||Violence flares up as wildcat strikes spread to other industries
Business Report 3 October 2012
Murderous violence in the mining sector strikes re-emerged yesterday as the winds of wildcat boycotts carried flares of labour dissent to the motoring industry, halting production at Toyota South Africa Motors’ Prospecton plant in Durban.
Reports of five more deaths in Rustenburg earlier this week, unconfirmed so far, have been underplayed, but National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary Frans Baleni was quick in attributing the violence to employer obstinacy.
Police confirmed that one man was hacked to death near Rustenburg on Sunday night.
“Our fear is that the more dismissals happen, we’ll see the violence escalating. We are saying that a solution should be found because dismissals are not an option. People are attacked because they want to go to work,” Baleni said.
The reasons for the Toyota SA strike are not clear, coming as it did when some motor manufacturers are starting to feel the impact of the transport sector strike.
Leo Kok, a spokesman for Toyota SA, said yesterday that production at the plant was halted from the second shift on Monday because of a high level of absenteeism by workers. Kok said no production took place yesterday and none was planned for today.
Discussions between Toyota SA’s senior management and National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) representatives were ongoing in an attempt to resolve the dispute.
He was unable to specify the reasons for the stayaway, adding that Toyota SA was treating it as “an internal matter”.
Kok added that a meeting between plant workers and Numsa representatives was planned for today.
Castro Ngobese, a national spokesperson for Numsa, said the union’s national and KwaZulu-Natal leadership would be at Toyota’s plant today to “listen to the grievances of the workers and try and find an amicable solution”.
However, Ngobese was unable to provide clarity about the workers’ grievances.
The more than week-long transport sector strike is now causing disruptions in the motor industry.
Stewart Jennings, the president of the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers, said yesterday that the impact of the strike on component manufacturers was “patchy”, with a lot of problems around Gauteng, but little disruption in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
A disruption to automotive component supplies to the various manufacturing plants around the country could bring production to a standstill.
Alisea Chetty, a Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa spokeswoman, said the flow of production at its Silverton vehicle plant and Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth had been disrupted because of the impact on supplies of the transport sector strike.
Ford SA was working with its suppliers to prioritise the shipment of parts.
Guy Kilfoil, a BMW South Africa spokesman, said it had lost the production of 30 cars last week because axles had not be delivered on time, but had managed to catch up this lost production before the end of last week.
Denise van Huyssteen, a General Motors South Africa spokeswoman, said its material handling was outsourced and these workers were on strike, but contingency plans it had in place had enabled the company to maintain production.
Matt Gennrich, a Volkswagen South Africa spokesman, said contingency plans it made before the strike commenced had enable it to keep production running “with difficulty”.
Veralda Schmidt, a Nissan South Africa spokeswoman, said it had not had any disruptions to its operations because it had sufficient counter measures in place to ensure its operations were not interrupted.
Attempts to obtain comment from Mercedes-Benz South Africa were unsuccessful.
Yesterday, Gold Fields said it had reached a formal agreement with NUM to implement a new operating model at its developing South Deep gold mine near Johannesburg.
The mining company said that now that the parties had agreed on the key aspects of the new operating model, South Deep had withdrawn the section 189 notice issued to the NUM on August 2.
Nick Holland, the chief executive of Gold Fields, said: “This agreement will define the future of South Deep and position it to become one of the most modern underground mechanised mines both locally and internationally.”
Baleni said the NUM and Petra Diamonds were in talks over a R21 500 salary demand by employees.
A Petra Diamonds spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that the company was in discussions, without giving details. She said that a limited number of employees went on a work stoppage at its mine.
This week, wildcat strikes spread to junior gold producers Gold One International and Village Main Reef on Monday.
At Gold One an illegal strike was reported at its Cooke 4 shaft at the recently acquired Ezulwini mine, while Village reported an illegal strike at its Blyvooruitzicht mine.
Gold One said it had implemented a no work, no pay policy and had issued an ultimatum for employees to return to work.
“Should employees not cease illegal industrial action, Gold One will approach the Labour Court on an urgent basis to interdict the illegal action,” it said yesterday.
Village said yesterday that it might issue an ultimatum to striking employees depending on the outcome of a mass meeting scheduled to be held at the operation today.
Minerals Minister Susan Shabangu said yesterday: “Job losses are a cause of concern, we are a country which has a major challenge of unemployment and we cannot afford contribution to unemployment. From our side [as a department] we are asking how best to reposition the platinum sector to minimise job losses.”
However, despite intervention by management and the NUM, operations remained halted at Gold Fields’ Kloof-Driefontein Complex (KDC) West operation in Carletonville, where 15 000 employees were on illegal strike, and at the company’s Beatrix mine in the Free State, where 9 000 workers were on a wildcat strike.
Gold Fields shares fell 1.25 percent on the JSE to R1.06.
For its part, Cosatu and NUM have enlisted the SACP in laying blame for the Anglo American Platinum strike at the foot of mine bosses.
“Impala [Platinum] committed a grave error in offering an 18 percent increase to one category [miners] to the exclusion of the rest of the workers of Impala and, more seriously, outside the collective bargaining process.”
The two unions said expectations had been raised not by the NUM but by the employers, adding that the recent mineworkers’ strikes were a response to the employers’ miscalculations.
Meanwhile, fresh prospects for confrontation are brewing at Gold Fields’ KDC West and Beatrix mines after workers refused to leave their hostels by 11am yesterday as ordered by the firm.
Clothing and textiles
Yesterday did see the end of a months-long dispute in the clothing industry, with awards of 6.5 percent increases for metro-based workers and between 7.2 percent and 8.5 percent for non-metro workers, the Southern African Clothing and Textile Worker’s Union general secretary, Andre Kriel, confirmed.
The agreement, which was signed on Monday, would be backdated to September 1, which was the effective date from which increases were due.
In the latest agreement, which was signed by seven clothing manufacturing companies, wages for non-metro workers would be increased by about R45 a week. The agreement is cold comfort though for workers in the home textile sector who have entered a third week on strike after rejecting a R35 a week wage increase offer. Workers in this sector are demanding a R45 a week increase.
Bokoni wildcat strike interdicted
Sapa 3 October, 2012
Wildcat strikers at Bokoni Platinum Mines in Limpopo have been served with an interdict, the mining company said on Wednesday.
"We obtained an interdict in the labour court on Tuesday and it was served to all employees last night and today [Wednesday]," Bokani's chief commercial officer Joel Kesler said.
The company had also issued notices to workers, who had been striking since Monday, that disciplinary hearings would begin on Friday.
Kesler said there were 3500 permanent employees and 900 contractors. Out of both these groups "roughly 400" were at work.
"Essential services are still running, but no other operations are."
The mining management had received reports of threats of intimidation, but no acts of violence or damage to property had occurred.
"Police and security presence has been stepped up."
Kesler said no formal demands had been received from the strikers, and union leadership had "distanced" itself from the protest.
"We continue to urge the strikers to return to work," said Kesler.
245 rubber workers fired after strike
Business Report2 October 2012
A total of 245 workers at Dunlop Belting Products in Howick were dismissed after striking for about six weeks in KwaZulu-Natal, their union said on Tuesday.
The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said the dismissals by Dunlop bosses undermined the workers' right to strike.
Provincial regional secretary Mbuso Ngubane said the workers were dismissed on Friday after negotiations with the employer reached a deadlock.
They had been on strike since August 22, demanding an increase in salaries and to have their benefits reinstated.
Initially the workers wanted a 10 percent raise with four weeks bonus pay. The employer offered five percent with no bonus.
The workers later lowered their demand to a 6.7 percent salary increase with four weeks bonus pay, but the employer offered only 5.7 percent with no bonus, Ngubane said.
He said the workers were demanding the salary they had enjoyed before the global recession in 2009.
“When the company was under financial strain the employer cut salaries and reduced the workers' provident fund so workers could keep their jobs.”
Ngubane said the workers' demands were fair considering the cost of living and socio-economic hardships.
“We refuse to conform to the capitalist market embedded strategy of profit maximisation whilst our members are economically bleeding and feeling the pinch as a result of the high cost of living and burden imposed on them by the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequalities.”
Ngubane called on Dunlop Belting Products' bosses to return to the negotiating table to end the prolonged strike.
He said the union was working on getting a permit to march in Howick.
Numsa said it would work with its legal team to get the workers reinstated.
Dunlop Belting Products produces rubber for the mining industry, and has no links to Dunlop Tyres.
Comment from Dunlop Belting Products could not be immediately obtained. - Sapa
Workers hold Rustenburg to ransom
Omphitlhetse Mooki 3 October 2012
Johannesburg - Anglo American Platinum management was deceiving itself to think workers would abandon their basic salary demands and return to work. So said the workers who refused to heed the ultimatum to return to work on Tuesday or face dismissal.
“Tell them [management] we are waiting for them to fire us. Tell those people they are the ones who’ll leave this place. They can fire us but then we’ll close the mine down… No one will come work here [in our place],” said Tsietsi Mofokeng on Tuesday outside the Thembelani mine.
Mofokeng is one of the mineworkers demanding a R15 070 basic salary from the platinum mine’s management.
While mine management maintained it would not bow to workers’ demands, employees who did not down tools continued to be victimised on Tuesday.
“Early this morning, we bliksemed those who were going to work. It was between 4am and 6am and we stripped them and bliksemed them,” Mofokeng said.
“We burnt their clothes. Five of them. You [journalists] should also not bother coming here at night or before 6am, otherwise you’ll leave naked,” he said.
A few metres away, a Chinese national sat counting his losses after a mob of angry workers torched his warehouse on Monday night. “The alarm went off at around 10pm and I drove here from Rustenburg. I saw too much fire,” said Lin Xiong as his wife cried hysterically. Part of his warehouse was damaged, causing stock losses worth R200 000.
A few kilometres away, the remains of a red BMW, a Toyota bakkie, a Toyota Hilux bakkie and another indistinguishable vehicle were strewn along a road passing through the Mfidikwe Village near the Khomanani mineshaft.
The chaos started when miners barricaded roads around 8pm on Monday.
Among the first people to fall victim to the angry mob was Mabel Mathoto.
The 24-year-old woman is a trainee at a supermarket in Rustenburg. She is renting a room in the village while she undergoes training before returning to her hometown of Brits toiwork.
“The taxi driver refused to take us to our stops... They saw us getting out of the taxi at 9pm,” she said.
What followed was a marathon through shacks as a mob armed with stones bayed for their blood.
“You see how fat I am? I ran so fast I couldn’t even believe it myself,” Mathoto said.
Jeremiah Samo, a winch operator on the mines, lost his bakkie to fire after his colleagues turned on him.
He had saved up for four years to buy the vehicle, which he used to supplement his salary by transporting household goods when people moved house, or transporting stuff for fellow countrymen who wanted him to deliver parcels for relatives in Mozambique.
“The extra money helped me support my wife, our three children and my late brother’s three children,” he said
. Samo, 33, is not on strike but has not been going to work for fear of victimisation after National Union of Mineworkers chairman Lungisile Thani was burnt and badly injured in his house on Friday.
Last night, a neighbour asked Samo to ferry him and a sister-in-law to the mine’s other operation a few kilometres away. The neighbour’s brother, a taxi driver, had been badly injured in an accident.
“We saw people with stones emerging from nowhere, and the road ahead was barricaded. I quickly made a U-turn, but the car landed on the side of the road and stopped…
“The neighbour who had been sitting at the back jumped out, leaving me with his sister-in-law. I tried pulling her out but the group was fast approaching. I ran for my life,” Samo said.
Thirty-six-year-old Thembi Maphanga remained inside, crippled by fear.
I remember a stone landing on my head. The next thing, I woke up in hospital,” she said.
North West police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubani confirmed the incidents.
Spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said the company advised its non-striking workers not to report to work on Tuesday following Monday’s violent attacks.
“The security situation in the Rustenburg area worsened during yesterday evening... It is intended to resume operation on the day shift tomorrow [Wednesday].
She would not indicate if any of the striking workers summoned to appear before a disciplinary hearing had showed up on Tuesday.
“Disciplinary action is continuing against employees who have been on strike, in accordance with Anglo American Platinum’s previous announcements,” she said.
Sithole said mine management had also obtained an interdict against employees at its mine in Limpopo after they refused to work on Tuesday.
Gold Fields evicts workers as mining strike spreads
Susan Njanji (Mail & Guardian) 3 October 2012
Gold Fields has begun evicting thousands of its striking workers from company dormitories as work stoppages spread to more gold and platinum mines.
Gold Fields ordered some 5 000 workers who have been on strike for three weeks to vacate the mine hostels, saying striking workers there were intimidating their fellow employees. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
Workers at another mine, belonging to Anglo American Platinum, downed tools on Tuesday, and the firm held disciplinary hearings for the strikers.
And at Gold One, the bulk of 1 800 workers have also embarked on an illegal strike since Monday night.
Gold Fields, the world's number four producer of the precious metal, said it had decided to throw out the strikers from the company hostels as these places were increasingly getting violent and were being used by the strikers to intimidate, plan and coordinate illegal activities.
"The hostels are effectively becoming lawless and so we decided to put an end to that and close them down for the miners who live there," Gold Fields spokesperson Sven Lunsche said.
In a copycat move of the deadly Lonmin Marikana mine strike, Gold Fields' protesting workers on Tuesday gathered on a nearby hill and kept a vigil there, with some planning to spend the night there.
The Lonmin mine strike ended with hefty pay hike last month but only the standoff had claimed 46 lives.
Deadly work stoppage
Gold Fields' KDC West mine near Johannesburg, which employs 15 000 people, has been crippled since September 9, slowing production by 1 400 ounces of gold a day.
Strikes have spread like wildfire in South Africa since the deadly work stoppage that started at a mine of world's number three platinum producer Lonmin in August.
In a bid to end the months of labour unrest, trade union federation the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Tuesday demanded mine owners renegotiate up to 120 000 workers' contracts a year before they are due to expire.
Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi demanded "negotiations on wages and conditions of employment be reopened, or that the existing agreement lapsing in 2013 is brought forward."
The umbrella union made the demands as Anglo American said its employees at its Union Mine in northern Limpopo Province "have refused to go underground for their shifts and have presented a memorandum to the mine's management".
Five of Amplats mines have now been hit by industrial unrest since a wildcat strike began last month.
The other four mines are located in South Africa's main platinum belt around Rustenburg.
Amplats had given the 26 000 striking workers in Rustenburg until Tuesday to appear in person for disciplinary hearings or risk dismissal.
There were no immediate details on the results of those hearings but Amplats said disciplinary action was ongoing.
The firm reported that the security situation had deteriorated overnight around Rustenburg, forcing non-striking employees to stay at home and return on Wednesday.
"The security situation in the Rustenburg area worsened during yesterday evening. As a result, Anglo American Platinum advised employees at its Rustenburg mining operations not to attend work today," it said.
Meantime workers at Gold One's Cooke 4 Shaft, about 30km from Johannesburg, have not clocked in since Monday night, company vice president Grant Stuart said.
Gold One only started operating the mine in August after it acquired it from First Uranium early this year.
Chief executive Neal Froneman said the shaft was in marginal operation and, "as such, it is incomprehensible that employees can put both their jobs and the future of this business at such high risk of closure". – Sapa-AFP
SATAWU resumes wage talks and says no to anarchy in our name
SATAWU 3 October 2012
We condemn charlatans trumpeting doom and chaos in our name; meanwhile we remain determined towards a successful wage solution today
SATAWU has learned with shock the message that is currently making rounds to all and sundry amongst the South African motorists and the broader members of the public about a national strike purportedly taking place tomorrow (4 September 2012). The purported national strike is said to be organized by SATAWU and that there will be violent activities. That message is circulating through SMS, BBM, Facebook and email platforms.
We distance ourselves from such predictions of doom and chaos as spread out by the agent provocateurs whose aim is to tarnish our name and distort our cause. We urge all South Africans to ignore the message and further desist from circulating it to their friends and families. We understand the harm and fear this may cause to the ordinary citizens and as a responsible trade union we are taking thematter to the SAPS to investigate the origin of the message and expect action against its author for defamation and incitement to violence.
Meanwhile our negotiators led by the acting president June Dube and General Secretary, Zenzo Mahlangu, together with other unions have just resumed the negotiations with the employer representatives this morning at the bargaining council offices in Johannesburg this morning. We strongly believe that today’s discussions will bring a solution to the current strike and our members can return to work and bring back the South African economy to normality.
For more information please contact:
Acting National Media Officer
South African Transport & Allied Workers’ Union
A revolutionary union most admired
Tel: 011 333 6127
Cell: 083 297 3826
Shortage fears grow as petrol pumps run dry
Phillip De Wet (Mail & Guardian) 2 October 2012
Petrol pumps around Gauteng and other provinces have begun to run out of fuel, and things could get worse if the transport strike is not resolved.
Transport workers set to intensify strikeTransport workers vow to strike after wage talks failMore CoverageRoad freight talks set to continueEmergency services brace for more injuries as transport strike continues Despite contingency measures, petrol stations in Gauteng and elsewhere started to run out of fuel on Tuesday – with a good chance that things could get considerably worse by the weekend if the transport strike is not resolved.
Several petrol stations in Johannesburg and Pretoria ran out of fuel on Tuesday morning as scheduled deliveries failed to arrive, and by late morning stations elsewhere in the country had started to report low availability.
And, with both a petrol price increase and a holiday rush coming up, individual retailers are worrying.
"We had a truck due from Secunda last night and one from Langlaagte this morning," said a petrol station manager in Johannesburg on Wednesday, where pumps had been blocked off and motorists were being waved away. "We don't know where they are."
With an increase of around 20 cents per litre due on Wednesday, motorists would traditionally start to line up around the block by Tuesday evening to fill up their tanks, he said, "but all the guys around here are already dry".
In KwaZulu-Natal, one source told the Mail & Guardian, the situation was not yet severe but concerns were mounting about increased holiday demand. "When those people from Johannesburg want to start going back on the weekend we could have trouble. Our supplies are being held back so the petrol can be distributed more evenly."
Individual managers and even petrol companies are not allowed to talk to the media under agreed rules to control the flow of information but representatives from organisations, including the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) and the South African Fuel Retailers Association, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday morning. Some of them were apparently locked in meetings with the energy department. The department too could not be reached for comment.
Earlier this week Sapia said it had put contingency plans in place to ensure "minimal supply disruption" during the ongoing strike by transport trade unions but those the plans were confidential. It urged the public to remain calm.
Negotiations between the Road Freight Employers' Association and unions are only due to resume on Wednesday, with an offer still 3.5 percentage points short of the 12% increase drivers are demanding.
No agreement in freight strike
IOL News 29 September 2012
Johannesburg - The National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry on Saturday distanced itself from an agreement in the cash-in-transit sector.
“The parties therefore do not recognise this so-called agreement,” spokeswoman Karen Daniels said in a statement.
On Saturday morning the Road Freight Employers Association (RFEA) said the strike was over in the cash-in-transit sector.
“The majority union in the cash-in-transit (sector), last night signed an agreement,” RFEA spokeswoman Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht said in a statement.
“This means that CIT employees will cease participation in the strike with immediate effect and are returning to duty.”
She said the agreement that was signed on Friday night was similar to the offer that the RFEA tabled to the unions on September 22 before the strike started.
However, Daniels said that none of the parties in the freight and logistics industry mandated any of its members to conclude an agreement outside the formal process.
“The formal process is going ahead and the parties remain committed to the CCMA facilitated process,” said Daniels.
Brown-Engelbrecht added that the talks between the RFEA, unions, cash-in-transit sector's three companies and the Motor Transport Workers Unions continued on Saturday.
Freight logistics workers began their strike on Monday after employers and unions failed to reach an agreement on wages. Unions reverted to a 12 percent pay demand after rejecting a lower offer tabled by employers on Tuesday.
The RFEA had proposed a staggered increase of 8.5 percent effective from March, and a further 0.5 percent from September next year. - Sapa
Right To Know Day marked
I Africa.com 28 September 2012
Members of the Right2Know Campaign are marching to the Union Buildings on Friday, to voice their increasing concerns about the Protection of State Information Bill (POIB), dubbed the Secrecy Bill.
Today's initiative coincides with International Right to Know Day.
A small group of people have already gathered outside Schubert Park in central Pretoria to participate in the March.
Right2know member Julie Reid said today is recognised by activists as a day for freedom of information across the world.
She said the lobby group decided to mark the day by raising awareness globally around access to information and freedom of expression, particularly in South Africa.
The proposed bill aims to regulate the protection and dissemination of information belonging to the state, weighing state interests up against the public's constitutional right to freedom of expression and access to a transparent government.
Hometextile strike enters third week
SACTWU 27 September 2012
Workers in the hometextile manufacturing sector in the Western Cape have been on strike since 7 September 2012. Significantly this is the first time they have been on strike in the last decade or more.
Employers are offering a R35 per week increase. Workers are asking for R45. The bosses have rejected four alternative proposals put forward by the workers’ union, the SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU). “We are deeply disappointed by their arrogance and stubbornness to the struggle of their employees for a real and decent increase,” says Sheila van Rensburg, SACTWU’s Regional Organiser.
Workers in this sector make items such as bedding, duvets and comforters – which are sold in retailers around the country, including Woolworths, Game, Makro, @Home, Pep, Ackermans and Edgars. According to Bonita Loubser, SACTWU’s National Organising Secretary, “They labour so that others may rest easy, but their lives are characterised by hardship and discomfort”.
Most hometextile workers earn between R400 and R600 a week with which they have to support on average five people. Yet their expenses, according to a mini-survey by the SA Labour Research Institute, the research wing of SACTWU, average about R630 per family per week and include R220 spent on food and groceries, R115 on electricity and R110 on transport to work. It excludes spending on clothing, medicines and any leisure activities.
They are only able to make ends meet if another family member works or by borrowing heavily.
Often a worker is forced to choose between paying rent and buying food. Her boss, likely spends the equivalent of her week’s wage on one meal at a restaurant. We cannot accept this situation. As per the COSATU declaration, we condemn starvation wages and grotesque levels of inequality!
One might ask why these workers are striking over R10 per week? Why get up every morning to picket outside their factory for a R10 increase? Van Rensburg remarks “The workers do not want to strike for peanuts, but they are forced to because they earn peanuts and in their lives every peanut counts”.
Says Loubser, “SACTWU salutes the resilience of the striking workers in the face of hardship and condemns the reluctance of hometextile employers to accept workers’ barest demands”.
National Organising Secretary
For comment contact SACTWU’s Western Cape Regional Organiser, Sheila van Rensburg, on 021 4474570 or 082 7112563.
Mob assaults robbery suspect
IOL News 27 September 2012
Port Elizabeth - A Port Elizabeth community assaulted a man after he and two others were implicated in the killing of a Somalian national during an armed robbery, police said on Thursday.
Warrant Officer Dumile Gwavu said the Somalian man was shot and killed at his shop in Kwadwesi township on Wednesday evening.
Two men escaped the scene while one, 18, was caught by Somalian nationals and local residents, who beat him up before handing him over to police.
“The legs of the suspect were broken. (He is) in hospital under police guard,” said Gwavu.
He would face charges of murder and armed robbery. - Sapa
Miners in underground sit-in at Rustenburg chrome mine
Mail & Guardian 28 September 2012
Striking mine workers at the Samancor Chrome mine in Mooinooi were staging an underground sit-in to demand a R12 500 monthly salary.
Striking mine workers at the Samancor Chrome mine in Mooinooi, Rustenburg were staging an underground sit-in on Friday to demand a R12 500 monthly salary, said the Rustenburg Joint Strike Coordinating Committee.
"The workers vow to stay underground until the Samancor management meets their demands, which include a R12 500 basic salary," said committee spokesperson Mametlwe Sebei.
In a statement headlined, "Occupation of the mine in demand of a R12 500 basic salary", Sebei said about 400 miners have been underground with no food or water since Thursday.
He claimed that the ventilation had been switched off. "The mine management has ... closed the mine's water supply, in an apparent move to starve and dry [sic] out the workers ... we condemn this stance taken by management and urge them to go underground to table an offer."
He said the workers were also upset because the mine would not allow them to hold big gatherings.
"Yesterday, these workers decided to defy that and decided to gather underground at the mine."
Sebei said the organisation would be mobilising community members to gather in the afternoon and demand that the miners be given food and water. The workers at the chrome mine have vowed to stay underground until management meets their demands, said Sebei.
Additional to the R12 500 demand, workers also wanted a R1 500 sleep-out allowance and a R1 500 underground allowance.
Samancor was not immediately available to comment on the matter. – Sap
For immediate release: 400 striking mine workers occupy Samancor Mooinooi shaft
On behalf of the Rustenburg Joint Strike Coordinating Committee: 28 September 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Urgent alert to all media:
- Striking mine workers stage sit-in underground at chrome miner Samancor's Mooinooi shaft, Rustenburg
- Occupation of the mine in demand of a R12 500 basic salary
- 400 workers in sit in underground without food and water since Thursday morning
Workers of Samancor chrome mine at Mooinooi, Rustenburg, on Thursday September 27 re-joined the Rustenburg-wide joint strike action by halting production and staging a sit-in underground. The workers vow to stay underground until the Samancor management meets their demands, which include a R12 500 basic salary. So far, the action has not met with a favourable response from Samancor. The mine management has on the contrary closed the mine's water supply, in an apparent move to starve and dry out the workers. We condemn this stance taken by management and urge them to go underground to table an offer.
Workers at Samancor's Buffelspoort operations are also on strike, along with tens of thousands of mine workers across South Africa's platinum, gold and coal fields.
For more information, please contact Democratic Socialist Movement and Rustenburg Joint Strike Coordinating Committee members Mametlwe Sebei on 072 657 6750 or Samancor strike committee member Phillip Mntombi on 072 763 4031.
Rebone furniture factory fails to comply with the labour laws
Cosatu 28 September 2012
The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the North West has learned this morning, 28 September 2012, that about 326 workers employed by Rebone furniture factory in Mogwase have embarked on an unprotected strike.
COSATU is informed that this took place after the company has failed to comply with a number of labour laws, which include the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Basic Condition of Employment Act.
COSATU has learned that many workers have suffered occupational injuries to the point that some lost their lives, while other lost their limbs and others are now disabled due to the nature of injuries sustained while employed by the company.
COSATU has also learned that workers are getting a meagre wage of less than R300.00 a week and are made to work as temporary or casual workers for more than ten years.
COSATU is also informed that the company has moved the workers’ provident fund from one administrator to another without the consent of the workers and the workers are now demanding that the money be paid to them as they fear that it might be lost in the process.
COSATU is disappointed by the failure of the Department of Labour to make sure that the company complies with the labour laws and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. COSATU believes that this failure is caused by the fact that the inspectors of labour colludes with the company at the expense of the workers lives.
COSATU demands that the chief inspector of labour goes down to the company to inspect the condition of workers for the strike to be resolved speedily.
For more information contact Solly Phetoe COSATU North West Provincial Secretary at 082 304 4055
Truckers take to city streets
Sapa, Bongani Hans and Wendy Jasson da Costa (IOL News) 27 September 2012
Durban - Striking truck drivers set vehicles alight and intimidated drivers in Durban on Wednesday as the national pay strike by more than 20 000 workers in the freight transport sector continued.
Three people were admitted to hospital, said eThekwini metro police spokesman Superintendent Eugene Msomi.
A driver and his two assistants were injured when they tried to get away from striking drivers in Pinetown. The driver tried to drive away but hit a car and then a tree.
He had serious head wounds. His two assistants were slightly injured.
Msomi said the strikers had converged on Pinetown after about 500 had staged a peaceful march through the centre of Durban.
One group congregated in Solomon Mahlangu (Edwin Swales) Drive and South Coast Road where they intimidated drivers and stoned trucks
Another group was stationed at Warwick Avenue leading into Williams Road where they prevented truck drivers from entering the harbour at Maydon Road.
Isolated protests were reported in the harbour area and southern industrial areas, but there were no arrests.
Rob Mordaunt, owner of Allied Trucking, said the driver who on Tuesday had been badly injured by stone-throwers was in a stable condition in hospital after facial surgery.
Unions reverted to a 12 percent pay demand after rejecting a lower offer on Tuesday.
In Cape Town, striking truck drivers set alight two trucks in Nyanga, police said.
Three drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles and flee when they were attacked by striking drivers in Ekurhuleni.
Two others were badly assaulted.
A visit to various Durban food shops on Wednesday showed most were coping with the strike, but were concerned about what would happen if it went on much longer. The deli in Pick n Pay in Berea Centre was severely affected because it had run out of gas and staff could not cook.
Woolworths in Cowey Road and the Spar in Avondale Road in the Morningside area said their deliveries were continuing as usual, although sometimes they were late. Checkers in Davenport Centre said it had bought stock in advance.
Road Freight Employers’ Association spokeswoman Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht said the situation had not changed, with no further meetings scheduled between unions and employers at this stage.
On Tuesday, workers rejected the association’s proposal of a staggered increase of 8.5 percent effective from March, and a further 0.5 percent from next September.
Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said the union would step up the strike in an attempt to get the employers to the negotiating table.
- The Mercury
More truckers’ strike violence
IOL News 27 September 2012
Three people were hospitalised on Wednesday and several trucks burnt and stoned in violence plaguing the nationwide truckers’ strike, as negotiations deadlocked once more.
This after bosses and workers had earlier edged close to 9 percent but failed to reach agreement. Now positions have hardened, with the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) reverting to its demand for 12 percent and the employers to an offer of 8 percent.
Road Freight Employers’ Association spokeswoman Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht said no further meetings were scheduled between unions and employers.
Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said they would step up the strike in the road freight transport sector to get the employers to the negotiating table.
“Parties have reached a deadlock.“
In Cape Town, about 450 striking truck drivers set alight two trucks in Nyanga and pelted many more with stones, police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said on Wednesday. He said the truck drivers, who were on their way to deliver meat in the area, ran away.
“The New Eisleben Road and Emms Drive in Nyanga and the Lansdowne and Mew Way intersection in Khayelitsha were very dangerous,” Van Wyk said.
No arrests have been made as yet and police and metro police will patrol the Nyanga area and the N2 Freeway until the situation calms, he said.
eThekwini metro police spokesman Eugene Msomi said a driver and two assistants were injured when they tried to get away from striking drivers on Wednesday.
The driver tried to drive away from the protesters, but collided with a car before smashing into a tree.
He sustained serious head wounds, while his two assistants were lightly injured. The three were taken to hospital.
Msomi said the strikers had converged on Pinetown after about 500 had earlier staged a peaceful march through the centre of Durban.
Three drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles and flee when they were attacked, allegedly by striking drivers who also torched their vans and truck in Ekurhuleni.
Two others were allegedly badly assaulted with knobkierries and sjamboks when they failed to flee on time. They were later taken to hospital.
Spokesman for the Ekurhuleni Emergency Services, William Ntladi, said a two-ton truck was burnt just after 2pm in Germiston.
“The truck was just returning from delivering recycling material. The striking men allegedly stopped in front of it and the driver was forced to stop.
“There were three people inside and the driver escaped unharmed. The others, however, were assaulted with knobkierries and sjamboks by the men, who then torched the truck,” Ntladi said.
In the city centre, striking road freight employees were given 30 minutes to disperse from the Library Gardens after metro police declared their protest illegal.
The nationwide strike has more than 20 000 employees demanding a living wage.
Cape Times, Sapa
AngloGold operations halted due to strike
EyeWitness News 26 September 2012
JOHANNESBURG - Production at six AngloGold Ashanti mines were halted as miners joined a mass illegal protest.
Workers from the Kopanang mine in Carletonville downed tools last week Thursday and employees from the Vaal River region also joined in on the action on Tuesday.
The workers are asking for a salary of R12,500 a month, the same amount that workers from Lonmin's Marikana Mine were demanding during their six week strike.
AngloGold spokesperson Alan Fine said the company was trying to resolve the issue.
“We have not had any demands formally sent to us. We assume something will be conveyed to us in due course. The majority of workers have not reported for duty.”
Gold Fields, the world's fourth largest bullion producer, on said Tuesday workers had reneged on a deal to end a two-week strike at its KDC West operation and miners at its Beatrix mine had also downed tools.
Top platinum producer Anglo American Platinum also has operations shut because of the labour strife.
Fuelled in part by glaring income disparities, illegal strikes erupted in the platinum sector in the form of a bloody turf war between the NUM and the more militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).
The strikes have now spread to the gold sector but there is no evidence yet of Amcu involvement in the unrest.
Striking Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers have vowed to escalate their strike until their demand of a monthly salary of R16,000 is met.
Times Live 26 September 2012
"We have seven days to discuss the demands with the mine management," said Evans Ramokba, one of the workers' leaders.
"Ga re ye [we are not going]," workers shouted as they received a report back on a meeting their representatives held with mine management on Tuesday.
Ramokba said the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) had been given seven days to discuss the issues with management and would present their agreed solution next week.
"We are going there again on Tuesday, but our demand of R16,000 stands," he said.
Workers at Amplats' Rustenburg operations went on a wildcat strike two weeks ago.
Ramokba said their demand was not new to the company, as there were already people earning R16,000.
"We want the mine to pay us equally... that is why we demand the R16,000 before deductions."
"We are going to make sure that no wheel turns at the mine until your demands have been met," said worker spokesman Mametlwe Sebei.
He said they intended to march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to present the workers' grievances to President Jacob Zuma.
"We are going to march and we will announce the date in due course," he said.
Workers dispersed peacefully after the meeting. They had been bussed in from different shafts. Those from Jabula marched about 8km to Bleskop Stadium.
Court song and dance for Juju
Miranda Andrew and Malefane Mofokeng (IOL News) 26 September 2012
Limpopo - Supporters of expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema welcomed him into the Polokwane Regional Court on Wednesday with song and dance.
Malema's family and supporters stood up in court and sang loudly when he entered the dock.
They sang: “Asani mahloni” (We are not ashamed). Court officials did not stop the singing.
Suspended ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu, suspended secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and senior ANCYL members joined the dancing.
Earlier, journalists, photographers and television camera crews were kicked out of the court.
Despite applications by certain media houses to be allowed into the court, reporters were removed by officials who insisted the applications were for individuals and not crews.
Pandemonium broke out when the journalists were forcibly removed. One was dragged out by two security guards.
eNews Channel Africa reporter Karyn Maughan collapsed outside the court. Riot police were deployed inside the court to keep order.
Some journalists were later allowed back inside.
Supporters outside the court were adamant that Malema had done nothing wrong.
“There is nothing wrong (with what)... our leader did. If he did anything wrong why (is this case happening) now?” asked a supporter.
“It is because we are going to Mangaung. This is just a plan to sabotage our leader.”
Thulani Motsepe, 23, from Germiston said he took a taxi to Polokwane on Tuesday because he felt he needed to show the world that Malema was innocent.
Malema's supporters believed their presence would have an impact on the charges against him.
“I came all the way from the inner city branch in Johannesburg, just to prove that there is no case against my leader,” said 27-year-old Xolelwa Ngele.
A placard carried by supporters read: “hands-off our leader, he did nothing wrong”.
When Malema arrived at the court, some of his supporters ran towards the court fence, jostling to get a glimpse of him.
Lethabo Mandela, 57, from Seshego joined the crowed in song and dance. She said she was prepared to die for Malema.
“Julius, I love you and I will support you until I die. I'm prepared to die for you. Police can come and kill me,” said Mandela, who joined the ANC in 1984.
She said charges against Malema should be dropped, like the corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.
“If they can do it to Zuma they must also do it with Julius.”
The crowd sang songs in favour of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, while mocking Zuma.
Nearly 600 supporters gathered outside the court.
Roads leading to the court were closed on Wednesday and police were monitoring the situation.
There was barbed wire outside the court and police Nyalas were positioned in various places surrounding the court.
Hundreds of Malema supporters sang and danced outside the courthouse. The crowd was expected to swell as the day progressed.
Others sat on the pavement, and leaned against the walls after participating in a night vigil for Malema on Tuesday.
Provincial ANCYL spokesman Klaas Mabunda claimed the crowd numbered 14,000 at 3am.
“Most of them are not here now. They have gone to town to get food because they are hungry.”
Malema is accused of money laundering. The charge sheet lists him as accused number 10.
On Tuesday, four of his co-accused appeared in court and were granted bail of R40 000 each.
They are accused of fraud, corruption and money-laundering, relating to a R52 million tender awarded to On-Point Engineers. Four companies were also charged.
Malema handed himself over to the Polokwane police on Wednesday morning, before his court appearance, reported SABC. - Sapa
Gold Fields says KDC strike spreads to Beatrix
Reuters 25 September 2012
World No. 4 bullion producer Gold Fields said on Tuesday workers remained on an illegal strike at its KDC West operation in South Africa despite an agreement reached Friday and employees at its Beatrix mine had also downed tools.
"The strike is still on, they ignored the agreement reached Friday night. And the strike has now spread to Beatrix," spokesman Willie Jacobsz told Reuters. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; editing by David Dolan)
Workers strike at Coal of Africa's Mooiplaats colliery
Reuters 25 September 2012
Workers at Coal of Africa's (CoAL) Mooiplaats colliery in South Africa embarked on a legal strike over wages on Tuesday, the company said, the latest incident of industrial action to hit the country's mining sector.
CoAL's shares fell almost 18 percent after it said employees who are members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) had rejected the company's 22 percent pay rise offer, which included increases in wages and overall benefits.
Unlike a series of other strikes in South Africa's mining sector, the downing of tools at Mooiplaats is legal.
"Unfortunately the mediation process was not successful and resulted in the workers proceeding with strike action today. Consequently the operations at the colliery have stopped," CoAL said in a statement.
CoAL said 176 of the 368 workers directly employed at Mooiplaats are NUM members. The colliery produces 6,000 run of mine tonnes of coal per day, it added.
The action comes against the backdrop of a wave of illegal strikes including a bloody 6-week stoppage at world No. 3 platinum producer Lonmin which unleashed violence that killed 45 people last month.
Illegal strike action is currently taking place at mines operated by Anglo American Platinum, the world's top producer of the precious metal, and AngloGold Ashanti.
Striking S. African miners start talks with Amplats
Yahoo News 25 September 2012
Striking miners and Anglo American Platinum bosses entered talks Tuesday over a wage dispute that has shut down South Africa operations at the world's top platinum producer, an official said.
"We expect Anglo American to come with something on the table and if they are unable to do that, the strike will continue and it will be the start of the (formal) strike," said Gaddhafi Mdoda, a workers representative.
Amplats workers have ditched their labour unions and are representing themselves at the talks.
Mdoda said talks between workers and bosses, brokered by a government-backed arbitrator, were discussing a wage claim.
Striking workers were gathered peacefully by the mineshaft waiting for updates from their representatives.
Police spokesman Dennis Adriao said there had been no reports of violence by the striking workers outside the Amplats operations.
The company had threatened to dismiss the miners, who have been on a two-week wildcat strike, if they missed work on September 19. Since then however, they have pushed back the deadline several times.
The latest deadline was set for last Monday evening.
Amplats accounts for 38 percent of global platinum production, providing a resource that is key in everything from vehicles to jewelry. It is the subsidiary of the country's largest private sector employer, Anglo American.
Workers are pushing for at least the 11-22 percent raises that Lonmin miners at the nearby Marikana mine received after a deadly strike that left 46 dead, 35 of whom were killed by police.
There have been fears the Lonmin deal set a dangerous precedent, as the workers secured the deay by bypassing recognised union structures.
The country's labour movement has been formalised for decades and, in theory at least, the unions had exclusive negotiating rights with employers.
Wildcat strikes have already spread to other gold, platinum and chrome mines, including world number one Anglo American Platinum, as well as Gold Fields.
Workers at AngloGold Ashanti, near the town of Orkney some 180 kilometres (around 110 miles) southwest of Johannesburg have also gone on strike.
"Workers at one of our mines in South Africa, at Kopanang mine, have gone on strike. It started last night and is continuing today," spokesman Alan Fine told AFP.
Management had not yet received their demands, he added.
There are concerns that the waves of strikes in the mining industry, the backbone of the country's economy, could damage investor confidence.
Last week President Jacob Zuma said stoppages in the mining sector in the past nine months had cost the economy close to 4.5 billion rand ($534 million, 415 million euros).
AngloGold Ashanti employs around 5,000 workers and produced four percent of AngloGold's total output for the first half of the year.
S.Africa gold miners refuse to call off strikes
Yahoo News 25 September 2012
AFP – 45 minutes agoEmailPrintStriking Gold Fields workers in South Africa on Tuesday rejected a deal to end a 17-day wildcat action that has crippled production, as strikes continued at competitor AngloGold.
The workers spurned a pact reached on Friday between the leading gold miner and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which should have seen miners to return underground on Tuesday morning.
"Nobody came to work," said Gold Fields vice president Willie Jacobsz.
Gold Fields is the world's number four producer of the precious metal.
The firm's KDC West mine, which employs 15,000 people near Johannesburg, has been crippled since September 9, slowing production by 1,400 ounces of gold a day -- worth around $2.5 million at current market prices.
"There was an agreement on Friday that they would commit to return to work but as we said over the weekend we could only tell this morning once they arrived, now they did not turn up for work this morning," said Jacobsz.
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) coordinator for Gold Fields Kenneth Buda confirmed the stayaway.
"There are no changes, workers are still on strike," he said.
Staff rejected the agreement over demands for a base salary of 12,500 rands ($1,520, 1,177 euros) -- which has become a rallying call on strike-hit mines -- and the equalisation of salaries and benefits, he said.
"They said they can't go back to work until those two issues are addressed," said Buda.
The unrest has spiralled out of a deadly six week stand-off at Lonmin's platinum mine near Rustenburg, which killed 46 people, to platinum and gold producers.
The world's number three gold firm AngloGold Ashanti on Tuesday said its workers were still on strike at its Kopanang mine around 180 kilometres (around 110 miles) southwest of Johannesburg.
"The situation hasn't changed," said company spokesman Alan Fine.
"We haven't had formal contacts with the strikers at this stage."
The mine employs around 5,000 workers and produced four percent of AngloGold's total output for the first half of the year.
NCape learners to go back to school
Michael Mokeona 25 September 2012
Kimberley - Thousands of learners who have been prevented from attending school by protesting community members in various parts of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District (JTGD) are expected to go back to school on Tuesday after months of languishing at home.
This comes after Friday’s meeting between the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela and various communities in the JTGD.
Madonsela’s spokeswoman, Kgalalelo Masibi, said this weekend that after their successful meetings with the protesting communities in the JTGD, an undertaking was made to allow children to go back to school while dealing with the community’s grievances.
Several community members in various villages of JTGD confirmed to the DFA on Monday that all affected children will be allowed to go back to school on Tuesday after Madonsela’s intervention.
“We are pleased by Madonsela’s involvement in resolving our problem. Thus far she is the only person who has listened to us without judging us for preventing children to go to school,” one resident said.
“She has not only listened to us but she has also restored hopes in us that the road that we are demanding will be built.”
Madonsela was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Godfrey Olifant, who gave the community a report back on a commitment by Sishen Iron Ore Community Development Trust to construct 40 kilometres of the 130 kilometres of the tarred road the community want prioritised.
Masibi said that last week’s meeting also saw commitments on the need for feedback to be given to the community regarding sourcing of the funding for the prioritised 130 kilometres of the 720 kilometres of the roads that the community has been engaging government on.
She said that on Tuesday Madonsela will visit Laxey village near Kuruman where she will give feedback to the community of JTGD on their demands.
“Madonsela has advised the community that government has committed itself to do everything possible to source funds from various institutions such as business, municipalities and conditional grants to realise the rolling out of the road infrastructure.
“The community has also been advised that the provincial government will be indicating the actual commitments at the meeting we will have with them on Tuesday (today).
“After meeting with the community, Madonsela will engage with the police management to discuss various allegations made by protesting residents. Among some of the allegations made are that of police brutality and unlawful arrests of protesting residents,” Masibi stated.
Masibi added that after the meetings in Kuruman, Madonsela will on Wednesday make her way to Olifantshoek to meet with protesting residents who have for months shut down schools in the town demanding that their mayor be fired from her office.
The leader of the protesting community members, Boitumelo Lekgadi, said that they will welcome Madonsela to the town but warned that if she failed to remove the mayor, schools will not resume. “Schools will not be opened just because Madonsela is coming to Olifantshoek. Normal schooling will resume once the mayor has been removed,” Lekgadi stated.
The Department of Roads and Public Works in the Province said its priority is to obtain R1.3 billion needed to fund the construction of the road that the residents of JTGD are demanding.
Diamond Fields Advertising
Abuse suspect beaten by residents
IOL News 24 September 2012
Eastern Cape - A man suspected of child abuse is in hospital after being beaten by angry residents in Kwa Nobuhle, Uitenhage, Eastern Cape police said on Monday.
On Saturday the father of a five-year-old boy noticed he was missing, Lt-Col Priscilla Naidu said.
The father and local residents began searching for the child and later found him walking with the man.
At first the community was grateful to him, but when he left the child accused the man of sexually assaulting him.
The boy's father chased and caught the man and an angry crowd attacked him.
The boy and the man were hospitalised.
The man would appear in court soon, Naidu said. - Sapa
Fracking protesters take message to Parliament
IOL News September 23 2012
Anti-fracking protesters gathered at Parliament, calling on all South Africans to join them in the stand to prevent “polluting oil and gas industries destroying our people’s land and scarce water resources for their corporate profit”.
More than 100 people protested, with organiser Marina Louw leading the demand for “a renewable, sustainable energy future for all”.
On Saturday was unofficially declared Global Anti-fracking Day, and protests around the world were backed by Sean Ono Lennon, son of Yoko Ono and the late Beatle John Lennon.
Earlier this month, the government lifted its 14-month moratorium on fracking, paving the way for exploration drilling to scout for shale gas resources.
Exploration areas now cover six of SA’s nine provinces.
Last week, the Department of Mineral Resources released the full report on the government’s investigation into fracking.
But the 84-page document, written by Gideon Steyl of the chemistry department of the University of the Free State (UFS); Gerrit van Tonder, of the Institute for Groundwater Studies, also at UFS; and Luc Chevallier of the Council for Geoscience, urges the government to tread carefully.
Meanwhile, Lennon became so enraged with a woman on Twitter who called him and his mother hypocritical that he told her: “You are an argument for abortion.”
Lennon, 36, and his mother recently founded Artists Against Fracking, a group that campaigns against the extraction of natural gas and petroleum by fracturing rock. The group and its cause have attracted major backing in liberal Hollywood.
Last month, Lennon wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he said: “Surely the voice of the ‘sensible centre’ would ask to stop all hydraulic fracturing so that our water, our lives and our planet could be protected and preserved for generations to come.”
Yesterday, Treasure Karoo Action Group chairman Jonathan Deal said: “We are not convinced that fracking is the only way for the government to obtain resources. We have been asking for transparency from various departments, but we have not heard from them.”
He said a decision on fracking would have to include the views of tourism experts, doctors and economists. It would have to be “a more inclusive process so the best possible decision can be made. Once this type of process is established, we should look at the outcomes of fracking, and then make the final decision.”
Deal also expressed fears that the government’s judgment had been clouded by the promise of big money by major oil companies.
Bishop Geoff Davies of the SA Faith Communities Environment Institute said the money promised for fracking should be used to develop natural energy facilities.
“The sun shines every day upon us and the wind blows through us every day, so why can we not use these natural resources for our future? Instead they want to destroy our natural land, and poison our water,” said Davies.
Homeless resist removal bid
Vivian Attwood 23 September 2012
A directive issued to metro police officers on Saturday to remove a large group of illegal foreign and local homeless people from public ground alongside the railway line in Williams Road, Albert Park, dissolved into chaos when the crowd resisted.
What had been planned as an orderly exercise rapidly turned into a pitched battle during which any object at hand was hurled at police, who in turn used batons to bring the situation under control.
Durban businessman Louis Jacobs was driving past when he got caught in the mêlée.
“It was hair-raising and came out of the blue,” he said.
“One moment it was a regular Saturday morning scene, with commuters going about their errands; then suddenly there was a wave of panicked people, police cars pulling up with lights flashing, cars swerving all over the place and people risking getting knocked down as they scrambled to get away.
“Not a great way to start the weekend, I can tell you.”
When the Sunday Tribune arrived several minutes later, an angry crowd was still hurling insults at the police in various languages.
A patch of open ground was strewn with broken glass. Several badly injured people were being attended to by a metro policeman and woman.
“Yes, you take pictures, and show people the truth,” shouted an indigent woman who stood watching the bleeding protesters.
Two men and a woman suffered head injuries, allegedly inflicted by police batons.
One man lay on the pavement, his shirt drenched with blood from a deep wound on his forehead.
By now the crowd was re-grouping and appeared to be about 200-strong.
The younger men strode to the fore and began yelling provocatively at police, one teen urchin doing lewd pelvis thrusts to taunt the men in blue before dashing to safety behind an electricity substation.
The group was finally brought under control after a senior metro policeman, whose name was not provided to the Sunday Tribune, walked among the protesters, speaking in a controlled voice and calming frayed tempers.
The stretch of open ground is frequented by men and women, many of whom do not have residency permits. An officer said vulnerable youngsters reduced to living on the street often integrated with the group because it offered them some protection.
“Many of these people live on smash-and-grab and petty theft because they cannot get work in the formal sector without documentation,” said a police officer.
The tension was eased by a mishap that will take some explaining by the driver of a police van who left the vehicle unattended, seemingly without fully engaging the handbrake.
The van rolled into a flatbed police truck.
Metro police spokesman Senior Superintendent Eugene Msomi said railway police had been moving vagrants off the tracks when violence erupted.
“One foreigner was shot and wounded by railway guards and four other squatters were injured in the confrontation.”
Protesters stone truckers
IAfrica.com 25 September 2012
Striking truck drivers in the Johannesburg CBD threw stones at passing trucks on Tuesday, metro police said.
"The trucks were passing Beyers Naude square, where truck drivers are protesting," Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.
"Companies are requested to tell their people not to send any trucks into the Joburg CBD in order to avoid further violence and damage to trucks."
Earlier, the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) said over 20 000 employees in the road freight sector were on strike over their pay increase on Tuesday.
Employees in the road freight sector - which includes truck drivers - were demanding a 12 percent increase. Their employers had offered 8.5 percent.
Satawu said the strike came about when wage negotiations deadlocked after protracted discussions since early June at the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI).
Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said no marches were planned for Tuesday, but that workers would gather at Beyers Naude Gardens, opposite the Johannesburg Library, for news.
Notice was given for a strike from Monday, but the effects were not immediately visible because it was a public holiday.
Minnaar said traffic was being diverted from Simmonds street and Pritchard street as well as at the intersection of Harrison and Pritchard streets and President and Sauer streets.
Satawu, a Congress of SA Trade Unions affiliate, is the biggest union in the four-union strike, with an estimated 28,000 members in the road freight sector, said Masoga.
Members ranged from drivers delivering fuel to workers associated with a truck network which travelled around the country or crossed borders into neighbouring countries for other deliveries.
The other unions are the Transport and Allied Workers' Union, the Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union SA and the Motor Transport Workers' Union.
The Road Freight Association, which represents employers, told its members on its website: "Although unions are consulting members on the proposal, the strike notice stands, so employees can strike..."
Masoga said the parties in the bargaining council were expected to meet at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration at 3pm on Tuesday for further negotiations.
Satawu said the unions were aiming for an inflation-related wage settlement of 12 percent across the board, for implementation in 2013 and 2014.
They also wanted an equal increase for workers classified under the council's extended bargaining unit.
28,000 South Africa truck drivers on strike: union
Joe Klamar 25 September 2012
South Africa truck drivers and other transport workers launched a strike for higher wages Tuesday, a union spokesman said, amid concerns that the standstill could cause fuel shortages.
"Today is the first day of the official strike," said the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) spokesman Vincent Masoga.
"We represent over 28,000 members...," he told AFP, adding, all of them would be "downing tools."
Masoga said truckers were seeking a 12-percent increase for 2013 and 2014, but would not settle for less than nine.
He would not confirm local media reports that employers had offered nine percent.
Workers would decide on the new wage offer on Tuesday, said Masoga.
"They are striking but they are also going to be giving us the feedback of the offer today (Tuesday)."
Meanwhile the country's petroleum industry association made emergency fuel supply plans "to ensure the areas that are affected can still be managed to supply," spokesman Avhapfani Tshifularo told radio's Eyewitness News.
South Africa has been hit by a wave of strikes in recent weeks, including a miners strike that left 46 dead amid violent confrontations with police.
Apolitical truth about civil disobedience
Cape Town shack dwellers' anger is about a lack of service delivery and is not politically motivated.
Over much of this past winter, communities in shack settlements across Cape Town took to the streets in some of South Africa's most active civil-disobedience protests since 1994.
The protests gave rise to a great deal of commentary and finger-pointing. I was disturbed by the double standard of the political rhetoric of politicians and some nongovernmental organisations in the way they expected the protesters to react in response to the violence the state and police subjects them to on a daily basis.
I was also concerned about the way these bigger political players moralised the debate, which shifted the focus from the perfectly legitimate issues of service delivery and meaningful engagement raised by the protesters to a soap opera in which analysis was replaced by empty electoral hyperbole.
Three weeks ago, I met community members from one of the protesting shack settlements, one of those that politicians were holding up as a key example on the issue. Talking to the committee members of Sweet Home Farm, an informal settlement of 15 000 people in the Philippi area, revealed a yawning chasm between what the official players are saying about Sweet Home and the realities on the ground.
I began to research Sweet Home, visiting the settlement a number of times and talking to committee members, ordinary residents, members of a rival committee and anyone who knew anything about the social and political make-up of the area.
My findings were shocking. Not least because it showed that Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille was wrong when she insinuated that the ANC Youth League was involved in co-ordinating the protests at the settlement.
They were also surprising because they showed that neither the youth league nor any other organisation affiliated to the ANC was a participant in the protests. In fact, community members were not only protesting against the City of Cape Town and its Democratic Alliance
(DA) representative, they were also taking to the streets because they were angry with their ANC councillor and his relationship with a local henchman.
My discussions with people on the ground quickly revealed that the protests were not instigated or organised by any political parties but, rather, were the result of the shack dwellers' indignation at the way in which their dignity was routinely affronted by politicians and government officials. Even the residents who vote for the DA in elections were protesting and they were doing so with full knowledge of the political contradiction of such actions.
As Nobanazi, a single mother of three, made clear to me when I interviewed her: "We are not fighting because we want to mess things. We are fighting because we are struggling. Inside our hearts there is no peace."
Nobanzi is not a politician, a revolutionary, an "anarchist" or even a "hooligan". She also does not condone the destruction of property. And yet she participated in the mass civil disobedience, which blockaded roads and destroyed traffic lights, because she felt that this was the only way she and others could get the attention of government.
Here is a list of some of the reasons why Sweet Home residents believe they have been forced to protest in a manner that seeks to cause disruption by, for example, blockading roads and destroying property:
Their garbage is not taken away every week as it is in other parts of the city, leaving the settlement extremely dirty, unattractive and unhygienic; Most of their toilets are broken, leaking or otherwise unsanitary; The homes of only some residents have been connected to electricity; The open-air sewage canals built by the city are unsanitary and unsafe for children to play in. A nearby business has blocked the canal, with the result that raw sewage floods into homes when it rains; The unsanitary conditions are a threat to the health of residents, particularly children and the elderly; They are angry at Ward 80 councillor Thembinkosi Pupa for not working with them to meet their needs and for ignoring residents when they attempt to engage on issues; and They are angry at the mayor and other City of Cape Town officials for ignoring them and failing to engage meaningfully with the community on urgent development issues.
It is clear that the protesters are responding to the structural violence of the state, to the structural violence of a society that hates the poor, that denies them livelihoods and leaves them landless, homeless and living in appalling conditions.
South African society shoots protesters already damaged by poverty, massacres workers already victimised by their bosses and is so unabashedly violent that it calls for yet further militarisation in our workplaces and in our communities.
As they did at Marikana, the police have surrounded Sweet Home and other shack settlements such as Barcelona, Europe and BM Section to deter future road blockades.
Yet they cannot stop all shack dwellers from taking to the streets all the time. In fact, just last week, shack dwellers from the small railway town of Touws River took to the streets and blockaded the N1 freeway for much of the day.
In Cape Town alone, there are hundreds of shack settlements whose residents are fed up with the conditions in which they live. Any one of them could rise up in protest at any moment.
A state that treats the most oppressed people in society as if they were some sort of internal enemy, funded by a mysterious third force, is a state that is completely failing to address the gross inequalities in our society. Such an approach to governance shows that South Africa is engaging in a new kind of colonialism.
The conspiracy theories that NGOs and politicians peddle to try to explain away the rising tide of protest in Cape Town have little to do with reality and are a further affront to the dignity of the city's poorest residents.
Neocolonial policing methods may contain protest here and there, but they are not capable of stopping it altogether.
Only a response by government that acknowledges the dignity of poor black South Africans and actually attempts to work with them to address their grievances can possibly stem the tide of these protests. Until then, De Lille will merely be using the police to play musical chairs with protesting shack dwellers.
Zuma authorises army deployment in Marikana
Mail & Guardian 20 September 2012
The South African National Defence Force has officially been deployed in Marikana from September 14 until next year January.
In a statement on Thursday, the presidency said the soldiers would support the police "in the prevention and combating of crime as well as the maintenance of law and order in the Marikana area, North West province and other areas around the country where needed".
Asked which "other areas" the presidency had in mind, spokesperson Mac Maharaj said this could be any place where soldiers would be needed.
Cape Town, where the military was deployed last year, was one of the areas under consideration, he said.
"It's based on the pattern of crime incidents in the festive season period," Maharaj said.
The deployment to Marikana was needed because "there had been some problems too" in the area.
"The police have had to attend to it. Wherever they need to have support [from SANDF], that support will remain available," Maharaj said.
He said while the military would support police, "the primary function would remain in the hands of the police".
The deployment would last from September 14 until January 31 next year.
The Star newspaper on Thursday reported that a backdated notice had been issued by the ministry of defence that would legalise the deployment of soldiers to Marikana.
The notice was published in the Government Gazette on Tuesday and signed by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
The date on the signature was September 14.
The paper cited the Defence Act as stating that a notice of a troop deployment had to be made in the Gazette within 24 hours. – Sapa
Uncertainty over Amplats permit
Business news 21 September 2012
Rustenburg - Uncertainty surfaced on Friday on whether striking Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers had permission to hold a public meeting at a stadium near Rustenburg.
Worker leader Tebogo Lebeke said the Rustenburg municipality had given the nod for the strikers to meet at Bleskop stadium, but the mine disputed this.
Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said: “Bleskop Stadium is private and belongs to Anglo American... the municipality would not have given approval for a property that does not belong to them.”
Lebeke said the permission was obtained on Thursday afternoon.
“The permit allows us to hold a meeting. We are going to assemble at the Bleskop Stadium to update workers.”
The workers would get together on Monday to discuss strategy ahead of another round of wage talks with the mine management the next day.
Lebeke said a rally at Bleskop stadium on Wednesday would be used to report to workers on the state of negotiations.
Sithole said the company had put up notices at the stadium that anyone wanting to use the venue needed to apply to Amplats.
“No one applied.”
Amplats' workers went on strike last Tuesday demanding a salary increase of R17 000, but were prepared to accept R12 500.
The situation was tense at Sondela, near Amplats' Jabula Shaft, in Rustenburg on Friday.
Roads remained barricaded with stones, and residents burnt down any remaining hawkers' stalls. Most of the stalls were burnt down on Thursday, when residents also blocked the road linking the informal settlement to the mine, and other internal roads with rocks and burning tyres.
Workers said this was to prevent the police from gaining entry to the informal settlement.
They accused the police of shooting randomly when they dispersed mineworkers gathering illegally at the nearby sports field.
Amplats said on Thursday that the strike was illegal and it had given its workers notice that they were required to return to work that day.
“All the company's Rustenburg Process Operations and the Bathopele mine have resumed full production,” Sithole said.
“The company continues to be disappointed with the low turnout rate at four of its Rustenburg mines, which are currently reporting less than 20 percent attendance.”
Sithole said a higher police visibility and action had created an environment conducive for workers to return.
“As already stated, our employees have until night-shift today 1/8Thursday 3/8, to return to work, failing which legal avenues will be pursued,” she said.
She said Amplats' Rustenburg mining operations were already under considerable economic pressure and the illegal strike was making operations even less viable.
Captain Dennis Adriao said police would maintain a high visibility and presence to monitor the wildcat strike situation in the platinum belt.
A strike started at Lonmin's Marikana mine on August 10, and has since spread to other mines. - Sapa
Police deny dragging striker
IOL News 21 September 2012
Rustenburg - Reports of a striking worker at Anglo Platinum's (Amplats) mine in Rustenburg being hit and dragged by a police armoured car were false, police said on Friday.
“Some media are reporting that the alleged strike leader (at Amplats) informed them that a striker on Wednesday was run over by a police armoured car and dragged several metres,” said Captain Dennis Adriao.
“He also alleged to media that the man died in hospital. From the police, we have no such record of such an incident.”
Adriao said police had contacted hospitals and mortuaries, but none had known anything about the man, or the alleged incident.
“We obviously encourage anybody that has been injured in anyway by police action to either report it to us or to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.”
He said it was unfortunate that unsubstantiated reports that had not been verified were published and distributed world wide.
“(It) portrays a very negative and further damaging image of the SAPS and the country.”
On Friday, the leaders of striking Amplats workers said they had been granted permission to hold a public meeting.
“We have permission to hold a meeting. The permit allows us to hold a meeting from yesterday (Thursday), and on Wednesday we are going to assemble at the Bleskop Stadium to update workers,” said Tebogo Lebeke.
He said permission was granted by the municipality on Thursday afternoon. A meeting was planned for Monday in Sondela, and no other meetings were planned for the weekend.
Amplats' workers went on strike last Tuesday, demanding a salary of R17 000, but saying they were prepared to accept R12 500.
The situation was tense at Sondela, near Amplats' Jabula Shaft, in Rustenburg on Friday.
Roads were still barricaded with stones and residents burnt down any remaining hawkers' stalls.
Amplats said on Thursday that the strike was illegal and it had given its workers notice that they were required to return to work that day.
“All the company's Rustenburg Process Operations and the Bathopele mine have resumed full production,” spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said in a statement at the time.
“The company continues to be disappointed with the low turnout rate at four of its Rustenburg mines, which are currently reporting less than 20 percent attendance,” she said.
Sithole said the increase in police visibility and action had created an environment conducive for workers to return.
“As already stated, our employees have until night-shift today (Thursday), to return to work, failing which legal avenues will be pursued.”
She said Amplats' Rustenburg mining operations were already under considerable economic pressure and the illegal strike was making operations even less viable.
The strike started at Lonmin's Marikana mine on August 10, and has since spread to other mines. - Sapa
Road blockaded near Amplats mine
IOL News 20 September 2012
Residents of Sondela, near Rustenburg, blockaded the road leading to the Jabula shaft of the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine on Thursday.
They put burning tyres, rocks and other objects on the road to prevent the police from gaining access into the informal settlement.
They said the police had fired rubber bullets and teargas at the striking mine workers, and that the community had also been affected by the shooting.
Resident Marry Matladi said the police fired rubber bullets and teargas at people who were not part of a gathering near the sports field.
“When they (mineworkers) ran to into their shacks, police followed them and fired randomly into our shacks,” she said.
She said residents then barricaded the road. Hawkers' stalls were also burnt down.
“We are not on strike. Why should the police shoot at us?”
Residents also went to the Bana Pele Primary School, and asked school management to let pupils go home, but they were told the children were writing exams.
Pupils were later seen walking through the smoke from the burning tyres.
Miner Nelson Moyikwa said workers would not return to work until their demands had been met.
“We are striking for money, we want the money from the mine and not the police. They should leave us alone in our quest to fight 1/8for 3/8 what is right for us,” he said.
Worker leader Tebogo Lebeke said the miners had been on strike since last Tuesday, in demand of a monthly salary of R17,000.
“We have met management before, and negotiations were expected to continue next week on Tuesday, but we received an SMS from the mines, telling workers to return to work.”
The text message sent to workers stated that conditions were conducive for them to return to work.
Lebeke said: “We are not going back to work until our demands have been met.”
North West premier Thandi Modise was expected to meet Angloplats management in an attempt to found a solution to end the strike.
Her spokesman Lesiba Moses Kgwele said the meeting would be held in Phokeng, outside Rustenburg, on Thursday at 2pm. - Sapa
UPDATE 1-Lonmin miners return to work, unrest rumbles on
Reuters 20 September 2012
Lonmin miners return to work in jubilant mood
* Amplats issues ultimatum to wildcat strikers
* Amplats protesters burn tyres, barricade road (Recasts, adds details)
By Helen Nyambura-Mwaura
MARIKANA, South Africa, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Thousands of miners at Lonmin's Marikana operations in South Africa returned work on Thursday, ending a six-week strike in which 46 people died as nearby mines faced strikes by workers demanding similar raises.
Striking workers from Anglo American Platinum's (Amplats) Rustenburg mine barricaded a street with burning tyres as a police helicopter hovered overhead and armed officers backed by armoured vehicles and water cannons were on stand-by close by.
Amplats, the world's biggest platinum producer, is threatening legal action if the wildcat strikers do not return to work on Thursday.
"We'll buy 20 litres of petrol and if police get violent, we'll make petrol bombs and throw them at them," said Lawrence Mudise, an Amplats rock driller, holding up a sign demanding 16,700 rand ($2,000) in monthly pay.
Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse a crowd of men carrying spears and machetes in a squatter camp near the site a day earlier. Continued...
Union pickets SANDF base
IOL News 19 September 2012
Oudtshoorn, Western Cape - A picket was held outside the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) base in Oudtshoorn on Wednesday, with members of the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) protesting over conditions at the base, the union said.
Spokesman Pikkie Greeff said the union was holding a peaceful picket because the military had failed to respond to concerns related to “dire management practices” allegedly taking place at the base.
In a statement, he claimed there had been no investigation into recent deaths at the base, or if they had been investigated, the results had not been made public.
In August, a woman recruit committed suicide at the base. At the time Sandu claimed the suicide note made reference to humiliation by base management.
SANDF spokesman Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga criticised the union for “trying to gain popularity 1/8by 3/8 using the death of a person”.
“I don't know where they got it that this investigation would be made public, or the timeline.”
Greeff said the organisers of the picket were threatened with military arrest.
“He (the commanding officer) has even taken the ridiculous step of unlawfully ordering all members at his base that they are prohibited from attending any Sandu meeting outside working hours and outside the military base...
“By issuing these illegal orders and clamping down with power abuse on constitutional rights, Sandu's complaints about the Oudtshoorn base (are) simply being justified.”
Mabanga said any threat to security at an SANDF base would be dealt with.
“If anybody comes close to any SANDF institution to picket or toyi-toyi we will deal with those issues.”
He warned soldiers not to allow themselves to be misled.
“They themselves volunteered to join the SANDF, and when they joined they committed themselves to the rules that govern the SANDF members.”
These were the Constitution, the Defence Act, the Military Supplementary Discipline Matters Act, and the Code of Conduct.
They were also bound by any other department of defence policy, as well as the SANDF's directives and instructions.
“Taking into consideration the social and economic situation in South Africa and the high rate of unemployment, (there are) people - individuals and unions - trying to gain popularity... and trying to mislead South Africans.
“People must not try to incite or mobilise (soldiers) or undermine military discipline and the authority of the SANDF.”
Last Wednesday, expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema met with around 60 soldiers at the Lenasia Recreation Centre in Johannesburg.
There he criticised the country's political leadership and accused them of ignoring the needs of SANDF members, including not reinstating the hundreds of soldiers put on special leave for protesting at the Union Buildings in 2009. - Sapa
Hundreds march in Jeffreys Bay over service delivery
SABC 19 September 2012
Hundreds of residents from informal settlements in Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape have marched on the town's municipality, protesting about service delivery. They are questioning the housing plans of the municipality, saying the municipality wants to cut the provision of 1500 houses by more than half. This the second protest in the town this past week.
Last week the ratepayers association protested against the way the municipality is being run.
They want houses, proper sanitation and a better run municipality. The community is also complaining about potholes and say the stop-gap measures the municipality currently employs is not good enough.
Community representative, Mzwandile Yali says their next move is to give the municipality 7 days to respond. The municipality says it is not cutting back on housing delivery and there seems to be confusion about how the limited sites will be used.
Municipal manager Sydney Fadi says they only have 400 sites which will be made smaller to get 750 sites. Houses will be built on top of one another to reach the 1500 quota. The community also want a high school to be built in the area.
Jubilant miners say yes to pay deal
News24 19 September 2012
Johannesburg - Striking miners at Lonmin [JSE:LON] in the North West have accepted a 22% pay rise and will return to work on Thursday, worker leader Zolisa Bodlani said.
Reporting back to the workers at the platinum mine in Marikana on Tuesday, Bodlani said the increase would be applied across the board.
Rock drill operators would now get R11 078 a month before deductions, production team leaders R13 022, and operators R9 883.
Workers would further receive a once-off bonus of R2 000.
President of the SA Council of Churches, Bishop Jo Seoka, who was also part of the workers' negotiations, said the offer was closer to the R12 500 the workers had been demanding since they went on strike on 10 August.
"We are happy with the latest offer; it is better than what the workers got before they went on strike."
The negotiators were expected to meet mine management later on Tuesday to sign the agreement. They would address workers at 10:00 local time on Wednesday to report back on the signing of the agreement.
Workers were happy with the latest offer. They whistled and jumped for joy, telling the negotiators to sign the deal.
Cops fire teargas at Amplats protesters
News 24 19 September 2012
Rustenburg - Police have fired teargas at a crowd of protesters in a township near a mine owned by Anglo American Platinum near Rustenburg, the company said.
"I can confirm that the SAPS (South African Police Service) used teargas to disperse an illegal gathering at Sondela informal settlement," spokesperson Mpumi Sithole said in an e-mail to Reuters.
COMMUNIQUE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: CORPORATE RELATIONS DIVISION UPDATE: PROTEST ACTION ON THE EDGEWOOD CAMPUS
19 September 2012
Dear Staff and Students
The student protest action on the Edgewood campus is continuing this morning. Students are reminded that the court interdict prohibiting illegal protest action is in place and any breach of the interdict will result in disciplinary measures being instituted.
Students are urged to follow the correct channels of communication to address grievances. Five students were arrested this morning for breaching the terms of the interdict.
The University’s Risk Management Services and SAPS are monitoring the situation on campus. Management remains committed to addressing student grievances through the appropriate structures and procedures that are in place.
Executive Director: Corporate Relations Division
Village may end service protests
Sowetan 18 September 2012
Tafelkop has been hit by several protests to demand the supply of water. Three weeks ago, 19-year-old protester Ben Mawela was shot and killed by a taxi driver who was trying to drive through a throng of marching protesters . Police are still looking for the driver .
The meeting, which took place on Sunday, also resulted in the signing of a "developmental pact", that is expected to ensure that all parties agree to certain "key" social services projects in the village.
The signatories were Kgoshi Boleu Rammupudu III, representatives of the Tafelkop Residents Committee, Sekhukhune district executive mayor Mogobo "Shoes" Magabe, and the mayor of the Elias Motsoaledi local municipality, Wendy Matemane.
A task team was established to look into problems affecting the area.
Headed by Magabe, the team is also due to address water shortages in the area.
"The meeting agreed that water would be provided to residents, starting from today (Monday)," Magabe said.
He said the task team would also investigate why there were problems with the supply of water, but said preliminary findings were that some pipes in the area needed to be fixed.
"We will make sure that old valves are fixed and reservoirs are filled with water," Magabe said.
"We will release water throughout the Tafelkop area in order to detect any leakages in the pipes. Faults in the reservoirs will also be attended to immediately."
The process of releasing water started yesterday and water was available to large parts of Tafelkom, although some parts that were affected by faults in the pipes and reservoirs, had not yet received any water.
According to Magabe, R36-million had been set aside in the budget to ensure that water was provided to the community in the long term.
He said the water provision project was expected to be completed next year.
"Among the resolutions taken at the meeting was that protests to demand services would no longer be necessary in the area.
"The disruption of schooling will also come to a stop. We appeal to communities to be patient and cooperate with the task team," he said.
Community leader Karabo Mohlala said they were happy with the outcome of the meeting, but felt that R36-million was insufficient to solve the water problem. - email@example.com
Boland farm workers down tools
Daneel Knoetze (IOL News) 18 September 2012
Cape Town - In a move described as “courageous” and “unprecedented for the Boland region”, workers at Keurboschkloof export grape farm outside De Doorns downed tools and staged a sit-in protest at the gates of the farm on Monday.
“In farm workers we are dealing with the most disempowered and vulnerable sector of South Africa’s labour market,” said Fatima Shabodien, former executive director of Women on Farms and director of ActionAid, an NGO dealing with human rights in SA.
“Historically they have lacked the unity, power and co-ordination to stage concerted and successful strike action. Small flare ups are easily broken up by employers with threats and intimidation.
“Globally unionisation rates amongst farmworkers are around 5 percent. In South Africa this is even lower, (this makes their bargaining position rather weak).”
On Monday, the vast majority of the farm’s 300 permanent employees brought water bottles, snack packs and umbrellas, to the entrance of Keurboschkloof and said they would stage a sit-in until their demands were met.
Brandishing placards with messages directed at their employers, the SA Fruit Exporters (Safe), toyi-toyied at the entrance to the farm.
They are protesting against attempts by Safe (which has a five-year contract to manage Keurboschkloof) to cut their wages.
In July this year, Safe announced that it would drop the tiered wages of R90, R105, R110 and R127 a day to a flat rate of R64 for most of the workers (a figure that is in line with the industry minimum), explained Cynthia Malotana, a single mother of three who has worked on the farm for 18 years.
Shabodien said the scenario described by Malotana amounted to a breach of the Labour Relations Act.
After a strike by workers on August 27, a deal was brokered whereby a flat rate of R100 a day would be paid pending the outcome of an interim period of negotiation. Last Friday, at the end of the negotiations, Safe announced that all but 20 of the staff would be dismissed, said Malotana.
This news lead to Monday’s strike. Workers are demanding a pay increase to R2 887 a month (R137 a day).
Safe was employed to take over the farm’s management when owner Pierre Smit took ill last year. Smit promised his workers that their contracts, pay and conditions of employment would not change under the management of the new company.
An audio recording of this promise was made by one of the workers.
Safe sent a message to the workers on Monday afternoon, saying that they would be fired if they did not return to work on Tuesday morning.
ECape students protest with lock-out
IOL News 18 September 2012
Eastern Cape - Students at a secondary school in the Eastern Cape protested against a lack of teachers by locking out all staff members, the Dispatch Online reported on Tuesday.
The pupils from Njongihlanga Senior Secondary School, in Ncera Village, staged the lock-out on Monday in protest against their lack of teachers of maths, maths literacy, geography and agricultural science, the online newspaper reported.
They locked the main gate of the school, barring all entry to the grounds.
Two temporary teachers were sent to the school in March following several pleas for help to the provincial department of education, teachers asking to remain anonymous told the newspaper.
However, the payment of their salaries was bungled and they left their positions in August, leaving the pupils without instruction.
“We saw that nothing is happening, so we’re wasting our time coming to school as we’re going to fail the year anyway so we decided to do this,” said Student Representative Council member Thabo Bokana.
“We’re doing this for our rights and we’re hoping the department will sit up and take notice,” he said. - Sapa
Hit-and-run driver killed by mob
IOL News17 September 2012
Johannesburg - Eight-year-old Xhanti Xesha had left home for a haircut. Moments later, he lay dead on the roadside.
The boy was one of three children who fell victim to a series of hit-and-runs by a drunk driver at the Sol Plaatje low-cost settlement in Roodepoort on Sunday morning.
A woman and another child were also seriously injured.
Angry residents then took a man, believed to have been the driver, to the spot where the victims had died and beat him to death.
The series of accidents started at 12.30pm on Sunday when three men, who neighbours said were from outside the community, drove a grey Honda from Section D of Sol Plaatje to Section E.
An eyewitness said the men were driving very fast when they hit an elderly woman walking on the side of the road.
Instead of stopping, the driver sped up on the narrow dirt road in a bid to escape.
About 200m down the road, he collided with four children between the ages of three and eight, three of whom were killed.
Again, instead of stopping, the driver continued along the road.
A large crowd that had witnessed the accidents pursued the car.
The man drove up an rocky stretch of road awash with rubbish and boulders. At the top of the hill, about 600m from where he had hit the children, his car stalled.
A woman in a nearby tuckshop said the car had made a loud spluttering noise before stopping. The three men jumped out of the car, with the crowd in hot pursuit.
A few minutes later, the residents captured the man they believed to have been the driver of the vehicle and dragged him back.
At the same spot where the three people had lost their lives, he was beaten to death.
A man said he could not describe how big the crowd had been, but gestured to the houses around him, saying: “We were all there.”
Late on Sunday afternoon, Xhanti’s family came to examine the spot where he had died.
His grandfather, Mandla Xesha, said his grandson had been on his way to get a haircut. He remembered him as a hyperactive and handsome child.
“When you sent him to the shops, he would hurry and be back quickly. He liked to play soccer,” said Xesha.
He said the family, originally from Dobsonville, would discuss plans for a funeral on Sunday night.
An eyewitness said car accidents were rare in the area, but appealed for speed humps to be put on the road.
Joburg metro police department spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said they had found empty beer bottles as well as half-empty bottles of gin, whisky and brandy in the car, and believed the men had been drinking.
Police spokesman Warrant officer Daniel Mavimbela said no arrests had been made. Culpable homicide, reckless and negligent driving, as well as murder cases, were being investigated.
Mineworkers’ case postponed
IOL News 18 September 2012
Rustenburg - Fifty-five people arrested during a protest at Rasimone platinum mine near Rustenburg appeared in the Bafokeng Magistrate's Court in Tlhabane on Tuesday.
They were granted bail of R500 each and the matter was postponed to October 26 for investigation.
The court ordered that they not be part of any illegal gathering in Rasimone, that they refrain from intimidating other workers and not disturb peace and security at Rasimone.
They were arrested on Monday after workers at Royal Bafokeng Platinum mine went on a strike. - Sapa
Police arrest 42 for illegal platinum strike
Times Live17 September, 2012
Police said on Monday they had arrested 42 people for an illegal strike at the Rasimone mine, a joint venture between Royal Bafokeng Platinum and Anglo American Platinum.
About 1,500 people embarked on the illegal strike and police were called in to monitor the situation, the South African Police Service said in a statement.
The mine is located near Rustenburg, about 120 km northwest of Johannesburg, an area that has been hit by five weeks of labour unrest.
Protest after murders in Muldersdrift
Botho Molosankwe 17 September 2012
Johannesburg - Angry Muldersdrift residents, friends and relatives of two people murdered in the area in the past two weeks gathered at the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court this morning to protest against the rampant crime gripping their community.
They also wanted assurances that the men held for the latest murder of Andre Jordaan, scheduled to appear in court this morning, would not be granted bail.
Jordaan was shot seven times on Thursday night and died at Bara Hospital on Saturday.
Suspects arrested for the murder of 13-year-old Alyssa Botha - who lived in the same street as Jordaan and was shot dead by intruders on September 5 - were released two days after they were arrested.
This was apparently due to insufficient evidence against them.
About 100 people from the crime-hit areas of Krugersdorp, Muldersdrift, Magaliesburg and Hekpoort sang and danced in front of the court, brandishing placards protesting against crime and calling for the court not to grant of bail.
Among the protesters was Alyssa’s sister Meghan who was accompanied by a few schoolmates from Monument Hoërskool.
Meghan was shot in both legs and her dad Anton was shot in the abdomen during the attack in which Alyssa was murdered.
Limping and with a bandage around her thigh, Meghan said she was at the court this morning to protest against the crime against her younger sister. Her mother could not attend the protest, she said, as “it is still too soon for her”.
“It [crime in the area] is ridiculous, it needs to stop,” said the 17-year-old schoolgirl.
Meghan said funeral arrangements for her sister had not yet been made as the family was waiting for her father to recover enough to be able to attend.
There was still a lot of anger after the suspects arrested for Alyssa’s murder were released.
And when Brigadier Dalipkumar Baijnath from the Krugersdorp police station adressed the protesters, he told them that the men arrested for Jordaan’s murder had been linked to the crime and that goods stolen from the deceased’s house had been found in their possession.
“We are using forensics to link them to other crimes and it’s looking positive,” he said.
The brigadier also told the protesters that their efforts to march to the court and also meet with the police indicated the need for a crusade against crime to be launched.
Gold Fields strike continues
IOL News 17 September 2012
A strike at Gold Fields' KDC west, near Carletonville, on the West Rand continued on Monday, company spokesman Sven Lunsche said.
“Workers did not return to work,” Lunsche said.
The company would continue to try and talk to the majority union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which represents the workers who are on strike.
It represents around 80 percent of the 15,000 employees who are not working.
“We are hoping to make progress soon,” he said.
Lunsche said it might go a little slower than hoped because the NUM's national leadership would be at the Congress of SA Trade Unions' 11th national conference in Midrand.
The weekend was generally quiet, but two miners who tried to go to work on Sunday were violently assaulted.
“There were incidents of intimidation last night,” Lunsche said.
“They are fine for now. They have received treatment,” he said.
The strike began last Sunday.
The mine loses 1400 ounces of gold production for every day of the strike.
The company obtained a Labour Court interdict declaring the strike unprotected last week. This means legal protective processes related to an industrial dispute were not followed. - Sapa
Police block protesting miners
IOL News 16 September 2012
Marikana - South African police on Sunday blocked and dispersed a march by hundreds of protesting miners against a security crackdown in the country's restive platinum belt.
AFP reporters on the scene said workers dispersed peacefully after a row of armoured police trucks stopped them from marching on the police station in the northwest town of Rustenburg, a day after officers fired rubber bullets to disperse workers in nearby Marikana.
“The police have blocked us. They are dispersing us. Now we are telling our people to go back to where we came from” in order to avoid any conflict, Gaddhafi Mdoda, a workers' committee member at Anglo American Platinum, told AFP.
Workers were not carrying their usual protest gear of machetes, spears and sticks a day after police moved into platinum giant Lonmin's strike-hit Marikana mine to raid worker residences and seize weapons.
Hundreds of officers raided worker hostels and also used rubber bullets and tear gas Saturday, with clashes breaking out in a shantytown opposite the mine.
The marchers had planned to march on the police station Sunday to protest against the use of force, exactly a month after police gunned down 34 protesters at Lonmin in the worst violence by security forces since the fall of apartheid 18 years ago.
“They said we have to produce a permit to allow us to go. I think its racism from the government,” said Siphamandla Makhanya, a representive of the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers.
Mdoda said the dispersed police station march had been “peaceful”.
“But they are telling us that they are giving a few minutes to disperse, so that's a big threat,” he said.
Rising strike tensions that have spilled over from Lonmin have spread around the region and forced shut-downs at several mines, including those of the world's top platinum producer Amplats and number four producer Aquarius Platinum.
The government on Friday announced it would no longer tolerate the growing labour strife, saying it would act against illegal gatherings, weapons, incitement and threats of violence that have characterised the unrest. - AFP
Soldiers deployed in Marikana
IOL News16 September 2012
At least a thousand soldiers were deployed in Marikana on Saturday evening, the SA Defence Force (SANDF) said.
“The soldiers were deployed at the request of the police to support them in their operation,' said SANDF spokesman Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga.
Mabanga said the soldiers sent to Marikana included members from the air force, the army, and the military health services.
Earlier on Saturday, police fired rubber bullets to disperse striking mineworkers who had gathered in Nkaneng informal settlement in Wonderkop.
Twelve people were arrested during a raid at Lonmin mine's Karee hostel, and pangas, knobkerries and other dangerous weapons were seized. - Sapa
Miners plan ‘peaceful march’
Business News16 September 2012
Striking South African miners have called for a “peaceful march” on a police station on Sunday after authorities launched a major crackdown in the country's restive platinum belt.
Police on Saturday fired rubber bullets at protesters and seized weapons from worker hostels at platinum giant Lonmin in an operation to quell unrest in the mining sector.
Soldiers were also deployed as back-up in the troubled Rustenburg platinum belt where militant protests have forced several mine closures since police gunned down 34 people last month at Lonmin's Marikana mine.
The troops had been sent in to Marikana at the request of the police, Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga told AFP. But the police were leading the operation, he added.
Forces moved into Marikana less than 24 hours after the government announced a security clampdown. The unrest has forced three leading producers to halt mining operations on the world's richest platinum deposits.
The striking miners said there would be a “peaceful march” on Sunday, heading towards the police headquarters in Rustenburg.
“Everyone will be here. No vandalising, maybe sticks but no iron. It will be a peaceful march. But I can't guarantee there won't be rubber bullets,” said one of the strike leaders, who called himself Gadaffi.
Sunday will mark a month since the 34 miners were killed on August 16.
Five hundred police officers, assisted by the army, raided hostels at Lonmin's mine at 2.00am (00.00 GMT) on Saturday, seizing piles of metal rods, machetes and sticks.
Later that morning, police fired tear gas to disperse gathering protesters. There were clashes as workers regrouped and threw stones at officers amid the shacks opposite the mine.
Plumes of black smoke poured into the sky from burning tyres which workers used as barricades along with large rocks dragged across the dirt roads inside the humble settlement. But the area was calm by the afternoon.
It was the biggest show of force since officers shot dead the 34 miners, the worst police bloodshed since democracy in 1994, which sparked comparisons with the apartheid-era brutality of the white-minority regime.
A mediator in Lonmin's wage talks warned that the crackdown could lead to a “complete revolt across the platinum belt”.
“Government must be crazy believing that, what to me resembles an apartheid-era crackdown, can succeed,” said Bishop Jo Seoka, president of the South African Council of Churches.
“We must not forget that such crackdowns in the past led to more resistance,” he added.
The government could ill afford to be seen as the enemy of the people that had put it in power, he said.
Police have sworn to carry out the government's orders to stamp out the illegal gatherings, illegal weapons, incitement and threats of violence that have characterised the protests.
“The police are not going to hesitate to act,” spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane told AFP.
The police confirmed they had used rubber bullets on Saturday and said that in addition to seven arrests of protesters at a mine on Friday, they had detained at least another 12 people.
An AFP photographer saw a man bleeding after having been shot in the arm and the side of his body.
“A police nyala (armoured truck) 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,” Melita Ramasedi told the Sapa news agency, showing her bleeding leg. Seoka said six women had been shot and one of them had to be hospitalised.
The troubles at Lonmin, the world's third largest platinum producer, over a wage dispute in which 45 people have died, have spread to surrounding mines and to a Gold Fields mine near Johannesburg.
The world's top platinum producer Anglo American Platinum has closed five mines because of safety fears. Leading ferrochrome producer, Xstrata Alloys, and Aquarius Platinum also halted work on Friday due to the mounting protests.
President Jacob Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj told AFP that the actions were “very proper, firm, some people would even say, inadequate measures” given the violence and threats of intimidation.”
“If we allow the situation to continue, the economy will suffer severely and we will be going down the road of lawlessness,” he added.
Mining is the backbone of South Africa's economy. It directly employs around 500,000 people and once related activities are included accounts for nearly one-fifth of gross domestic product. - Sapa-AFP