to be judged on its merits.

"SAPS was involved in monitoring the situation and moved in only when the violence erupted," said SAPS spokesperson Billy Jones. "A full investigation will be conducted."

Former policeman Johan Burger, a senior researcher at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, believes public-order policing should be left to SAPS, which is trained to deal with public violence.

But the priorities of the SAPS's public-order units began changing as far back as 2002, when maintaining public order became secondary to combating crime.

"Police said this was because public-disorder incidents were decreasing, but they come unstuck when these cases arise, as we saw during the xenophobic violence in 2008," said Burger.

He said that, in 2006, police halved the staff attached to the public-order units and changed their name to "crime-combating units". Many trained and skilled staff were transferred to other police stations. The thinking was that they could be called on when needed. But many subsequently moved into other areas and some were promoted.

"The problems are glaringly visible when public order is needed, because they're not up to the task and the army has to be called in," he said.

Burger said he did not believe municipal law enforcement or metro police should be used in public-order operations, as they lacked the extensive training required for the job.

1 dead, 50 arrested in Itsutseng service delivery protests
JP du Plessis 6 October 2010

Police will keep a close watch on the Itsutseng informal settlement on Wednesday after running battles between officers and residents on Tuesday.

Community members in the north-western Johannesburg township took to the streets because of lack of housing. But, when they burnt a Johannesburg metro police vehicle, officers reacted with force, killing one person, wounding at least two more and arresting over 50.

When the violence first erupted officers were outnumbered but when re-enforcements arrived, they took a tough stance. They moved in on foot using rubber bullets to fight their way into the community.

Officers at the scene blamed the uprising on foreign nationals.

Lee Malley, who lives in the community, said residents just want houses.

“You can’t stay in a one room shack with your 20-year-old son, your husband and you little sister. You can even extend your shack,” said Malley.

But officers are blaming the violence on the high number of foreigners in the community.

Meanwhile, it was very quiet at the informal settlement on Wednesday morning. Officers that were stationed there overnight said they experienced no trouble

‘ANC is hijacking issue for own gain’
Cape Times 8 October 2010

Residents from the Hangberg community conducted a protest march to hand a memorandum to the SAPS, City Council, and office of the Premier, at the Houtbay police station, demanding that Premier Helen Zille provide housing to those evicted last week.

The City of Cape Town has accused the ANC and Cosatu of speaking with “forked tongues” in the aftermath of a violent protest in Hangberg two weeks ago.

This was after the city said it had uncovered a “drastically” different memorandum, drawn up by the community of Hangberg, which was supposed to have been presented at a community march to the Hout Bay police on Sunday.

Instead, the one presented to the police directly attacked Premier Helen Zille and the DA-controlled city council for “dehumanising homeless families”.

At a press conference yesterday, where the city handed out copies of the two memorandums, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said this was proof that the march had been “hijacked”.

“I’ve written to the premier saying we should not reply to the ANC’s memo,” said Smith.

But Cosatu’s provincial secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, defended his organisation and the ANC’s involvement in the march, and the final memorandum that was drawn up.

How the final memorandum was worded was not important, the point he said was uncovering who had been behind the violence in which several people were injured and four lost their eyes.

But Kevin Davids, a member of Hangberg Civic Organisation, confirmed that many in the community had been angered by the final draft of the memorandum.

“We had a meeting with the ANC today (yesterday) and were told that the memorandum which was read out did not represent the views of the community,” he said.

Davids said that when the community got to the police station, the “ANC people” grabbed centre-stage and read out their own statement.

“For the community, it felt as if the ANC had hijacked the march, which was not a platform for politics,” said Davids.

Sunday’s memorandum, also addressed to the SAPS, was more scathing in its attack on the metro police, saying they had come “with the intention to terrorise, dehumanise and maim”. But the language in the original memorandum was more indirect, blaming the police and city administration for using brutality “to repress legitimate expectations of our people”.

l The original memorandum, Smith argues, illustrates the political activism of certain members of the Hout Bay community who appeared to be steering violence.

l In the second memorandum, mention is made of women and children beaten inside their homes, which was not mentioned in the original.

l Whereas the memorandum delivered to the police called for President Jacob Zuma to begin a commission of inquiry into the violence, the original made no mention of this.

Smith said the ANC’s involvement in the Hangberg eviction protest was not consistent with its silence on similar evictions around the country, by ANC-controlled local administrations.

He said it was in the interest of the ANC to keep the confrontation in Hangberg violent to gain media attention. - Cape Times

'Pink Protest' to be held at University of Cape Town
By Christopher Brocklebank 7 October 2010

LGBTI activists are to protest at the University of Cape Town today

Student activists at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, are planning to stage an anti-homophobia protest today after a symbolic 'pink closet' sculpture intended to highlight the effects of homophobia was burnt down.

The bright pink closet was erected in the university's Jameson Plaza for the launch of Pink Week, and was set ablaze on Monday, after having been on display for less than 12 hours. The closet had previously been displayed in 2007, when it was defaced with graffiti.

The Pink Week campaign is hosted by the university and Rainbow UCT, which is run by an LGBTI student group to celebrate and raise awareness of sexual diversity.

Speaking to Cape Times, Dylan Jack van Vuuren, chairman of Rainbow UCT, said the closet had been left in its burnt-out state to highlight prejudice on campus.

Mr van Vuuren said: "We request that university management, including Campus Protection Services, acknowledges that this is a hate crime and an indication of a larger problem found within the UCT community and broader South African society, which needs to be addressed."

The Rainbow UCT plan to gather at the Rondebosch campus this afternoon with a banner declaring "Gay Rights are Human Rights". They will then proceed to deliver a memorandum to university management.

Campus authorities have opened a case of destruction of property, but there have been no arrests reported so far.

In a statement, Mr van Vuuren said: "The remains of the Closet have remained in position for the duration of Pink Week, and have been integrated into somewhat (sic) of an art installation designed to memorialise those who have suffered injustices and lost their lives at the hands of homophobia."

He added that friends of the society had sent flowers and a new metal closet had been erected as a symbol of the community's strength.

Rainbow UCT said the message they wished to send with their planned protest was that hatred, regardless of whether it occurred within the campus boundaries or on a national level, was not to be condoned.

Historic agreement reached in water sector

A historic wage agreement has been reached in the water sector today, brining to an end a long standing dispute, which threatened to cut the countries water supply.

SAMWU as the majority Union in the sector today signed the first National Agreement in the sector providing for a 9% increase across the board. This increase equals inflation plus 5% increase for all water board workers. Only through unity and concerted action from SAMWU this agreement was made possible, marking the first success for centralized bargaining in the sector.

SAMWU hopes to build on its experience it gained in the sector this year, to further improve the plight of these workers, and address the service delivery short falls and the water crisis.

For more information contact Dale Forbes (SAMWU’s Collective Bargaining Officer) on 084 299 6567.

Issued by:
Tahir Sema.
South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU.
National Media and Publicity Officer.
Office: 011-331 0333.
Cell: 0829403403.

KZN reserve situation ‘serious’
IOL News 4 October 2010

The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal has commended government for deploying the army to restore order at Ndumo Game Reserve in Northern Zululand.

“The added security measures, brought about by provincial government, showed KwaZulu-Natal’s conservation department had realised the seriousness of the situation,” said the party’s conservation spokesperson Tom Stokes

The game reserve’s 12 km fence was cut down more than two years ago by local residents who wanted to plough in the fertile land inside the game reserve.

The restoration of the fence was expected to begin soon, it was reported on Monday.

“If the festering anarchy at Ndumo is to be brought to an end, then the rule of law must be upheld - without this, a valuable world heritage site will be completely destroyed,” said Stokes. - Sapa

World Day for Decent Work
Cosatu 7 October 2010

Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of the Congress of South African trade Unions, will be attending and addressing the demonstration at Carletonville to mark the World Day for Decent Work. The details are:

DATE: Thursday 7 October 2010
TIME: 16h00
VENUE: Carletonville Civic Centre

For further information please phone Eddie Majadibodu on 082 809 3227

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
P.O.Box 1019
Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940
Mobile: +27 82 821 7456

NUM rejects offer
The Mercury 6 October 2010

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has rejected a revised wage offer of 9.0 percent from Northam Platinum.

NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said on Wednesday that its 8 000

members at Northam's operations wanted a 12 percent wage increase.

“This is non-negotiable and the five-week long strike will continue,” he said.

Workers have also demanded a living out allowance of R3 500.

Northam spokesperson Marion Brower could not be reached immediately for comment. -

Protesters torch bus
CAPE ARGUS 5 October 2010

A Golden Arrow bus was torched in Nyanga on the Cape Flats, the second such incident in a week, the bus company said. Photo: Mandla Mnyakama

A Golden Arrow bus was torched in Nyanga on the Cape Flats, the second such incident in a week, the bus company said on Tuesday.

“Protesters began stoning the bus quite heavily and the driver jumped out,” said Golden Arrow's Cape Town spokeswoman Bronwen Dyke.

“The protesters placed a burning tyre underneath the bus. It caught alight and was completely gutted.”

She said this happened as part of a service delivery protest on Monday evening.

“This is the second such incident in the past week,” said Dyke, adding that it cost more than R1-million to replace one bus.

She warned that if protests continued, the bus company would not be able to continue running its service in the area.

For now, it was still running services in Nyanga.

“But if it gets too dangerous, we can't do it and people will get stranded.” - Sapa

100 nabbed in JHB protest
IOL News 6 October 2010

A friend of Lawrence Dube shows off the wound inflicted by police who used force to quell a service delivery protest in the Eskom informal settlement near Cosmo City, Gauteng. About 100 people were arrested during the violent protest. A metro police spokesperson said that her colleagues were monitoring the protest when one of their vehicles was set alight. The metro police called for back up and more police officers arrived. Rubber bullets were used to disperse the crowd and the arrests were made. Photo: Steve Lawrence, The Star

Man dies after Lion Park protest
SAPA 6 October 2010

Residents have vowed to continue with further protest action.
One man died after being shot in a protest at the Lion Park informal settlement off Johannesburg's Malibongwe Drive, police said.

"Apparently he was shot when the protesters were throwing stones at the police," said Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini. The man died in hospital afterwards. Police were investigating whether the shot came from the crowd or from the officers on the scene, and whether it was live ammunition or one of the rubber bullets that were fired to control
the protesters.

Meanwhile, 160 people were due to appear in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday to face charges of public violence and malicious damage to property, after a gathering to highlight service delivery problems at the settlement led to a metro police
vehicle being torched.

Dlamini said police were monitoring the situation on this morning.

Kumba and NUM agree to end strike
Mail & Guardian 6 October 2010

Kumba Iron Ore, a unit of global miner Anglo American, said on Wednesday South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers had agreed to its revised pay offer and would call off a strike at its mine.

"Final agreement was reached and union representatives will hold meetings at the mines to call off the strike," the iron ore producer said in a statement.

Kumba said the parties have agreed to salary increases of between 7,5% to 10%. The increases, agreed to on a multi-year deal, will be implemented with effect from July 1 2010.

Kumba said the strike had no significant impact on output. - Reuters

Hundreds protest Hout Bay demolitions
Sapa 3 October 2010

COSATU marchers want an enquiry into shootings at Hangklip

CAPE TOWN (Sapa) - Several hundred people marched on the Hout Bay police station on Sunday to protest the destruction of illegal shacks at Hangberg above the harbour.

In a memorandum addressed to the provincial commissioner of police, Cape Town mayor Dan Plato and Western Cape premier Helen Zille, they demanded a commission of enquiry into last month's violent clashes between residents and police.

They also demanded that Zille be held personally responsible for "all injuries, maiming, destruction of property and emotional trauma caused by her actions".

The memorandum called for a moratorium on evictions until a "comprehensive solution" had been found.

The march was co-ordinated by Cosatu. Banners of organisations including the ANC youth and womens' leagues, the SA Communist Party and the Pan Africanist Congress were on display at a rally held before it got under way.

A candle-lighting ceremony to be led by ANC veteran Dennis Goldberg at the rally was abandoned because of wind.

Cosatu Western Cape provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich told people at the rally they could see, looking down on Hout Bay valley, that there was enough land for rich people's horses, and that the horses had better accommodation than they did.

He said the memo would also be sent to the office of President Jacob Zuma.

On September 21 residents pelted police with rocks and petrol bombs when city council workers moved in to break down empty shacks on a firebreak behind the settlement.

Last week Sanparks and the city applied in the high court for an eviction order in respect of other, occupied, illegal structures there.

The application will be heard on October 18.

Lens residents to protest against municipal pool’s closure
Gatvol 3 October 2010

Lenasia residents will don their swimming costumes on Sunday to protest over the municipality’s decision to shut down the Greyville swimming pool.

Organisers said they were expecting up to 150 people to take part in the demonstration.

The municipal pool was closed four years ago and has since been neglected.

Greyville residents have said they were battling with a drug problem in the area and having a swimming pool will serve to uplift the community.

Swimming coach Julie Adam said, “It’s imperative that this pool gets opened for children to learn to swim, to be entertained, to have fun in the water and to save lives. We have a drug problem all over and one of the reasons is because the kids don’t have somewhere to go. They don’t have the pool to go to.”

UPM to March on Jacob Zuma in Durban on 14 October 2010
Unemployed People's Movement Press Statement 1 October 2010

The Unemployed People's Movement will March on Jacob Zuma in Durban on 14 October 2010

On the 8th of September 2010 the UPM in Durban sent a letter of demands to
Jacob Zuma. His office acknowledge reciept of that letter (which is pasted
in below this email) but he has never given us the courtesy of a response to
our demands. Therefore we have no choice but to take our desperation and
anger to the streets. We will be marching in Durban on 14 October 2010 in
support of the demands in this letter.

In addition to these demands we also demanding an end to the attacks on
democracy from the ANC.

We reject the media tribunal and the information bill. These are quite
clearly nothing other than attempts by the predator state to protect itself
from public scrutiny. We are very aware of the class biases in the media.
Our own movement has been written about as if it were criminal and as if our
most basic and legitimate demand ‑ for enough food to eat ‑is a threat to
society when clearly anyone in their right mind can see that it is poverty
and hunger that are a threat to society. But censorship is never the answer.
The answer to the elite bias in our media is to further democratise the
media by breaking up the monopolies and supporting independent community

We also reject the ongoing repression of the movements and organisations of
the working class around the country. We stand with our comrades in
Hangberg, in Harrismith and in the Landless People's Movement and Abahlali
baseMjondolo as they confront the direct or indirect violence of the
predator state. We ourselves have suffered repression. Nozipho Mnetshana was
kept under house arrest after the UPM occupied the supermarkets in Durban on
22 July 2009 to eat bread without paying in protest at food prices. Ayanda
Kota was assaulted in a police van outside parliament in Cape Town at the
opening of parliament this year. Right now Ayanda Kota is receiving threats
from the ANC in Grahamstown. After the recent experiences of the Landless
People's Movement in Johannesburg and Abahlali baseMjondolo in Durban we
take these threats very seriously.

We call on progressive organisations to unite in a militant and
uncompromising rejection of the attacks on the media and on the independent
organisations of the working class. A line has been drawn and it is the
responsibility of all progressive individuals and movements to take a clear
stand against the attack that the ANC is waging on our democracy. We intend
to work with all the independent and progressive formations of the working
class to defend and deepen democracy from below.

Umanyano Ngamandla.

Nozipho Mnetshana, UPM chairperson in Durban: 079 3405 074
Dudu Kweyana, UPM Deputy Chairperson in Durban: 082 8278 199
Ayanda Kota, UPM Chaiperson in Grahamstown: 078 6256462

Workers start strike at Kumba
Mail & Guardian 24 October 2010

Thousands of workers at South Africa's Kumba Iron Ore mine on Monday embarked on a strike for better wages after pay rise talks collapsed, a National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) official said.

Kumba, a unit of global miner Anglo American, said last week the strike will not significantly affect its production due to sufficient iron ore stockpiles.

The NUM is demanding pay rises of between 7,5% and 10% on a one-year deal, depending on workers' category, for its members at Kumba.

Kumba, the 10th-largest global iron ore producer, had offered wage increases of between 7% and 9,5% on a two-year deal.

"The strike has begun. But we are meeting Kumba [management] this morning, they have asked for an urgent meeting," NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said, adding that there was no indication on whether Kumba would raise its offer.

The union said last week the strike of over 6 000 workers would affect Kumba's Sishen, Kolomela and Thabazimbi operations.

Kumba, however, said NUM represents 2 670 members at the three units.

South Africa, the continent's biggest economy, has been hit by a wave of strikes and strike threats, which have led to pay settlements well above inflation -- at 3,5% in August -- and raised fears that the cost of living will rise.

Meanwhile, a strike by NUM members at Northam Platinum entered its fifth week on Monday.

Northam, one of South Africa's smaller platinum producers, had offered an 8,5% pay rise increase, below NUM's demand of a 12% increment.

The NUM is also demanding R3 500 in housing allowance.

"The strike at Northam continues ... we are also meeting the management this morning," Seshoka said.

A smaller union, Solidarity, last week signed a wage deal with Northam while NUM had rejected the offer.

The strike at the Zondereinde mine in South Africa was costing Northam 1 000 ounces per day in lost production of platinum group metals - Reuters

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