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South African Protest News 31 August - 15 September 2012 (2012) South African Protest News 31 August - 15 September 2012.  : -.

Pretoria trains stoned during protest
IOL News 15 September 2012

Trains were stoned in Mabopane, Pretoria, during a service delivery protest on Friday, Metrorail said.

Tyres were also burnt on rail tracks, said Metrorail operations manager Abram Nkgabutlane in a statement.

“If the vandalising of rail assets and threatening lives continue, we will have no option but to discontinue the service in Mabopane,” he said.

Metrorail said the peak train service was disrupted due to the protests by residents from Kopanong, near Soshanguve.

Trains were an hour behind schedule.

Nkgabutlane said no injuries were reported, and police were monitoring the area. -Sapa

Five arrested in Marikana night raids
IOL News 15 September 2012

Five people were arrested in raids at the Karee hostel in Marikana in the early hours of Saturday morning, said police.

Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said the arrests came amid a disarmament operation at the hostel where hundreds Lonmin mineworkers .

Police confiscated a large number of knobkerries, pangas and other dangerous weapons.

Ngubane could not give an exact quantity of arms confiscated, but said “truck loads” of contraband weapons were seized.

“The five who were arrested, though, were arrested for dealing in dagga.”

Ngubane said another seven people were arrested on Friday afternoon under the illegal gathering act.

Those arrested were expected to appear in court on Monday.

Workers at Lonmin downed tools four weeks ago, demanding a salary increase of R12 500. They refused to return to work unless their demands were met, despite a peace accord that was signed by the unions.

Last month, the protest turned violent and police shot dead 34 protesters and injured 78.

Another 10 people were killed in the week leading up to the protest.

This week another man, NUM shop steward Dumisani Mthinti, was found dead not far from where the protesters normally converge in Wonderkop.-Sapa

Rubber bullets fired on mineworkers
IOL News 14 September 2012

Police fired rubber bullets and pepper spray to disperse striking mineworkers in Nkaneng informal settlement, Wonderkop, near Lonmin's Marikana mine on Saturday.

On Saturday morning workers gathered at the open veld next to the koppie, where 34 people were killed in a violent confrontation on August 16.

They sang, waving weapons, before the police arrived.

At least seven police nyalas drove into Nkaneng, causing workers to scatter in different directions. The crowd ran into the informal settlement as the nyalas followed them on narrow foot paths.

A cloud of pepper spray filled the area causing protesters and journalists to shed tears and cough. A Sapa reporter on the scene heard rubber bullets being fired towards the protesters.

Earlier, police raided a nearby hostel. Five people were arrested and weapons confiscated.

Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said the arrests came amid a disarmament operation at the hostel where hundreds Lonmin mineworkers .

Police confiscated a large number of knobkerries, pangas and other dangerous weapons.

Ngubane could not give an exact quantity of arms confiscated, but said “truck loads” of contraband weapons were seized. -Sapa

Marikana residents injured by police
IOL News 15 September 2012

Police officers assigned to disperse protesting Lonmin mineworkers were accused of shooting residents of Nkaneng informal settlement in Marikana on Saturday morning.

Several community members emerged with bleeding wounds, which they claimed were caused by police rubber bullets.

Two women sat in a narrow path in the informal settlement, surrounded by sympathetic residents.

One of the wounded, Melita Ramasedi, said they were shot at while watching the police breaking up the crowd of protesters.

“I am deeply hurt by this situation. A police nyala drove past us, we were a group of women and others ran away.

“I just stood there, watching and they shot me in my leg,” she said showing her bleeding leg.

Another victim Ntombe Ncence was visibly upset as she told journalists that she was at the entrance of a spaza shop when she was shot with a rubber bullet.

“I do not understand why the police officers shot me. I was knocking at the door of a shop and police officers inside a nyala shot my leg.”

The bleeding woman said she did not know where her two children had fled to when the skirmishes between mineworkers and police began in the morning.

Earlier, a 24-year-old man said police officers shot him with a rubber bullet while he was repairing his shack in the informal settlement.

Xolisa Ntshantha said he does not work for a mine and had never been part of the protests.

“I was working on my shack and suddenly I was shot from behind. I did not realise where the police officers came from,” said Ntshantha.

“They manhandled me and threw me into the nyala. I was assaulted by police officers inside the truck,” he claimed.

Ntshantha raised his shirt and torn jacket to reveal a large red blister on his back.

Earlier, the protesters gathered at an open veld next to the koppie, where 34 people were killed in a violent confrontation on August 16. They sang, waving weapons, before the police arrived.

At least seven police nyalas drove into Nkaneng, causing workers to scamper in different directions.

The crowd ran into the informal settlement as the nyalas followed them on narrow foot paths. A cloud of pepper spray filled the area causing protesters and journalists to shed tears and cough.

Earlier, police raided a nearby hostel. Five people were arrested and weapons were confiscated.

Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said the people were arrested during a disarmament operation at a hostel where hundreds Lonmin mineworkers.

Police confiscated a large number of knobkerries, pangas and other dangerous weapons.

Ngubane could not give an exact quantity of arms confiscated, but said “truck loads” of contraband weapons were seized.

On Thursday, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe told journalists in Pretoria that government would “deal very swiftly” with illegal protests.

The situation at the mines did not warrant a declaration of state of emergency, he said. -Sapa

Gold Fields strike continues
Maryke Vermaak and Jenni Evans 14 September 2012

Striking miners march en route to listen to Julius Malema at the Gold Fields mine in Grootfontein. During a speech punctuated by cheers and the blowing of whistles and vuvuzelas, Malema called for a national strike in all of South Africa's mines.

Johannesburg - Talks to resolve a week-long strike at Gold Fields KDC west were taking place at the company's Libanon mine in Westonaria on Friday, a spokesman said.

“We have been meeting on a daily basis with (the National Union of Mineworkers),” said Sven Lunsche.

“Obviously, we have been trying to assist the NUM to talk to its members,” said Lunsche.

The NUM representatives at the talks at the mine's headquarters at its Libanon shaft, western Gauteng, were from regional and branch offices.

It would be a breach of collective bargaining agreements to not talk through them first, he said.

“It doesn't mean we don't want to engage with others,” he said of the thousands of workers who have gathered at KDC west since Monday.

There were no reports of strikes at other shafts.

There is no production at the mines over the weekend and workers typically go home then return again for the Sunday night shift.

Earlier, Gold Fields tossed a pile of pamphlets out of a moving bakkie at its KDC west mine, telling striking workers how much money they had lost for being on strike so far this week.

The thousands of workers who had been singing and dancing at shaft eight and discussing how they had been convincing miners to stay away from work rushed towards the pamphlets as they fluttered to the ground.

Bearing a picture of the company's senior vice president, Koos Barnard in suit and tie, the text broke down how much had been lost for each pay grade.

Workers read the pamphlet, formed a group on a field, discussed the pamphlet and then tore it up.

Titled “Gold Fields' loss of earnings update” it said that on the fifth day of the “no work no pay” strike, workers who had not reported for duty would not be paid.

For underground workers (by pay grade) this was: A3: R887.05; B1: R912.10; B2: R1057,85; B3: R1249.85: B4:1467.85.

The pamphlet said: “Nobody benefits through this unlawful action”.

The loss to surface workers was: A3: R783.65; B1: R806.30; B2: R945.20; B3: R1125.70; B4: R1334.85.

The A3 covers the grade of a general labourer.

The amount excluded living out and other allowances in respect of earnings lost for the period that they participated in the strike, the loss of bonus payments due to days not worked and food and accommodation per day.

“You are in breach of an interdict of the Labour Court”, it said, with many of the words in bold and underlined.

“I recommend all striking employees to return to work with immediate effect”.

Some workers proposed that they walk the 3km to Barnard's office at another section of the mine. Barnard had received their memorandum on Monday.

Initially there appeared to be an agreement to the suggestion, but this plan was eventually abandoned.

The workers decided instead to seek a protection order, so that their representatives would not get arrested when they engage with management.

Earlier, people interviewed said mine security had visited their hostels on Thursday evening and told them to go back to work, but were promptly chased away.

The striking workers had spent the evening and morning trying to convince people not to go to work on Friday.

“We spoke to them at home. We told them they must not clock 1/8in 3/8. We spoke nicely to them. We don't want to fight. We don't want to see people die,” said Lunga Nocwanya, 27, who said he had worked at Gold Fields for four years.

However, he said that if staff members were still working by next week then “we will kill them.”

Nocwanya said he earns R4600 before tax.

“We need this money. I have two kids. I can't support these kids with R4000.”

Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) would have an urgent national executive meeting to deal with the issues strikers and protesters have raised at Gold Fields, and at Lonmin and Amplats in Rustenburg.

About 85 percent of the gold mine's 15 000 workers downed tools on Sunday, over a range of issues which include a salary increase to R12 500, equal pay for equal jobs across all mines, and the removal of the NUM's branch leadership.

The company has responded to demands and is in turn waiting for the workers' reply.

Forty five people have died in events associated with the strike at Lonmin. - Sapa

Vow to halt all mining in Rustenburg
IOL News 14 September 2012

Rustenburg - A group of around 200 Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) protesters started heading for a Murray & Roberts operation in Rustenburg on Friday, as part of its plan to close all mines in the region.

They set off from Amplats' Blesbok stadium, with police Nyalas driving in front of them for the 4km journey.

Mametlwe Sebei, leader of a group which has called itself the Democratic Socialist Movement, told the protesters that all mines in Rustenburg must come to a halt next week.

Sebei said protests were continuing to close all mines in the area and named Samancor, Xstrata, Murray & Roberts, Implats and Amandelbult.

Earlier, mineworkers insisted that their monthly salary demand of R16,070 was realistic.

Anthon Dembele, 38, said the underground work conditions posed a health risk.

“We breathe artificial oxygen in there underground; the noise of machines is also damaging our ears,” he said.

“Now, when you talk to me, you must raise your voice a bit,” Dembele said.

Another worker, who said he was a “former” National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) shop steward, spoke on condition of anonymity and echoed his colleague's sentiments.

He said if this pay demand was met they could maintain themselves and even see specialist doctors.

He said NUM was “conniving” with the management and wanted nothing to do with them any more.

“Our regional leader normally twists our statements, that's why the situation is like this today,” he said.

He said that after agreements were made at branch caucus meetings, he discovered these decisions were not later conveyed accurately to management.

He said NUM had known about their demands for a long time, but because of the shares it has in the mine, it was trying to balance its interests.

“They have shares. So now they are trying to balance their interests by compromising us,” he said.

An “executive committee” of six members operating outside union forums held meetings throughout the morning, ahead of addressing the miners gathered at the stadium.

On Friday, the group was much smaller and whiled away time until the meeting ended, by singing and dancing at the stadium.

The mine suspended operations on Wednesday, saying this was to protect employees from intimidation.

It said there is no strike, a statement some mineworkers interviewed at the stadium have disagreed with. - Sapa

Wits wages talks continue
IOL News 14 September 2012

Wage talks between Witwatersrand University (Wits) and labour unions were still continuing, the university said on Friday.

“The management of Wits University is committed to continuing negotiations in good faith with two unions - Asawu and Nehawu, and to resolving the salary dispute as soon as possible,” said spokeswoman Shirona Patel in a statement.

She said a proposal was put forward to the Academic Staff Association of Wits University (Asawu) and the National Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) on August 1.

This was followed by a counter-proposal from both unions. Management replied and invited both unions on Wednesday to resume negotiations on Friday.

Asawu informed management on Thursday evening that the notice of the meeting was too short and declined to attend.

Both Asawu and Nehawu indicated they would reply to Wits management with a suitable time and date for a meeting next week.

Wits deputy vice-chancellor Professor Rob Moore said management hoped to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible, with Wits' academic programme not disrupted by the dispute.

A third union, the Wits Administration, Library and Technical Staff Association (Altsa), signed an agreement on August 27. - Sapa

Union stages sit-in in Bisho
IOL News 13 September 2012

Johannesburg - Hospersa members staged a sit-in at the Eastern Cape health minister’s offices in Bisho on Wednesday.

Emergency services shop stewards and representatives of other unions refused to leave the offices of Health MEC Sicelo Gqobana after a third meeting with management to discuss grievances was cancelled, said the Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa).

The union claimed nobody from management was present to address their grievances, which included non-payment of overtime, danger allowances, and performance-management benefits.

Hospersa spokesperson Michelle Connolly said the chief of staff in MEC's office first held a meeting with Gqobana and then spoke to union members, convincing them to leave.

“The chief of staff met the shopstewards and agreed to set up a meeting in which they would address their demands,” she said.

Efforts to get comment from the department were unsuccessful. - Sapa

'We'll bring mining companies to their knees'
Sapa 13 September 2012

A leader of a major protest by platinum miners has called for a national strike in the sector "to bring the mining companies to their knees".

Miners gathered at Blesbok Stadium, where they demanded a gross salary of R16 070. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

"On Sunday, we are starting with a general strike here in Rustenburg," protest leader Mametlwe Sebei told a crowd of several thousand striking workers at a soccer stadium near Rustenburg in the heart of the platinum belt.

Striking Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mineworkers demanded pay of R16 070 a month at Blesbok stadium on Thursday.

Gaddafi Ndoda, who described himself as a member of a newly formed workers' committee said: "To us, R12 500 is just a basic salary," he said, referring to the amount raised as a demand among many mineworkers over the past weeks.

"Anglo is the most-paying [sic] mine in the country, so our demand is different from other mineworkers," said Ndoda.

He said they wanted "nothing to do" with AngloPlats' Mageu beverage, and wanted their refreshment allowance to be R30 a day.

On Wednesday workers there complained about the quality of the Mageu, an energy drink made from fermented grains.

Ndoda said currently workers were not entitled to a safety and transport allowance.

"We want our transport allowance to be R60 daily and [our] safety allowance to be R1 500."

They also wanted the increase in their living-out allowance to be R2 000 – up from R1 700.

Song and dance
An "executive committee" of six members representing workers outside formal union forums had been formed and they were expected to take a memorandum to the mine's management in Klipfontein near the stadium, he said.

While heading towards the nearby offices, about half the workers who had been in the stadium accompanied the committee, singing and dancing, amid tight security.

As in the past week, the police had Nyalas stationed in the area and a helicopter overhead. Amplats security vehicles and security guards were also on alert, and a Netcare911 ambulance was on standby.

Workers carried knobkerries, sticks and whips. Some also carried umbrellas.

It appeared that a group of striking workers from Lonmin Platinum did not join them as hoped.

Amplats said it suspended operations on Wednesday out of concern for the safety of its employees and said there was no strike at the mine.

Chief executive officer Chris Griffith said the situation in the Rustenburg area was volatile and that people who wanted to go to work could not because of threats of violence.

"Anglo American Platinum has decided to suspend its operations in the Rustenburg area with immediate effect," he said.

"The suspension will continue until such time as operations can be safely resumed."

Peaceful resolution
Amplats' chairperson Cynthia Carroll said the company was in touch with authorities "at the highest level" to identify ways of working with government and the recognised labour unions to achieve a swift and peaceful resolution.

She said the company's Rustenburg platinum operations were already under financial pressure and the suspension of operations on Wednesday risked their long-term viability, the longer the situation lasted.

A strike at Lonmin entered its second month this week. Workers at Gold Fields' KDC West mine were also on strike on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has said it has been seeking an opportunity to engage with President Jacob Zuma and senior government officials to resolve the unrest in South Africa's mines.

President of Amcu, Joseph Mathunjwa, told reporters in Rustenburg that the union's formal requests were being considered.

"From day one of the [Marikana] massacres we are on record, asking for a meeting with the office of the president. They are still thinking of when they are going to meet us; they have acknowledged that our letter was received and said the president would respond soon," said Mathunjwa.

"We are still waiting. We have written to the Minister of Mineral Resources [Susan] Shabangu, Police Minister Nathi [Mthethwa] and the Labour Minister [Mildred Oliphant]. We have done all that and have copies of the letters ... [as] proof," he said.

Mining indaba
The union called on Zuma to intervene and stop the ongoing unrest in the South African mining sector. Mathunjwa said Zuma had to convene an urgent, all-inclusive mining indaba.

"We believe that he is the high office in the country. We could share the direction on how to curb these sporadic work stoppages. It is in the interest of the country for him to intervene," said Mathunjwa.

He said the mooted indaba would have to deal with issues including minimum wages, housing, skills development and a mining victims fund for the sector.

Mathunjwa said Amcu had repeatedly denounced all the violent activity recently seen around the mines.

"As we have said in the past, Amcu denounces any violent conduct by any member, official or office bearers of the union. We have never encouraged our members to embark on any illegal or unprotected work stoppages," he said.

Amcu national treasurer Jimmy Gama said the ability to rectify the situation in the mining sector lay with Zuma.

"This seems to be an emergency situation where nobody seems to be winning the battle. In a country, the only person with power to summon everyone is the president. Hence Amcu is taking [the] initiative to request the president to deal with the matter," he said.

"It is high time that somebody speaks out and makes it loud and clear [to Zuma] to say 'president, this is time that you act'," said Gama.

Earlier, freelance journalists were told to leave the venue where Amcu was holding its "state of the mining industry" media briefing.

Before the briefing started, all journalists in the room were asked to introduce themselves and the media organisations for which they worked.

Gama, sitting next to Mathunjwa, told a cameraman who introduced himself as "a freelancer" to leave the premises because invites had been sent to media houses.

"We are not comfortable with a person who comes as a freelancer, because we haven't invited you. We would like you, sir, to excuse us," said Gama.

Two other journalists joined the cameraman as he walked out of the room.

Mathunjwa later said an Amcu media briefing at Melrose Arch, in Johannesburg, had once been "infiltrated by other [rival] unions". – Sapa

Education March, Saturday 15TH September 2012
Cosatu 12 September 2012

COSATU and the ANC, Equal Education and school learner bodies will be having a march to the Provincial Legislature and Parliament on Saturday regarding the school closures and the desperate state of education in our schools.

For questions please call COSATU Western
Cape Provincial Secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, at 082 7733 194

IFP March Against SABC
IFP 11 September 2012

For the first time in the Party's history, the IFP will embark on a mass march against the public broadcaster on Friday, 14 September 2012.

For years, the IFP has continuously engaged the SABC over its anti-IFP coverage and the way in which opposition parties are not fairly represented on all of the public broadcaster's radio and television channels. This year, for example, two of the IFP's three major events - its Freedom Day and Women's Day rally - did not receive TV coverage at all. This is coupled with anti-IFP programmes that have been aired, such as The Bang Bang Club.

Now the IFP will take to the streets to demand fairness from the public broadcaster.

This is a matter which goes to the heart of how the citizens of this country can freely make up their own minds as to whom they wish to govern them. South Africans must demand of their public broadcaster that they be treated with respect and not force-fed and manipulated with political propaganda. This will be the IFP's message when it embarks on a mass march on Friday.

Details of the event are as follows:
Date: Friday, 14 September 2012
Time: 10h00
Venue: The Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg
to SABC, Auckland Park

The IFP President is expected to address marchers at Auckland Park where the IFP will also hand over its memorandum of demands.

Mr Bonginkosi Dhlamini, on 071 622 7523

IFP Gauteng MPL, or

Ms Sibongile Nkomo, event organiser, on 076 553 1240.

Carol Mohlala
SOS Coordinator
Cell: +27 74 690 1023
skype: sos.coalition

Protesters bomb pupil’s house
Michael Mokoena (IOL News) September 12 2012

Northern Cape - The lives of Olifantshoek matric pupils and their families have been put under severe threat after protesters petrol-bombed the home of one learner and threatened to do the same to other learners attending school camps.

The matriculant, whose home was petrol-bombed on Monday night, is part of a group of 32 matrics who have been sent by the Northern Cape Department of Education to a camp in Keimoes.

About 35 schools are closed in the Northern Cape following violent protests.

On Tuesday, one of the leaders of the protesters told the DFA that they would set more houses alight if the department failed to return the matriculants to the community immediately.

“The department must bring those children back or else their homes will also go up in flames,” the protest leader, who did not want to be named, stated.

He added that the situation in the town was tense on Tuesday after the learner’s house was torched on Monday night.

“As we speak now (on Tuesday) parents of matric learners who have been sent to Keimoes are queuing at the local police station demanding that the department bring back their children because they fear that their homes will also be petrol-bombed,” he stated.

The Northern Cape police downplayed the bombing of the home on Tuesday, saying that the petrol bomb that was thrown into the house through a window, did not explode.

“The house was not torched. The petrol bomb that was thrown into the house did not explode and therefore there was no damage to the house,” police spokesman, Colonel Hendrik Swart, said.

The department said that the protesters did not have a right to demand that the matric learners be brought back from the camp in Keimoes.

“We do not have an obligation to accede to the demands of the protesters. The only obligation we have as a department is with the parents of these learners and we will therefore continue to convince the parents of the other matric learners in Olifantshoek to allow their children to attend these camps,” the department’s spokesman, Sydney Stander, said on Tuesday.

He said that claims by protesters that the parents of the pupils gathered at the Olifantshoek police station to demand their return were untrue.

“The principal of Langeberg High School and some of parents of learners who were moved to Keimoes have received telephonic threats and they are currently at Olifantshoek police station to formally lay complains to police. They are not there demanding that the learners be returned. In fact no parents have approached us to return their children,” Stander stated.

Efforts to get hold of families of some of the learners were futile on Tuesday because both the protesters and the Department of Education refused to give the DFA contact details of the parents.

Police spokeswoman, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrea Cloete, said that the police were monitoring the situation in the town.

Cops arrest Delareyville protesters
IOL News 11 September 2012

Delareyville, North West - Police arrested 24 people on Tuesday, allegedly all Democratic Alliance members, for engaging in an illegal gathering in Delareyville, North West police said.

The group gathered at the Tswaing municipality's offices, where they complained about poor service delivery, Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said.

They also accused a councillor of hiring African National Congress members to fill vacancies.

Ngubane said the 12 men and 12 women were arrested after refusing to vacate the municipal premises. They would appear in the Delareyville Magistrate's Court on Wednesday on a charge of illegal gathering. - Sapa

N West nursing college re-opens
IOL News 11 September 2012

North West - The Mmabatho College of Nursing is expected to resume academic activities after the institution was closed due to a two-week-long illegal strike by students there, the provincial health department said on Tuesday.

Spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said in a meeting between the provincial health head Dr Mokhethi Radebe and the student representative council, it was agreed the college would re-open on Wednesday.

“The department has plans to construct a new nursing college to the tune of R300 million, which will automatically resolve a number of demands raised by students,” said Lekgethwane in a statement.

It was decided in the meeting on Monday that a task team would investigate students' complaints about maintenance, accommodation and kitchen hours.

On Friday, students were given a day to vacate the college. This was after students refused to end an illegal strike over various issues, including an increase in their monthly stipend. They wanted the stipend to be increased to R5 900 from R1 500.

In 2010 the college was closed for nearly three weeks because students refused to attend lectures. - Sapa

We are sick of Amplats mageu - protesters
IOL News 12 September 2012

Striking mineworkers hit back at claims by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) on Wednesday that protesters near its Thembelani mine in Rustenburg were not its employees.

Agitated protesters said they were indeed employed by the giant platinum producer, at different mine shafts in Rustenburg.

“If it were not for this industrial action, most of us would be deep inside shafts, sweating for Anglo Platinum. Do not be tricked by them,” said protester Themba Ngaba.

He and dozens of other protesters showed their Amplats identification cards.

“I am a rock driller for them. Among other things, workers are angered by the sub-standard mageu (fermented mealie-meal energy drink) provided by the company,” he said.

Ngaba said he had worked for Amplats for seven years.

The protesters are demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.

Another employee, Johannes Molefe, said the mineworkers were struggling to fend for their families.

“I am paid R5 900 per month. Imagine how a family man can survive on such a low salary,” he said.

He said he had worked for Anglo American Platinum for the past five years.

“We are always hungry at work. They give us nothing but sub-standard mageu,” said Molefe.

Another protester, Xolisa Ntwana, said the workers were disappointed that Amplats' had suggested they were not its employees.

On Wednesday, Amplats insisted that the protesters gathered near its Thembelani mine in Rustenburg did not work for the mine.

“The facts are, our employees are not on strike. The people who are chanting around the mines are from neighbouring communities and we cannot identify who they are,” said Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole.

A large group of protesters, carrying traditional weapons, gathered at a Thembelani mine shaft on Wednesday morning, with police keeping watch.

Five police nyalas and a water cannon were at the scene. A police helicopter hovered overhead.

Most of the protesters sat in a field under a scorching sun. Small groups, clutching sticks and clubs, marched, sang and danced.

Some men arrived at the scene wearing ANC Youth League regalia. They joined the protesters, but declined to speak to the media about their role in the strike.

Sithole said no memorandum of demands for a wage increase had been given to management by staff members. - Sapa

Crowd gathers at Gold Fields
IOL News 12 September 2012

Johannesburg - A large crowd had gathered by midday on Wednesday at Gold Fields' KDC West mine near Carletonville as security guards kept watch.

A man who identified himself as “Alfred” said the crowd was waiting for Gold Fields vice chancellor Koos Barnard to arrive and address their wage demands.

Bongani Magopane, 25, said he did not earn enough to make a living.

“We aren't going to stop until we get what we want. It's only money. If (Barnard) doesn't come we don't go to work.”

The striking mineworkers were carrying sticks, knobkerries and whips.

They were seen milling around street vendors, who were preparing chicken on braais alongside the road.

On Tuesday expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, addressing workers who packed a stadium at the mine, said: “There must be a national strike at all the mines until Frans Baleni (general secretary of the NUM) and the NUM leadership step down with immediate effect.”

Among their demands, handed in the previous day, was that the National Union of Mineworkers' leadership at their branch be replaced.

Attendance at the mine on Tuesday was about 15 percent.

The mine employs around 15,000 people, and 80 percent of them are affiliated to NUM.

The company was granted an interdict by the Labour Court on Monday to stop the strike, but had not enforced it yet. It said it would also not take action against Malema for the strike call.

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka dismissed Malema's call for union leaders to step down, and called for a speedy resolution of the strike. - Sapa

Canisters fired at Gold Fields protesters
IOL News 12 September 2012

Johannesburg - Gas canisters were fired at protesters at Gold Fields at KDC West mine near Carletonville on Wednesday morning.

Thousands of workers were seen running away from a contingent of security guards.

Security guards were sitting inside their vehicles, wearing gas masks as protesters ran to a nearby stream where they tried to wash out their eyes. - Sapa

Alliance questions GF Jooste closure
IOL News 11 September 2012

A group of activists has called for a moratorium on the closing of GF Jooste Hospital, saying the decision to close it and rebuild it from scratch was made without consultation.

The group, which calls itself the GF Jooste Coalition, said plans to demolish the hospital were not only inadequate and vague, but so far there had been no reassurance from the provincial Department of Health that patient care would not suffer during the construction period.

In a memorandum to Health MEC Theuns Botha’s office on Monday, the body - which comprises nine organisations, including nursing bodies, the SA Medical Association (Sama), Cape Metro Health Forum, Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and Treatment Action Campaign - also claimed that there were no clear plans to absorb the hospital’s workload.

The Manenberg hospital is one of the busiest in the Western Cape and is to be closed for three years. According to the department, during construction, services would be moved to the new Mitchell’s Plain Hospital. Emergency patients would be accommodated by other emergency centres in the Klipfontein subdistrict, while in-patients would be absorbed by nearby hospitals as well as Groote Schuur.

Dr Zameer Brey, provincial chairman of Sama, said while the building of a new hospital was welcomed by all, there was no clear plan on how the 350 000 patients served by GF Jooste would be accommodated.

“Staff at GF Jooste have not yet received any written communication with regard to the implications for their employment. Staff are facing an uncertain future, and still do not know where they will be working and whether they will be offered posts equivalent to their current posts,” he said.

The department said the decision to rebuild the hospital a careful and considered process and was aimed at improving health services in the area, not remove them.

Botha said no jobs would be lost.

He said the new hospital would provide a full range of hospital services and have a “significant specialist presence”.

“Prior to the closure for the rebuilding of GF Jooste Hospital, the department will spell out the implications for surrounding communities and make suitable arrangements for health care in these communities,” Botha said.

“Communication will include print and electronic media, focus group discussions and broader community meetings.” - Cape Argus

Gold Fields strike ends
Business News 5 September 2012

Johannesburg - Striking workers at South African bullion producer Gold Fields agreed to return to work on Wednesday, the National Union of Mineworkers said.

NUM said in a statement the 12,000 workers who downed tools at Gold Fields' KDC operation would return with Wednesday's night shift.

Sapa had earlier reported that, according to the mine, NUM president Senzeni Zokwana was overseeing talks between the union and striking branch members at Gold Fields' KDC gold mine in Westonaria on Wednesday.

“We had a series of meetings on Tuesday between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), its members and management,” said spokesman Sven Lunsche.

“It ended up with a mass meeting where Zokwana made a commitment that he would oversee a dialogue session between the NUM branch and the disaffected NUM branch members today (Wednesday).” - Sapa and Reuters

Gold Fields strike continues
Business News 4 September 2012

Johannesburg - The strike at Gold Fields' KDC gold mine was continuing on Tuesday, the mine said.

“The strike is unfortunately continuing. We have set up a series of meetings with the (National Union of Mineworkers) NUM, with the disaffected NUM members, at the mine to try and resolve the issue,” said spokesman Sven Lunsche.

“This follows interactions with the NUM national office and the department of mineral resources yesterday.”

He said based on those meeting, a series of meetings had been structured to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

On Monday, expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema told the striking miners that workers should lead themselves when labour unions neglected them.

“Leaders of the NUM should know that you can't act for workers without consulting them, and don't take workers for granted.”

Malema said: “If they fail you, you must lead yourself.”

Malema spoke to loud cheers from the miners, who have been on strike since Wednesday. They want the NUM's local leadership to resign.

He told his audience to continue fighting for better wages.

The ANC in the OR Tambo region, in the Eastern Cape, had declared that the minimum monthly wage for mine workers across the country should be R12,500, he said.

Workers wielded sticks and sang songs when Malema arrived in a black Mercedes-Benz. - Sapa

SSN Picket in Support of Amos Mbedzi
SSN 12 September 2012

South African Amos Mbedzi has been convicted in Swaziland of the murder of his own two comrades, under the common-law precept of “dolus eventualis”.

In other words, the judge in the Swazi court has used the same charge to convict Mbedzi, for murder, as was going to be used against the Marikana detainees by the South African NPA, but which was withdrawn after a national outcry.

The court has set Monday the 17th of September, 2012, as the day of sentencing.

In support of our comrade, and in the call for the release of all political prisoners, the Swaziland Solidarity Network together with the South African Communist Party and The Young Communist League of South Africa will hold a picket at the Swaziland Consulate in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on Friday 14 September 2012.

Full details:

• Date: 14 September 2012 (Friday)
• Time: 12h00 (until 14h00)
• Venue: Swaziland Consulate, Hoofd Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg

Buses burnt during Limpopo protest
IOL News 11 September 2012

Three buses were set alight on Tuesday morning at Ditloung village near the Medupi power station, Limpopo police said.

“Around 1am, it was found that three buses used to transport workers to the power station were burning,” Lt-Col Ronel Otto said.

Police were investigating the cause of the fires. No one was injured and no arrests had been made by 11am.

On Thursday last week, about 80 workers contracted by Murray & Roberts Construction and Grinaker-LTA damaged several vehicles and some equipment at the power plant.

The workers went on protest because the contracts of around 600 local employees were due to end.

Otto said four people were arrested for intimidation on Tuesday morning in Lephalale village, where Medupi is situated.

Police confiscated a vehicle, a banner and a loud hailer from protesters.

There were no reports of violence.

“At this stage the situation is quiet, and under control,” Otto said.

Police were keeping watch. -

Protest closes roads near Lenasia
IOL News 11 September 2012

Johannesburg - About 100 Lenasia residents blockaded the R554 near Lenasia on Tuesday morning to protest against poor service delivery, Gauteng police said.

Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said angry residents were barricading the roads and burning tyres on the R554 near the Klipspruit Valley road and the Golden Highway.

“It is believed the residents were planning a march later on Tuesday but we need to establish if they have permission for the march,” Makhubela said.

Johannesburg metro police advised motorists to use alternative routes such as the Golden Highway.

“Motorists should avoid the affected area as well as the Nirvana road,” said Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

He said the protest started around 4am on Tuesday. - Sapa

Cops, protesters in N1 pitched battle
Lynnette Johns and Henk Kruger 11 September 2012

Cape Town - Tear gas, rubber bullets and a water cannon were used to quell a service delivery protest in Touws River on Monday when hundreds of residents forced the closure of the N1, which stayed closed for most of the day and was reopened early on Monday night.

The Zion Park community was protesting about a lack of services on a piece of municipal land they had invaded a year ago. They have threatened to continue protesting until their demands are met.

Five people were arrested and many were hit by rubber bullets. The police also used “blanks” to fire at people.

By late morning, police reinforcements arrived with a water cannon, which was used to blast the protesters with blue-coloured water.

The protest was prompted following a fire which killed a family of three last week.

Community leader Michael Visagie said residents’ simmering anger erupted because they felt their voices were not being heard.

Municipal manager Gerrit Matthyse, however, said the municipality was in constant negotiations with Zion Park residents and that the protest had taken it by surprise.

On Monday, burning tyres and large stones littered the N1 as residents clashed with police. By Monday afternoon more than 1 000 people had joined the protest.

The N1 was closed early on Monday morning on both sides of the road. Vehicles were backed up for 10 to 15 kilometres, awaiting the re-opening of the roads – primarily heavy trucks, for which the N1 is the country’s main haulage artery.

Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said the road had been reopened at 2pm, but an hour later police were forced to close it again.

“There is no alternative route so people are stranded, traffic is backed up by 10 to 15 kilometres on both sides,” he said.

There have been scores of service delivery protests across the province this year, many of them violent and destructive.

On Monday, President Jacob Zuma said at the SA Local Government Association (Salga) national conference in Midrand that SA had achieved far more in 18 years in service delivery than any other country.

He said government successes in service delivery were lost in the hurly-burly of competitive politics and non-delivery of services often had to do with problems inherited from apartheid.

The Institute for Security Studies warned that if violent protests were allowed to continue over a prolonged period, they had the potential to spread and develop into a fully-fledged revolt.

Johan Burger, of the ISS, said that according to SAPS there were 8 004 “crowd management” incidents in 2004/5, of which 622 were “unrest” incidents requiring direct intervention – arrests and the use of force.

In 2011/12 the number of crowd management incidents escalated by almost 38 percent to 11 033 incidents, while the number of “unrest” related incidents rose by more than 75 percent to 1 091 cases.

“There are indications that these so-called unrest incidents are not only on the rise, but that they are becoming increasingly violent,” Burger said.

The ward councillor for the area, Patrick Smith, said they had been chased away two weeks ago when he, Matthyse and a contractor arrived at the settlement to install 14 chemical toilets and 14 taps.

“They are wrong. This is the first community saying no to chemical toilets,” he said.

Smith said installing water toilets would be fruitless and wasteful expenditure as a housing plan needed to be finalised.

A year ago, 80 families moved on to the vacant municipal land and built shacks next to a refuse station.

Last week a pregnant woman, her four-year-old son and her husband died in a fire when their shack caught alight. By the time a fire engine came from Worcester, it was too late to save them.

ANC PR councillor Joseph Januarie said certain areas, such as Zion Park, were being neglected.

“People have a right to protest and to be listened to. There is no basic services and the DA-led municipality must give answers,” Januarie said.

Matthyse said there were people who had been waiting for between 15 and 20 years for houses.

Zion Park, he said, was a newly established informal settlement, but 10 hectares of land had been identified for housing.

“There has been constant communication between the municipality and the community. They refused temporary toilets and the stand pipes and wanted a flush toilet for every family,” Matthyse said.

Visagie said about 1 000 people were living in Zion Park.

“There used to be another informal settlement on this piece of land and it had flushing toilets. Why can’t we also have water toilets? That was the agreement with the municipality,” he said.

Zion Park residents used the bush to relieve themselves and there were four taps, Visagie said.
Cape Argus

Lonmin strikers protest
IOL News 10 September 2012

North West - A group of protesting Marikana mineworkers was marching from Wonderkop to Lonmin's nearby Eastern Platinum mine on Monday, in an attempt to stop operations there.

Police stopped them on the way, but after negotiations, allowed the workers - some waving knobkerries and sjamboks - to proceed.

Representatives of the workers told the police they wanted access to the mine to close down operations there.

“Mining activities at the Eastern Platinum mine have to be halted as the workers there are underpaid,” said a leader of the protesters, Anele Nogwanya.

“We have now buried all our fallen colleagues. Now is the time to honour our promise to them of getting the R12 500,” he said.

“If we go back to work without getting R12,500, our deceased colleagues will turn against us.”

On August 16, police fired on a group of protesting workers killing 34 of them and wounding 78. Another 10 people were killed the preceding week, including two policemen and two security guards.

Lonmin said staff attendance was 6.34 percent on Monday, ahead of wage talks, which were expected to begin at noon.

One of the conditions of a peace deal signed on Thursday was that the workforce return on Monday.

“Attendance today is 6.34 percent,” said spokeswoman Sue Vey, after a slow start of just over two percent earlier.

Only one shift - the 7am - was running across the 11 shafts of the Marikana complex, which includes Eastern Platinum Ltd and Western Platinum Ltd.

The company, which is considered one of the world's largest producers of platinum group metals, loses around 2500 platinum ounces per day of no production.

Work stopped at the mine on August 10.

Earlier, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which did not sign the accord, said it would participate in Monday's negotiations, but could not guarantee that its members would return to work.

The National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity, UASA and Lonmin management agreed to the peace accord early on Thursday morning to level the ground for wage negotiations.

Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis said the tone of Monday's talks would be an indication of what the last few weeks had been about.

“If they commence negotiations, we will know it's about the wage dispute. If they carry on with intimidation and unlawful gatherings, there is a lot more to it,” he said. - Sapa

Monday mass meeting of evicted pinafore-vendors to demand replies from eThekwini Mayor & City Manager
Pat Horn 10 September 2012

On Monday 10th September at 9 a.m. four hundred and thirty (430) determined self-employed pinafore-makers and informal traders will convene a mass meeting at 126 Alice Street, the site where they were forcibly evicted from their workplace on Saturday by Durban Metro Police, on the instructions of the Business Support Unit of the eThekwini Municipality. They are likely to call on the Mayor, James Nxumalo, and new City Manager S'bu Sithole to meet them after discussing what strategy and tactics to proceed to employ to get the eThekwini municipality to respond to their demands, which include the following:

Urgent allocation of a building to work in (since Saturday's eviction from the building they had occupied – where their remaining machinery and equipment is)
Appointment of a woman at the Business Support Unit of the eThekwini Municipality to head women's issues affecting women informal traders;
Support for those who lost their machinery and equipment in a fire last week;
Suitable and affordable space to sell their pinafores in flea markets.

The previous Saturday afternoon a fire had swept through the Phezulu Lodge building in Umgeni Road which was occupied by pinafore-makers, and much of their stock was destroyed. The cause of the fire is unknown. It is estimated that close to 30-40 workers who depend on their trade as a livelihood have lost their goods and equipment in the fire. Most of the traders were renting these premises, where they produced their pinafore dresses and other items in sweatshop-like conditions, and sold them behind Berea Station, at flea markets, and wherever they can.

An upset Sylvia Khubone said that people were lucky to escape from the burning building, as most of the property is surrounded by electric fences except one gate. “Everything I have owned has been burnt. We don’t know where to start re-building what we lost and we don’t even have a place to go,” she said.

On the 7th August the pinafore-vendors had marched against the exorbitant prices they were charged by the Business Support Unit of the municipality, and presented a memorandum of their grievances, including a demand for the municipality to allocate an unused building to them. However, no word has been forthcoming from the municipality.

After unsuccessful attempts to get the municipality to respond to their demand for the use of the unused building, including a meeting with staff from the Mayor’s office in the city hall, 430 women pinafore-makers occupied a building at 126 Alice Street on Wednesday 5th September, moved their equipment in and re-started work. On Friday 7th September, Councillor Themba Duma, himself formerly an informal trader, attempted to get the women to leave the building – but they said they would only leave the building once they were given another building which they could use instead – something he was apparently not able to offer them.

On Saturday 8th September police arrived to forcibly eject the women. Mzwandile Mavula, Secretary of the Ubumbano Traders Association to which the pinafore- vendors are affiliated, reports that the police used unacceptable levels of violence to force the women out. He and 4 men and 8 women (including pinafore-makers and a lawyer) were subsequently arrested at the scene. They were taken to CR Swart Square, and then released on warning after the Charge Office was besieged by enquiries from supporters, the Legal Resources Centre and StreetNet International, to which Ubumbano Traders Alliance is affiliated.

About 100 evicted pinafore-sellers then gathered outside the Durban City Hall where they agreed to reconvene in a mass meeting at 126 Alice Street, the venue from which they were evicted, at 9 a.m. on Monday 10th September.

Pat Horn, StreetNet International Coordinator, commented "We are hoping that the eThekwini Mayor and City Manager are going to recognise the urgency of addressing the work situation of these 430 pinafore-makers who have lost their livelihoods while waiting for the Municipality to respond to their demands presented after their march on the 7th August. These women are supporting large numbers of dependants – and have the same right to Decent Work as workers in the formal sector, which in this case the Municipality is in the best position to assist them to

Arrested informal traders and pinafore-sellers have been released on warning from CR Swart Square, after the charge office was besieged by enquiries J

About 100 pinafore-sellers who were forcibly evicted this morning from the building they had occupied at 126 Alice Street, have collected outside the Durban City Hall where they are waiting for more of their colleagues and are making impromptu posters and banners, as they are about to start a picket outside the City Hall in protest about the failure of the municipality to respond to their demands for a place to work, making their pinafores, and a reasonably-priced marketplace to sell the pinafores.

Leader is cde Khuboni (cel.074 250 8185) – she can be contacted for details of what is currently happening.

"Nothing for us without us"

I have just had a message that women pinafore-makers are being forcefully ejected by police from the premises at 126 Alice Street that they have been occupying since Tuesday 4th September.

The women were renting premises where they produced their pinafores in sweatshop-like conditions, and sold them behind Berea Station, at flea markets, and wherever they could. On the 7th August they marched against the extortionary prices they are charged by the Business Support Unit of the municipality, and presented a memorandum of their grievances, including a demand for the municipality to allocate an unused building to them. No word was forthcoming from the municipality, but the building they were renting then burnt down, and much of their stock was destroyed.

After unsuccessful attempts to get the municipality to respond to their demand for the use of the unused building, including a meeting with staff from the Mayor’s office in the city hall, the women occupied a building at 126 Alice Street on Tuesday night 4th September.

On Friday 7th September, Councillor Themba Dube, himself formerly an informal trader, attempted to get the women to leave the building – but they said they would only leave the building once they were given another building which they could use instead – something he was apparently not able to offer them.

On Saturday 8th September police have arrived to forcibly eject the women. Mzwandile Mavula, Secretary of the Ubumbano Traders Association to which the pinafore- vendors are affiliated, reports that the police are using unacceptable levels of violence to force the women out. He is presently at the scene and can be contacted on 078 539 2927.

Call for Khulabebuka Support
China Ngubane 9 September 2012

Dear Cdes
Premilla Deonath, Khulabebuka High School Principal received a charge sheet last Friday.
Her hearing will be tomorrow, Monday 10th September 2012 at 10am at Truro House, 7th Floor. 17 Victoria Embankment
Premilla says the charges are very vague. We are all requested to support in defence of justice.

It is apparent that Premilla will face trumped up charges where reality is evident that racism took charge.

Comrades will meet there from 08h30 tomorrow.

Please share widely

SACP in Linda Jabane District leads a successful service delivery march
SACP Linda Jabane District Media Release, 6 September 2012

The South African Communist Party in Linda Jabane District (Greater Johannesburg) together with SANCO and COSATU in Greater Johannesburg Region, today, 06 September 2012, led a successful service delivery march to the offices of the Mayor of the City of Johannesburg.

The march, attended by more than 1,000 people, was aimed at highlighting lack of service delivery in poor working class communities across Greater Johannesburg, particularly informal settlements in the south.

The Young Communist League of South Africa in the District joined the march together with progressive forces from the MKVA.

A joint memorandum was handed over to an employee in the office of the Mayor as the Mayor and his Committee were not available to receive the memorandum.

Amongst the key demands raised in the memorandum are:

* Unilateralism and dictatorship in the implementation and management of the City’s Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) 2040. The three components of the ANC-led alliance (SACP, COSATU, SANCO) have noted with dismay the usage of the social media (such as facebook and twitter) as well as the mainstream media as the main tool of consultation thereby excluding the majority of the working class communities in the City. We noted that the alliance as well was not sufficiently taken into confidence in this regard, with the exception of a handful of meetings camouflaged as preparatory meetings as well as a summit.

* We further noted with dissatisfaction the tendering system that the City of Johannesburg is practicing with regards to its Parking system, Outsourcing of Council services, and most importantly continuous utilization of labour brokers.

* The lack of Delivery of Basic Services to the people of the City of Johannesburg in the provisioning of water supply, refuse removal, electricity and gas supply, municipal health services, municipal roads and storm water drainage, street lighting, municipal parks and recreation, were some of the focal points of the memorandum.

* Furthermore, we noted the negative impact that privatisation of municipal entities has on the rendering of basic services to communities. The memorandum therefore demands the urgent de-privatisation of all Municipal entities.

Over and above, we note with concern the lack of consultation on the management of the City. We are hopeful that the City will take these demands to heart in the spirit of making the lives of our people better.


Issued by:
Mandlakhe Radebe
SACP District Secretary
082 294 2429

For more information contact cde Lebo Zulu, Head of Organising, on 076 377 0267 or

Medupi remains closed following protest
Megan Wait 11th September 2012

The Medupi power station remained closed on Tuesday, following protests by Eskom contract employees last week, engineering group Murray & Roberts said.

Spokesperson Ed Jardim told Engineering News Online that operations at the power station near Lephalale, in Limpopo, were put on hold on Friday, although no violence had been reported since then.

"The safety of the labour force, as they are not on site, is not being impacted. Discussions and investigations continue,” he noted.
Jardim added that site closure has been done in consultation with Eskom and the construction programme might be adjusted where needed. “The site is calm,” he said.
It was unclear when operations would resume at the 4 764 MW power station, which was expected to start generating power for the national grid next year.

On Thursday, about 80 workers contracted by Murray & Roberts and Grinaker-LTA damaged several vehicles and some equipment at the site.

The workers were protesting because the contracts of about 600 local employees were due to end.

Newswire Sapa quoted police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Ronel Otto as saying on Tuesday that buses used to transport workers to the power station were burnt at Ditloung village near Medupi.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb

Three buses torched amid Medupi strike
SABC 11 September 2012

Three buses have been burnt down by striking Medupi workers in Lephalale in Limpopo. Lephalale police say the buses were burnt at the Marapong township.

Workers have downed tools since Thursday last week. During a violent protest action last Friday, the workers damaged some offices and equipment. They're demanding that contractors stop terminating the contracts of locals and that the National Union of Metal workers of South Africa remove its full-time shop stewards.
The striking workers have vowed not to return to work until their problems are addressed.

They also want contractors to do away with "project labour agreement" - a document governing employee and employer relations. The workers' strike has resulted in the shutdown of the under-construction power station.

Meanwhile, management has also sent text messages to the 18 000 labour force not to report for duty until further notice. Police say the situation is tense.

Violence protest at Medupi
All Za News7 September 2012

Around 60 Eskom contract employees who were due to lose their jobs embarked on a violent protest at the Medupi power plant in Limpopo on Thursday, the parastatal said.

The workers, contracted by Murray & Roberts Construction and Grinaker-LTA damaged several vehicles and some equipment, it said in a statement.

Spokesman for Murray & Roberts, Ed Jardim said the workers were well informed of the demobilising plan which saw around 600 of them lose their jobs.

"With a major project like this, often you have to mobilise and demobilise employees depending on the need and the project labour plan.

"The plan is done in accordance with Eskom and we followed all the right channels", he added.

Although the protest was contained, all the workers were sent home as a precautionary measure.

Medupi, the 4764 MW power station, was expected to start generating power for the national grid next year. About 17,000 workers were on the site.

Naked protest paid off
Look Local 5 September 2012

Petanenge women had to protest topless to have a contractor sent to the village to fix the water pump.

The Petanenge community is happy now that the Mopani District Municipality has sent the contractor to the site to fix the water pump.

Women of Petanenge resorted to a naked march last Wednesday after a month of protest over water shortage.

The women protested at the Greater Tzaneen Municipality (GTM) offices where they stripped down pleading for water.

One of the women, Assistant Shai said they are happy that their naked protest paid off.

“The contractor is on site and work has already begun. Hopefully we will have clean water soon,” said Shai.

Mopani District Municipality spokesperson, Neil Shikwambana, said that three boreholes were erected at Petanenge but the illegal connections on the water pump and theft of water pipes had led to the lack of water in Petanenge.

Shikwambana said a contractor was taken to the site on Monday and work has already begun.

Strikers threaten to make S.African mine 'ungovernable'
Susan Njanji 6 September 2012

Thousands of defiant workers marched Wednesday on South Africa's crippled Lonmin mine, refusing to end a deadly strike and threatening to make the platinum giant's mine "ungovernable".

Armoured police trucks and two police helicopters kept watch as more than 3,000 miners, carrying sticks and chanting, marched to a shaft owned by the world's number three platinum producer where a wildcat action is in its fourth week.

"We told them if they don't close the mine shafts we will make them ungovernable," a worker leader told strikers after the group had re-gathered near where police gunned down 34 people last month.

"The management is trying to divide us and coaxing some of you to go to work. Remember people died as a result of the struggle and at the end of the day your boss does not stay with you."

Earlier, marchers took to the streets to demand that the company bow to their wage demands. One placard stating "Lonmin must decide to give us money or close".

The show of defiance came as a fresh round of mediated talks kicked off to try to broker a breakthrough in the stalemate, as Lonmin warning that an indefinite strike will put 40,000 jobs at risk.

A mine manager Jan Thirion said worker representatives had threatened that "if we don't leave here at one o'clock (1100 GMT) they will come and burn down the shaft, burn down cars and kill us".

"We want to talk peace, they want to talk war," he told reporters after speaking to the representatives through a fence under high security.

A worker leader however told strikers "We are not fighting, we just want 12,500 rand."

But workers dispersed peacefully after their deadline passed, singing President Jacob "Zuma is a fool, we are ruled by stupid people" as they headed back to where police had opened fire on August 16, killing their colleagues.

Some carried a picture of a dead miner who is to be buried this weekend. There was shock at his death as he had left the site with only a bullet wound in the leg.

"We believe police finished him," said worker representative Xolani Mzuzu.

"We consider him a hero like Chris Hani," Mzuzu added, referring to the anti-apartheid icon gunned down a year before South Africa headed into democracy.

The deadly police volley against the miner on August 16 shocked the world with its echoes of apartheid-era police brutality.

The police shootings brought the death toll to 44 after escalating from a wildcat strike in which 10 people, including two police officers, had already been killed.

The dispute has become a battleground for rival political and labour factions and sparked fears of a spillover of unrest into the key mining sector.

On Wednesday, a trade union of mainly white skilled workers, Solidarity, laid criminal charges against the firebrand former leader of the ruling party's youth league, Julius Malema, for inflaming tensions at mines hit by unrest.

Moving around troubled mines, Malema has fired up worker frustrations with calls for mines to be made "ungovernable".

London-listed Lonmin, whose shares dropped Wednesday, reported 4.2 percent attendance across all its shafts but was hopeful of a outcome in the latest talks.

"We are willing to negotiate wages, in the right manner," it said.

"Violence and intimidation have no place in bargaining. We are working hard to reach agreement with all parties through the peace talks. All of us must condemn violence."

The talks, which started at midday, were likely to run until midnight, according to Bishop Jo Seoka, a broker locked inside the talks.

Workers are insisting on 12,500 rand ($1,479, 1,182 euros) with the workers' representative saying that the manager Jan "Thirion tried to talk to us about the peace accord. We told him we are not here for the peace accord but for 12,500" rand.

The government has condemned "irresponsible and inflammatory statements" after Malema's calls.

"Government has a responsibility to maintain law and order and therefore will not tolerate any irresponsible and unwarranted provocation from any quarters of our society," said a statement from a minister in the presidency, Collins Chabane.

Ministers urged law enforcement agencies "to do anything necessary to prevent any further loss of lives and ensure that both private and public property is protected".

Miners threaten to kill Lonmin management
Getrude Makhafola (IOL News) 5 September 2012

North West - Marikana miners have threatened to kill Lonmin management unless they stop operations at the platinum mine in North West.

The threat was made by representatives of protesting workers who marched to Lonmin's Karee mine, from Marikana on Wednesday.

The five representatives told manager Jan Thiroun that management had Wednesday and Thursday to close the mine's K3 shaft or they would end up dead and the mine would be burnt down. The shaft is where most of the mine's operations take place.

On August 16, police fired on a group of protesting workers near the mine, killing 34 and wounding 78. Another 10 people were killed earlier that week, including two policemen and two security guards.

Thiroun, who arrived at the gate escorted by two heavily armed bodyguards on Wednesday afternoon, told the workers' representatives to go back to the negotiating table and sign the peace accord.

“Violence doesn't solve anything. It is not in everyone's interest.”

When the marchers arrived at the mine, police took up position about 500 metres from an entrance gate, and kept a close watch. Two helicopters circled overhead.

Workers have been on strike for the past three weeks, demanding a monthly salary of R12,500.

On Wednesday, the miners started marching the more than five kilometres from Lonmin's mine in Marikana to the mine in Karee around 10am in an apparent attempt to stop their colleagues from working there.

The marchers carried knobkerries, sticks and iron rods and as they marched, sang: “We died because of (President Jacob) Zuma. (Bantu) Holomisa please come and rescue us.”

They also carried placards bearing pictures of their dead colleagues.

Police were unable to prevent the marchers from entering Marikana.

Five Nyala armoured personnel carriers parked at the town's entrance in an attempt to divert the march, but the crowd pushed its way around the vehicles and continued to the Karee mine.

As the miners passed the Karee West informal settlement, next to the mine, residents cheered in support.

Men whistled and women ululated as the group passed by. They also shouted: “Viva R12,500. Viva”.

On Tuesday, about 200 mineworkers met at the Karee mine's shaft 30, and tried to get their colleagues to stop working. Another march was then planned for Wednesday morning.

Police in armoured vehicles also kept an eye on the Nkaneng squatter camp at Wonderkop, near the Marikana mine.

Talks between worker representatives, unions, the labour department and management were expected to resume on Wednesday in Rustenburg. - Sapa

Strikers demonstrate at Marikana mine
Peroshni Govender (IOL News) 5 September 2012

North West - More than 1 000 striking miners waving sticks and whips demonstrated on Wednesday at Lonmin's Marikana mine, where police shot dead 34 of their colleagues last month in the bloodiest security incident since the 1994 end of apartheid.

Dozens of police arrived at the scene while a helicopter hovered above the protesting rock-drill operators, whose strike to demand a hefty pay hike is now in its fourth week, crippling London-headquartered Lonmin .

One man at the front of the column waved a placard reading “We want 12,500 or nothing else”, a reference to the group's demand for a hike in base pay to R12 500 a month, more than double their current salary.

Another protester, who did not wish to be named, said the demonstrators were heading to Lonmin's nearby Karee mine to “take out the people who are working in the mine shaft”.

Marikana accounts for the vast majority of the platinum output of Lonmin, which itself accounts for 12 percent of global supply of the precious metal used in jewellery and vehicle catalytic converters.

Both Marikana and Karee, 100 km north-west of Johannesburg, have been closed since thousands of rock drillers went on a wildcat strike and protest nearly four weeks ago that led to the August 16 police crackdown.

Talks between Lonmin management, unions and the government to ease tensions and get the striking miners back to work are due to resume in the nearby city of Rustenburg, although the Marikana march suggests chances of a breakthrough are slim.

World platinum prices have risen more than 10 percent since the August 16 shooting, while Lonmin's Johannesburg- and London-listed shares have lost more than 15 percent. - Reuters

Protesters accused of intimidation
IOL News 4 September 2012

Rustenburg - Protesting workers at Lonmin's eastern section platinum mine, in North West, dispersed before noon on Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.

“They gathered outside the eastern platinum hostel and then went to the Saffy shaft to speak with management. It was aimed at intimidation. It was then dispersed,” said Lonmin spokeswoman Gillian Findlay.

She said about 200 workers started protesting early in the morning in an attempt to prevent other miners from going to work.

The group marched under police escort to the shaft, Findlay said.

“There is a high police and mine security presence.”

The mine forms part of the greater Marikana mining operation situated between Rustenburg and Brits.

The area where 34 miners were shot dead on August 16, lies to the west.

Provincial police were not aware of the protests. - Sapa

Mpisane to meet uMlazi residents
IOL News 3 September 2012

Durban - Controversial businessman S’bu Mpisane arranged to meet uMlazi residents on Monday to discuss their concerns, which have led to their holding up work on a housing project.

Residents drove workers off the construction site on Friday, alleging that an official had demanded sexual favours from a young woman, offering her work on the project in return, and that people from outside Umlazi had been employed instead of locals for the project.

There were also claims that local councillor Amon Dladla had attended a community meeting last month with a hit man. Dladla denied the claims.

Mpisane’s firm has a municipal contract to build homes in the Umlazi B10 project.

Gwajo Hadebe, a spokesman for residents, said if Dladla was not at the meeting “he will be in trouble with the community”. – Daily News

Miners shot during mine wage rage
IOL News 3 September 2012

Johannesburg - Five striking miners at Gold One’s flagship Modder East mine near Springs are believed to have been shot by security guards during a wage protest on Monday.

The injured men were taken to hospital. But while witnesses reported seeing the men bleeding profusely, both mine management and the police were unable to confirm the incident.

A large group of miners, who have been on strike since June 4, gathered at the gate singing while police monitored them.

“Sidubuleni, sidubuleni [shoot us, shoot us],” they sang tauntingly at the police.

Others carrying branches, logs and placards sang “Dubula, dubula [shoot, shoot]”.

When the police allowed some delivery workers access to the property, the workers responded angrily.

The workers said they wanted their jobs back with better pay.

They had been dismissed by SMS on June 11 for their June 4 strike. They claimed they were paid R4 000 before deductions, and R2 900 after tax, and produced a salary slip to prove that this was what rock drillers there were paid.

According to rock driller Tsietso Moremoholo, all the workers at the mine were paid the same, regardless of their occupation. His statement was supported by his colleagues, who said it did not matter whether one was a cleaner, driver or just a general worker; the salaries were the same - in many cases the difference was just R100.

“We work under terrible conditions. We get ill because of this work and when we get ill they dismiss you and send you home to die, saying we are not well enough to work. But if it were not for the mine, we would not be ill,” one miner said.

Non-striking miners were prevented from going to work today for safety reasons.

Meanwhile the National Prosecuting Authority is provisionally withdrawing murder charges against 270 Lonmin miners.

Political parties, trade unions and legal experts - including the ANC chief whip, the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution, the DA, the National Union of Mineworkers and Cosatu - welcomed the move, some saying the miners should never have been charged in the first place.

Acting national prosecutions chief Nomgcobo Jiba, who announced the climbdown at a briefing in Pretoria on Sunday, said some of the detained miners would be released on a warning on Monday.

They were arrested on August 16 in connection with public violence charges after 34 striking miners were killed by police gunfire at Lonmin’s Marikana mine near Rustenburg.

Jiba was flanked by her two deputies - Thoko Majokweni and Asset Forfeiture Unit head Willie Hofmeyr - as well as advocate Johan Smit SC, the North West director of public prosecutions, at whose feet she laid sole blame for the decision to charge the men with murder.

“The murder charge against the current 270 suspects will be formally withdrawn provisionally in court on their next court appearance. It must be emphasised that [Smit’s] decision was not a final decision on the charges that the suspects are to face,” Jiba said.

She added that “other provisional charges” would remain.

Seven miners still face murder charges in a separate case involving two policemen who were hacked to death about a week before the August 16 massacre. - Additional reporting by Omphitlhetse Mooki
The Star

March against Massacre! Stand against Secrecy!
R2K 17 August 2012

Join us for a day of solidarity and protest at the growing influence of authoritarianism in South Africa.

WHAT: Marikane Solidarity March to Parliament
TIME: 10am
PLACE: from Keizergracht St, next to the Castle.
CONTACT: Cape Town Marikana Solidarity Committee, 0828702025/0823683429

WHAT: Right2Know Secrecy Bill Rally
TIME: 1pm
PLACE: Central Methodist Church, Greenmarket Sq, Cape Town.
CONTACT: Western Cape Right2Know, 0214617211/0782276008

Despite many victories over the last two years, the Secrecy Bill remains a threat to our democracy. While R2K’s impact on the Bill and further ANC proposals is clear, critical issues remain!

Let's keep the pressure on Parliament!

Speakers at R2K Rally include Archbishop Thabo Makgoba (Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town), Mhlobo Gunguluzi (Gugulethu Backyarders), Roegshanda Pascoe (Proudly Mannenberg), Ronnie Kasrils (former Minister of Intelligence), Vuyiseka Dubula (TAC), Ashley Louw (Delft Integrated Network), Zackie Achmat (Ndifuna Ukuwazi),and Mathilda Groepe (Blikkiesdorp Concerned Residents)

More back ground on the current Secrey Bill:

RIGHT2KNOW STATEMENT on MARIKANA: R2K joins calls for open, transparent investigation into Marikana massacre 17 August 2012

It has been reported that as more than 30 people died, and many more were injured, after police used lethal force against striking worker at Lonmin mine in Marikana.

R2K joins the public demands for an immediate and transparent investigation into the apparent extreme use of lethal force against striking miners in Marikana, Rustenburg. Since yesterday, police have failed to answer a number of burning questions about the tragedy, and reportedly forced journalists at the scene to delete photographs. SAPS must open itself to a public inquiry, with all facts laid bare for the public and for the families and friends of those who died.

South Africa must also demand answers of Lonmin Platinum Mine: as anger and outrage mounts, the role of mining executives in undermining fair labour processes and potentially exacerbating conflict must also be scrutinised.

As the right to know is fundamental to the right to organise, so the right to organise is fundamental to the right to know!

No end in sight for NCape protests
Sandi Kwon Hoo 31 August

Kimberley - “There is no solution so far,” is the verdict of the Acting Premier, Grizelda Cjiekella, referring to the angry protests in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District, that show no signs of subsiding, as it threatens to plunge the Northern Cape deeper into crisis.

Despite a high-level government delegation, including intelligence forces that were established to uncover the cause of the illegal protests, the unrest is escalating.

Protests that first erupted in Olifantshoek in May spread to the Joe Morolong Municipality and has now extended to Kuruman.

Protesters’ grievances include demands for access roads and the resignation of the mayor of the Gamagara Municipality.

However, the premier and the provincial cabinet, during a media briefing yesterday, were convinced that the illegal protests had nothing to do with the lack of service delivery.

Cjiekella indicated that the protesters who were destroying government property and businesses consisted of the same group of people who accused government of non-delivery.

“The grievances are very complex in nature and that is why no solution has been reached thus far.”

Cjiekella added that the road workers were unable to work because they were being intimidated.

“The people want roads but all attempts at road construction are being frustrated. Our officials cannot enter the villages at night. We are afraid to send them in after dark because that is where you will die. It is an unfortunate situation.”

She said that an assessment still needed to be made on the value of the damages caused to State property.

“There is no budget or insurance available to repair the broken buildings.”

Government officials related how the community refused to speak to them and have been prevented from entering the troubled villages where pockets of violence have erupted since May.

Cjiekella said that they were unable to reopen schools until the high levels of intimidation had stopped. “Parents said learners want to return to classes but they are too scared.”

She added that taxi operators were also threatened that their vehicles would be set alight if they transported the Grade 12 learners out of the area so that they could prepare for their preliminary and final exams.

“It took us about two weeks to arrange for them to be relocated to Barkly West.”

Cjiekella added that one of the ringleaders approached, was unable to explain to the task team appointed to assess the situation why they were gambling with the future of learners. “We will not stand back and allow a few disgruntled and rogue elements to run the region into the ground.”

Cjiekella said 2 583 learners at two primary and one high school in Olifantshoek were effected.

“High levels of intimidation made it difficult for the department to intervene successfully in some areas. This led to learners from all three schools in Olifantshoek not writing June examinations.

“Schools around Cassel, Bothitong, Loopeng, Tsineng and Laxey were also disrupted although this varied from schools and villages.

“In the Joe Morolong municipal area some of the schools wrote some of the papers and some wrote back-up papers. After reopening of schools for this term, there was normal schooling until disruptions started again in July.”

She pointed out that the John Taolo Gaetsewe District had over the past years received preferential treatment in terms of service delivery.

“These protests are taking place under the guise of service delivery protests. Considering the interventions of various political and administrative teams who met with the leadership and communities in the protest-hit areas to restore calm, it baffles the mind that no amicable solution has yet been reached.”

Cjiekella highlighted the political undertones of the protests.

“We will expose the culprits who are the instigators of this lawlessness. Our appeal to the communities in the affected areas is not to allow yourselves and the future of your children to be jeopardised by people who claim to have your wellbeing at heart.

“No person can have an honest intention or interest in your life by destroying children’s right to enjoy an education.”

She acknowledged the right of the community to air their grievances and to protest but said that this should be done responsibly.

One dead in Limpopo protest
IOL News 31 August 2012

A protester was shot dead on Friday in a service delivery protest in Tafelkop near Groblersdal, Limpopo police said.

Local residents barricaded roads, stopping workers and pupils from leaving the area, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

“A taxi ferrying passengers was stopped by the protesters, who surrounded the vehicle. The driver panicked, pulled a gun and fired at the protesters, hitting one of them,” he said.

The driver drove off with the passengers still inside. The wounded protester was taken to hospital and died later.

Police were searching for the taxi driver.

“At the moment, the situation is still tense and police are maintaining their presence in the area.” - Sapa

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