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South African Protest News 20 October - 12 November 2012 (2012) South African Protest News 20 October - 12 November 2012.  : -.

Ban Gaga - she’s a self-confessed satanist’
Kashiefa Ajam 10 November 2012

In a petition on its website, it said Lady Gaga was a self-confessed 'Satanist'.

Johannesburg - Ban Lady Gaga – her performances in South Africa will lead to a degeneration of the youth’s moral values. This is what the SA Council of Churches has asked the Department of Arts and Culture to consider before the US star’s concerts to be held later this month.

A handful of council members marched to the department’s Pretoria offices to hand over a memorandum. In a petition on its website, it said Lady Gaga was a self-confessed “Satanist”. “The name Gaga is the name of a demon. Her lyrics denounce the name of Jesus. The tickets… are sold out, all for devil worship while over 30 million children are hungry.”

This is not the first time the star has been slammed. A group of Christian youth in the Philippines recently protested against Lady Gaga’s Born This Way tour, saying her music mocked Jesus Christ and God. - Saturday Star

Mazibuko labelled ‘a coconut’
IOL News 9 November 2012

Johannesburg - DA Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko was jeered and labelled a “coconut” as unionists and teachers gate-crashed a protest march by the party on Friday demanding better education in the Eastern Cape.

The dramatic scenes unfolded outside the offices of the provincial education department in Zwelitsha near Bhisho, where the Democratic Alliance's “peaceful” march soon erupted into chaos, the Weekend Post reported.

Sadtu and Nehawu supporters wielded sticks and heckled Mazibuko and a group of 500 of her supporters.

About 200 protesters loudly taunted Mazibuko while she addressed her followers, singing “amabulu amnyama” (rich blacks or coconuts).

“It is like calling black members coconuts, only more derogatory,” said DA Eastern Cape provincial leader Athol Trollip.

The protesters refused to give reasons for their protest and began chanting “no interviews”.

However, one woman, wearing a red Nehawu T-shirt, shouted: “Ask those who come to invade us!”

The tense stand-off came a day after Western Cape premier and DA leader Helen Zille was pelted with stones by striking farm workers and had to be whisked away by police in De Doorns in the Western Cape.

Following the education department's decision to axe almost 4000 temporary teachers in the province at the end of this year, the DA's mission was to deliver a memorandum to acting Superintendent-General Mthunywa Ngonzo, demanding quality teachers in every Eastern Cape classroom.

However, he refused to make an appearance, sending two departmental officials in his place.

“I am worried about a culture in which protesters carry sticks because we wanted to ensure this march was peaceful,” Mazibuko told Weekend Post.

“We are not here to engage with Cosatu but with the Department of Education. They can shout all they like. They are here to cause a fiasco and provoke us when they should be in class. They are making a mockery of education. They are very immature, yet they are supposed to be educated,” she said.

DA member Edmund van Vuuren laid a complaint of intimidation against Sadtu and Nehawu members - who work at the education department - at the Zwelitsha police station.

“Their strike was illegal because they didn't get permission and I laid the charges to prevent further intimidation against those who have permission to have a peaceful protest. We must nip this in the bud.”

Referring to the protest as a “wild cat strike”, Van Vuuren said the protesters were “raping the DA's democratic right” to freedom of speech.

“I can't understand it - we are fighting the same fight. We are all unhappy that teachers will lose their jobs, so I can't understand why they are standing there. Is it just because we are the DA?”

Schoolchildren from the nearby Xolani Senior Secondary school said they did not support the DA's call for better education practices in the province.

“We don't support them because we already have a good education and they were disturbing us while we were writing our maths literacy exam,” said Sikelelwa Gobile, 17. - Sapa

Amplats strike to continue
Maryke Vermaak 10 November 2012

Rustenburg - Striking mineworkers at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) would not return to work, a miners' representative said in Rustenburg on Saturday.

“The workers decided they won't go back to work. There are conditions that are unfavourable,” Evans Ramokga said.

“The strike is still on.”

Hundreds of striking workers were gathered at a mass rally at the Olympia Park Stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday morning.

The crowd was singing and dancing as police in Nyalas and vans kept watch over proceedings. A police helicopter was circling overhead.

On Friday Amplats management re-opened discussions on miners returning to work.

Amplats said in a statement on Friday: “The outcome of these discussions is that management has revised the initial offer to a once-off allowance of R4500 (gross of tax) to be paid to each qualifying employee.

“ This was comprising a R2000 loyalty or hardship allowance and a R2500 safe start-up allowance to be paid two weeks after employees have returned to work and have commenced actual work.”

The mining company also agreed to re-open wage negotiations early.

However, any agreement reached would only be introduced in July next year, in line with the current wage negotiation cycle. “If the offer is accepted, the understanding is that employees would return to work on Monday, 12 November 2012, after which date the offer will lapse,” Amplats said.

Ramokga said the rally was also to ensure the safety and stability in Rustenburg and to stop violence.

“We are here morning for our comrades who passed away during the strike all over the country.”

He said they were also holding the rally to demand a living wage and better living conditions for all.

The workers said they would not oppose returning to work if their salary demands were met.

“We are looking for money. If they give us what we need, we can go back to work,” said Simon Gqaza, an employee at Amplats for the last three years.

“I need R16,000. If they give me that money that I'm looking for I will go back to work anytime.”

Amplats fired 12,000 workers after they failed to appear for a disciplinary hearing. They had been on a wildcat strike since September 12, demanding to be paid a minimum of R16,000 a month.

The company then made the workers a re-instatement offer, which was not accepted.

Chris Griffith, Amplats chief executive, said the company had previously stated that its operations were under tremendous economic pressure which was being exacerbated by the strike.

“The return to work offer that has been agreed with the unions and the strike committee will require almost R220 million to fund,” he said.

“The workers' current demand of a salary increase of R4500 per month would cost approximately R2.6 billion, an amount that is clearly not affordable in a year when the company is experiencing such economic challenges.”

Griffith said Amplats had gone to great lengths to get workers to return to work but if they did not accept the offer Amplats would have no option but to adhere to the dismissals. - Sapa

Amplats workers gather in Rustenburg
Maryke Vermaak 10 November 2012

Rustenburg - Hundreds of striking Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers were gathered at a mass rally at the Olympia Park Stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday Morning.

The crowd was singing and dancing as police in Nyalas and vans kept watch over proceedings. A police helicopter was circling overhead.

The miners would receive feedback on wage negotiations after Amplats management re-opened discussions on miners returning to work on Friday.

The workers said they would not oppose returning to work if their salary demands were met.

“We are looking for money. If they give us what we need, we can go back to work,” said Simon Gqaza, an employee at Amplats for the last three years.

“I need R16,000. If they give me that money that I'm looking for I will go back to work anytime.”

Amplats said in a statement on Friday: “The outcome of these discussions is that management has revised the initial offer to a once-off allowance of R4500 (gross of tax) to be paid to each qualifying employee.

“This was comprising a R2000 loyalty or hardship allowance and a R2500 safe start-up allowance to be paid two weeks after employees have returned to work and have commenced actual work.”

The mining company also agreed to re-opening wage negotiations early.

However, any agreement reached would only be introduced in July next year, in line with the current wage negotiation cycle.

“If the offer is accepted, the understanding is that employees would return to work on Monday, 12 November 2012, after which date the offer will lapse,” Amplats said.

Amplats fired 12,000 workers after they failed to appear for a disciplinary hearing. They had been on a wildcat strike since September 12, demanding to be paid a minimum of R16,000 a month.

The company then made the workers a re-instatement offer, which was not accepted.

Chris Griffith, Amplats chief executive, said the company had previously stated that its operations were under tremendous economic pressure which was being exacerbated by the strike.

“The return to work offer that has been agreed with the unions and the strike committee will require almost R220 million to fund,” he said.

“The workers' current demand of a salary increase of R4500 per month would cost approximately R2.6 billion, an amount that is clearly not affordable in a year when the company is experiencing such economic challenges.”

Griffith said Amplats had gone to great lengths to get workers to return to work but if they did not accept the offer Amplats would have no option but to adhere to the dismissals. - Sapa

Protests shut down toll plaza
IOL News 2 November 2012

The Swartruggens toll plaza on the N4 highway in the North West has been shut down by a Cosatu-led protest, the trade union federation said on Friday.

“The toll has been taken over and the traffic here on the N4 road is completely shut down,” Congress of SA Trade Unions provincial secretary Solly Phetoe said.

“We have been protesting since one o'clock and have the support of all the taxi associations.”

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Sam Tselenyane said he was not aware of any disruptions taking place during the protest.

“What I know is that they (Cosatu) were allocated one side of the road to protest. The secretary (Phetoe) is supposed to address the protesters there.”

Phetoe said the protest had encompassed the entire plaza.

He said Cosatu demanded that the payment of R71 at tolls be suspended until a solution was found which represented the views of poor people in North West.

Cosatu launched a campaign earlier in the year, calling for the toll fee at the Swartruggens Plaza to be reduced to R20. - Sapa

Lenasia locals protest housing demolition
IOL News 9 November 2012

Johannesburg - A group of Lenasia South residents protested on Friday against the destruction of homes by the local government, Gauteng police said.

The protesters in Extension 13 on Thursday evening barricaded roads and set tyres on fire, said Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela.

The protests continued on Friday morning.

He said no one had been arrested or injured.

The protests came after the destruction of 37, out of 113 houses, which the Gauteng department of housing said were illegally built.

“Investigations by the department's anti-fraud and corruption unit revealed that fraudsters sold several stands ranging from R 2 500 - R 95 000 and issued buyers with fraudulent deeds of sale which bore the department's official logo,” the Gauteng housing department said in a statement on Thursday evening.

The department said the destruction of the houses would continue on Friday.

Makhubela said police would continue to monitor the protests. - Sapa

Minister will not meet farmworkers
IOL News 10 November 2012

Johannesburg - Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson would not be meeting with farmworkers in De Doorns in the Western Cape, her office said on Saturday.

“Joemat-Pettersson is not scheduled to attend any meetings in De Doorns today (Saturday). However, if there are any changes, the media will be informed,” said her spokeswoman Palesa Mokomele.

Mokomele said on Friday that Joemat-Pettersson scheduled a meeting for Saturday to seek a solution to labour disputes on farms in the Western Cape.

The meeting would follow ongoing negotiations between farm workers and farmers to reach a settlement agreement to end the wage dispute, she said on Friday.

Joemat-Pettersson would attend a meeting in Cape Town on Saturday together with ministers of labour and police, the provincial government, representatives of farmer unions and farm workers.

Farm workers in De Doorns began protesting on Monday, demanding wages of R150 a day, improved living conditions, electricity, and an end to illegal evictions, illegal immigrant workers, and labour brokers.

Earlier in the week, protests resulted in vineyards being burnt, a number of arrests, and the closure of the N1 between Touws River and De Doorns. - Sapa

Zille's De Doorns visit disrupted by rowdy crowd
Sapa 8 November 2012

Zille rejected radio news reports that she had to flee for her own safety from the farm workers.

"I spoke to the people and there was no sense of running away, no sense of fleeing."

Zille and provincial agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg had been walking door-to-door in Stofland, an informal settlement in the town where most of the disgruntled workers lived. While there, Zille was asked to address a group at a nearby soccer stadium.

The small crowd she was speaking to was initially friendly, but then some of them started chanting the name of expelled African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema.

This growing group then started intimidating the others by dragging them away.

"It was terrifying intimidation for the people who were trying to speak to me," Zille said.

"The people said they wanted to work and the worst aspect is that children can't go to school."

Zille decided it was best to leave and she would return when the situation was not as tense.

According to Van Rensburg's spokesman Wouter Kriel, Zille earlier met the Table Grape association and the police.

"They have reached a point where they can solve the issues and [where] tensions have been resolved and normality can return," Kriel said.

Workers had gathered on the N1 since Monday. Various protests over labour conditions have resulted in the setting alight of vineyards, and a number of arrests.

The N1 between Touws River and De Doorns remained closed on Thursday as a precautionary measure because of ongoing protests in the area, Western Cape police said.

"The situation in De Doorns is still tense and potentially volatile, and it is being monitored," Lt-Col Andre Traut said.

"Police officers are still deployed in the area to maintain law and order. No incidents of violence have been recorded today."

Kriel said farmers had rejected a wage demand of R150 a day by grape harvesters and that talks were to resume in the Worcester civic centre on Friday. He could not provide any more information.

Van Rensburg, community safety MEC Dan Plato and sport and culture MEC Ivan Meyer were sent to the town earlier in the week to quell the unrest.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration was brokering the talks.

According to the agriculture department, De Doorns produces table grapes, predominantly for the export market. This industry supports 8000 full time workers and 8000 seasonal jobs in the Hex River Valley.

Bokoni miners intensify strike
SABC 7 November 2012

Workers have once again ignored the fourth ultimatum by continuing with the strike.(SABC)

Bokoni Platinum MineNational Union of MineworkersChamber of MinesStriking workers at the Bokoni Platinum Mine in Limpopo are intensifying their unprotected strike. The workers have ignored the fourth ultimatum issued by the management to return to work.

They downed tools at the beginning of last month demanding a monthly wage of R16 500.

Workers have once again ignored the fourth ultimatum by continuing with the strike, they are gathering outside the mine premises, some chanting and toy-toying.

They have vowed to continue with their action until management negotiates their demand with the Labour Forum. Some vehicles carrying workers have been seen entering into the mine premises. There's heavy police presence at the mine.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers is expected to sign a deal with the Chamber of Mines this morning on behalf of the coal mining industry.

This will be a similar agreement concluded with the Chamber of Mine's gold companies last month, Several coal mines around the country have had unprotected wage strikes for about five weeks.

NUM's Lesiba Seshoka says they are trying to negotiate in the same spirit for the coal sector as they did for gold.

Pta-betogers wil weet oor korrupsie
Beeld 6 November 2012

Betogers van Cosatu en die SAKP wat vandag in die Pretoriase middestad betoog, eis dat die spesiale ondersoekeenheid (SOE) se verslag na ‘n ondersoek na die stand van korrupsie in die Tshwane-metroraad onmiddelik bekend gemaak word.

Apson Makaung, sekretaris van die SAKP in Tshwane, sê hulle vrees dat indien die SOE se verslag nie beskikbaar gemaak word nie, sal niks daarvan kom nie.

Makaung het verwys na die goue handdruk van R2,3 miljoen wat Kiba Kekane, die Tshwane-metroraad se vorige munisipale bestuurder, aan die einde van 2010 ontvang het.

Kekana is met ‘n goue handdruk vort sonder dat enige van die bewerings van wanbestuur teen hom getoets is.

Pieter de Necker, woordvoerder van Kgosientso Ramokgopa, uitvoerende burgemeester van Tshwane, sê ‘n voorlopige verslag van die SOE is reeds in die parlement bekend gemaak.

Die Tshwane-metroraad het nog geen aanduiding van die SOE gekry wanneer die finale verslag afgehandel en aan die raad beskikbaar gestel sal word nie.

Fired Amplats workers haven’t accepted reinstatement offer yet
City Press 6 Novmber 2012

The 12 000 miners fired from Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) in Rustenburg had still not taken up the company’s reinstatement offer to return to work.

“They are not back to work,” said National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka.

However, negotiations were still under way on the terms of their return, and attempts to have one of the amounts offered raised, he said.

Comment from the company was not immediately available.

Yesterday, the company said it would provide an update, where appropriate, and that its statement from Thursday was still valid.

In that statement, Amplats said its reinstatement offer was strictly subject to all strikers returning to work and doing actual work activities by no later than Tuesday, October 30.

“This offer, which has not yet been accepted by employees, is still open.”

The company had offered a once-off R2 000 “hardship allowance” to help workers in financial difficulties due to the no-work, no-pay principle.

Two weeks ago, the platinum producer said it met with unions to facilitate the return of the 12 000 dismissed workers, and those who were on an illegal strike at its Union and Amandelbult mines.

Amplats fired the 12 000 after they failed to appear for a disciplinary hearing.

They had been on a wildcat strike since September 12, in demand of a minimum wage of R16 000 a month.

The Amplats offer was made in consultation with the NUM, Uasa, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, Solidarity, and a strikers’ committee.

DA collects letters to Zuma about Limpopo schools
IOL News5 November 2012

The DA hopes to deliver more than 600 letters to President Jacob Zuma from Limpopo pupils, asking him to provide better resources for their education.

The Democratic Alliance has collected more than 600 letters from Limpopo pupils telling President Jacob Zuma why he should prioritise fixing schools in government spending.

Some said teachers, desks, and running water were more important right now than building houses for the president's wives.

"I would like to tell you that we need a school bus and sports field at our school but what our country has turned into is not good because you are making our parents pay more tax to build houses for your wives," Dimpho, a 13-year-old pupil from Tzaneen wrote.

The DA had planned to deliver the letters to Zuma’s controversial Nkandla residence, which has allegedly been renovated using R248-million of state funds. A DA delegation, including leader Helen Zille and Limpopo leader Jacques Smalle, who attempted to inspect the residence on Sunday, was, however, disrupted by ANC supporters.

Smalle told the Mail & Guardian that the presidency had confirmed that it was "willing" to accept the letters at Zuma's Tuynhuys residence in Cape Town.

"We want to do an official handover of the letters to the president himself … we will try to arrange for this to happen before the end of the week," he said.

The DA began gathering letters from Limpopo pupils at about 20 schools in the Mopane district in June this year to "try to understand what the impact of the issue around [the lack] of textbooks was".

"We asked them 'if you could say something to the president, what would you say?'" said Smalle.

About 90% of the letters were about insufficient school resources such as classrooms, textbooks and sport facilities.

Tshikane Maringe said: "I want Mr President to bring textbooks so that I can read."

Mokgadi Modibe in grade seven said there were not enough classrooms at her school.

" … and we are about 75 in our classrooms and there are lack of textbooks and when we have to learn we struggle."

In light of the government spending at Nkandla, Smalle said South Africa needed to ask itself if the government was "really serious about taking people out of poverty and giving them a better future".

"The government has to give children the tools to better their lives … At the moment that's not happening," he said.

It was "scary" that the government was not "prioritising making schools better".

Presidency spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, referred the M&G to a statement he made on Saturday in which he said the DA was "welcome to deliver any communication to the presidency at his offices …"

On hearing that the DA had informed the media that it had planned to visit Nkandla, he said: "In this instance, regrettably the presidency is left with the impression that the DA's conduct smacks of a disingenuous publicity gimmick."

"We reiterate that the DA should deliver any communication they wish to send to the president's offices and not his residence, otherwise their motives remain highly questionable and mischievous," it said

Work at Gold Fields resume, but mine strikes not over yet
Mail & Guardian 6 November 2012

As Gold Fields announced its operations resumed, another operator said it was hit by a strike, suggesting labour unrest in the mines is far from over.

Gold Fields says operations have resumed have all three of its mines in SA, but this is no indication that labour unrest has ended. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

Gold Fields said the reinstatement of 8 500 dismissed workers at its KDC East operations near Johannesburg had ended a 23-day strike and heralded a return to production.

Village Main Reef, one of South Africa's smaller gold producers, said on Tuesday that employees at its Buffelsfontein Gold Mine had embarked on a wildcat strike as of Monday.

The company, which did not disclose the number of employees on strike, said it planned to seek a court order to force the miners back to work.

All of South Africa's major gold producers have been hit by often violent illegal strikes at some or all of their operations in the last three months as labour discontent in the platinum mines spilled over into other sectors.

In the platinum sector, Anglo American Platinum, the world's largest producer, is the only major company still struggling to bring an end to weeks of wildcat strikes by 12 000 workers at its Rustenburg mines and 20 500 at its Amandelbult and Union operations.

The company is losing an average of 3 694 ounces of platinum per day. – Reuters

. post a commentemail this articleprint this articlelogin to clipIn This Section
One in four South Africans remain jobless South Africa's unemployment rate rose in the third quarter, with more than one in four out of work. Lonmin warns of further retrenchments Labour unrest at Lonmin Platinum was connected to the company's contemplated restructuring, which could include retrenchments, the company has said. Rubber bullets, teargas fired after Amplats blaze Police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse around 1 000 people at Amplats' Rustenburg operation after a power sub-station was set alight. Vavi: Review all minimum wage agreements The Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has called for a review of all minimum wage agreements.

Farm workers gather in De Doorns
IOL News 6 November 2012

Western Cape - Around 8 000 farm workers gathered in De Doorns on Tuesday morning following a violent protest that left vineyards in flames, a Western Cape agriculture official said.

“The situation is very tense, but police seem to be in control at the moment. They've also called for reinforcements to come and a helicopter is on its way,” said Wouter Kriel, spokesman for agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg.

He said it looked as though the group was planning to march.

Van Rensburg, community safety MEC Dan Plato and cultural affairs and sports MEC Ivan Meyer met with police, local safety authorities and the farming community at around 8am to discuss a plan of action.

Kriel said they had not made it clear what they wanted or why they were protesting.

“There is no specific leadership and no list of demands… one thing that is very important is to get dialogue going.”

Breede Valley mayor Basil Kivedo was expected to address the crowd later in the day to try and establish their needs. The provincial government was calling in an experienced negotiator to handle the situation.

The N1 highway had to be closed between Touws River and De Doorns on Monday when farm workers gathered on the road.

Over 30 hectares of vineyards were destroyed in the protest.

Western Cape police said at the time the cause of the protest was likely a wage dispute, but the agricultural department said this was incorrect.

“This is not a labour strike and (is) not organised by farm workers, even though farm workers are involved. It seems to be politically motivated,” Kriel said.

Workers set farms on fire
Daneel Knoetze IOL News 6 November 2012

Western Cape - The N1 between Touws River and De Doorns was closed for several hours on Monday after thousands of farmworkers set fire to at least 15 vineyards over a wage dispute.

The farming region surrounding the town of De Doorns was turned into what looked like a war zone.

Wage disputes, which have been ongoing between workers and farmers for weeks, reached a tipping point early on Monday as workers downed tools.

Driving into De Doorns, smoke hung thick in the air. The road was obstructed by rocks, rubble and burning piles of rubbish.

Thousands of people lined the road and were walking in the direction of the Boland town.

Tractors, bearing water tankers on their trailers, were ferrying water from dams to be sprayed on to the blaze.

Jacques Beukes, a fifth-generation farmer on Modderdrift farm, said the farming community was “utterly shaken” by what was transpiring.

On one hand, he blamed ANC agitators for instigating the violence on “political grounds”, and on the other, he implored the government to step in and to bring violent protests under control.

Beukes would not be drawn on the wage grievances of the striking workers. He referred queries to the Hex Table Grape Association and AgriSA.

Speaking on the radio, Agri Western Cape spokeswoman Portia Adams also avoided answering the question of wage disputes by saying that the protests were due to joblessness in the area.

This was disputed by every striking worker to whom the Cape Argus spoke. One worker, who worked as a picker on Modderdrift, said he was only paid R63 a day.

“We don’t like to see the bosses driving new double-cab bakkies and sending their kids to the best schools, and then they come and tell us that ‘no, the harvest was bad this year we cannot pay you more’. I have not personally burnt any vineyards down, but I know how people feel and I don’t blame them for taking things into their own hands,” said the man, who asked not to be named.

He, along with many others, denied the claim that there was a political influence underpinning the strike.

Ward councillor Pat Marran said: “The meetings happened spontaneously. People have come together and said that enough is enough. There are no leaders, there is no organisation or union or political party pulling the strings. These issues have been at play for generations, people have been exploited in this area for decades. They have had enough, and today they are making a point.”

Marran added that workers were demanding a living wage of R150 a day. Many currently earn R63 a day.

Tensions between farmers and workers have been brewing in De Doorns since 350 workers on Keurboschkloof grape farm downed tools and successfully negotiated improved working conditions.

According to Braam Hanekom, from refugee rights NGO Passop and who has been involved with supporting strikers from the beginning, this led to a widespread challenge of the status quo in the Hex River valley.

“We are… concerned over the lack of planning behind this latest strike action and want to make it clear that while we support the workers, we want to see a solution through peaceful processes… strike actions should be led by elected workers or union representatives to ensure that demands are informed and that they have the mandate of the workers,” he said.

By mid-afternoon on Monday, thousands of protesters had moved into the abandoned town centre of De Doorns.

Many businesses had closed shop for the day and windows of shops were cracked and broken where protesters had thrown rocks.

Within a matter of minutes of arriving in a built-up part of town, the mob had broken open the door of a cafe. The shop was looted, the till was ripped out and most of the glass display cases were smashed.
Cape Argus

Yahoo News 5 November 2012

Former employees of Ilanga newspaper sabotaged its Sunday edition by disconnecting the server hosting the issue. Nineteen members of staff were dismissed on Friday as a result of taking part in a wildcat strike earlier this year. Two of those workers evaded police at a demonstration outside KwaZulu-Natal’s oldest newspaper on Saturday, entered its premises, and managed to delete copy for the Sunday edition. Managing director Arthur Konigkramer said senior staff managed to recreate the newspaper. Journalists went on strike earlier this year to protest low salaries and poor work conditions.

Yahoo News 5 November 2012

Police barred DA leader Helen Zille and six other members of the Democratic Alliance from reaching the gates of Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma’s private home at the centre of a multi-million rand funding scandal. Police said they would not clear the roads to Nkandla of ANC supporters and local residents who gathered to prevent the DA from carrying out their “oversight’ inspection of Nkandla. Police formed a human chain across the road. Two water cannons, several armoured vehicles and a police helicopter were on standby. Zille said the DA had visited Nkandla "to see what a R250-million renovation with public money looks like". She said the use of taxpayers’ money to build the “five star palace ”meant Zuma had lost the right to call Nkandla a “private home”.

Cape farm workers protest
IOL News 5 November 2012

De Doorns - About 500 farm workers protested on the N1 highway at De Doorns on Monday morning, Western Cape police said.

Lieutenant-Coonlel Andrè Traut said the workers were locked in a wage dispute.

The highway between Touwriver and De Doorns was closed as a precautionary measure, with traffic diverted through Ceres.

No arrests were made and police were monitoring the situation. - Sapa

Chaos as town declares war on cops
Bianca du Plessis (IOL News) 5 November 2012

Cape Town - A Western Cape town was turned into a battlefield after fed up residents declared war on local cops.

The quiet town of Hawston was plunged into chaos after the latest clashes with police officers who locals say are members of the notorious “Slaan Squad” (Hit Squad).

Two suspects will appear in court on Monday charged in connection with the violent disturbances.

People went on the rampage on Saturday following the funeral of a suspected poacher, Steven “Sai” Figaji, 19, and a separate incident in which two alleged poachers were arrested.

Figaji is believed to have drowned at Breakfast Bay in Vermont last week, while allegedly harvesting perlemoen illegally. However, people who were with him claim law enforcement officials played a role in his death. This will now be investigated.

There has been repeated claims over the years that law enforcement officials dealt heavily with alleged poachers.

The weekend’s violence was also sparked by a dramatic cop car chase through the town as alleged members of the “Slaan Squad” pursued two suspected poachers.

One of the men got away, but local sources say his accomplice was taken away and allegedly beaten up by the “Slaaners”.

“They took him into the bushes and roughed him up and the community got upset because of this,” one 50-year-old man, who did not want to be identified, explained.

A thick cloud of smoke hung over Hawston on Saturday as the mob blocked the R43 between Botrivier and Hermanus with burning tyres.

Shots were fired between police and members of the public as the cops called for back-up.

This quickly escalated out of control.

Some residents set fire to police vehicles outside the K9 Dog Unit headquarters, which was also set ablaze.

One SAPS officer was hurt as he tried to save the dogs from the flames.

Hawston community leader Jan Gelderblom said he returned from Cape Town on Saturday afternoon to find “the fishing village in flames”.

He acknowledged the rumours that police had allegedly assaulted poachers and that the community had retaliated.

“Tempers are flaring. I haven’t seen Hawston in this state in a very long time. The R43 is on fire, the police dog unit offices in Hawston are in flames, everything is burning,” he said.

Hawston resident and local councillor Maurencia Gillion added: “We condemn the violence and damage to state property, but there must be looked at the source of the problem which caused it.

“This is not about politics or religion, this is about the violation of human rights and it affects the whole community.”

Deputy Provisional Police Commissioner Major-General Peter Jacobs travelled to Hawston as cops desperately tried to restore calm.

During a press conference, Jacobs claimed the attack on the K9 Unit was “planned in advance” by criminal elements who wanted to exploit the deepening tensions for their own “agenda”.

“The speed at which the attack on the dog unit happened shows fine planning,” Jacobs said.

“To flip four vehicles and get petrol for petrol bombs so fast is not easy.”

Jacobs added that two suspects “specifically connected to the incident” were arrested late on Saturday night following a shootout with cops.

The top cop also vowed that the Independent Police Investigation Directorate would take over the investigation into Figaji’s death.

And he promised that any complaints of alleged police brutality would be fully investigated.

Meanwhile, cops also confirmed that two local suspects, aged 21 and 27, were arrested in possession of 55 abalone and 12 crayfish.

“The estimated street value is about R2 000. The suspects will appear in the Hermanus Magistrates’ Court on Monday,” said police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk.

Charges of arson, public violence and malicious damage to property are now under investigation.

“One SAPS member was injured and his private vehicle damaged while he tried to save the dogs after the K9 Unit was set alight,” he added.

“Various private vehicles were damaged – one was burned and others damaged by rock throwing.”

Daily Voice with additional reporting by the Cape Argus

Another sit-in at AngloGold
SAPA 2 November 2012

Johannesburg - Another sit-in was taking place at AngloGold Ashanti's Tau Tona shaft near Carletonville on Friday as workers expressed dismay over the conditions of a bonus they were promised to stop striking.

“It is peaceful, there is no damage,” said AngloGold Ashanti spokesman Alan Fine.

The company, which has just managed to get 12,000 striking workers back to their posts, locked the Mponeng shaft for repairs after a similar sit-in there on Thursday which ended after discussions between management and workers.

Fine said miners made a small fire which damaged electrical supplies and had to be repaired. The shaft would reopen on Sunday.

In the meantime, management would talk to mineworkers to resolve the Tau Tona impasse.

However, miner Rodgers Motlhabane said by telephone workers arrived at the Mponeng shaft, one of the deepest in the world, for their night and morning shifts not knowing what was going on.

An armoured vehicle drove past telling them the shaft was closed.

“They never came to explain to us why we can't come underground. They just come and announce with a hippo (armoured vehicle),” he said.

“We are not on strike, because they are the ones who locked us out.”

Colleagues at the TauTona mine had let them know that they were going to have a sit-in.

They intended walking to a nearby koppie, where they gathered during the four weeks they were on strike, to discuss what to do.

Motlhabane said that according to the agreement made to return to work, they would receive an incentive bonus, with no conditions.

On their return, though, they were told the conditions were that: they not strike for the first two weeks they were back; there be no fatalities until November 16; they not engage in any action to disrupt production; and meet a high target for gold production.

“It is not possible. Anything can happen underground,” said Motlhabane.

“Conditions underground are very different.”

He said although he was a member of the National Union of Mineworkers, he was not speaking on the union's behalf, but as the “voice of the working class”.

Fine said the company believed that workers had known about the conditions attached to the bonus.

Even management's bonuses were linked to safety, and the company wanted to instil a strong sense of safety consciousness, he said.

Down with etolls down!
SAMWU Press Alert 1 November 2012

SAMWU Central Executive Committee delegates occupy etoll exhibit at Birchwood Hotel and Conference centre in Johannesburg, the invasion was to ensure no etags were being sold. Down with etolls down!

Teargas used aginst KZN miners
SAPA 1 November 2012

KwaZulu-Natal - KwaZulu-Natal police used teargas on Thursday to disperse striking miners from the Forbes & Manhattan Coal processing plant in Dundee.

According to miners and police officers on the scene, workers were protesting outside the processing plant of the Canadian mining company.

The protesting workers had attempted to prevent security guards from Mbube Security arriving at the plant on the outskirts of Dundee.

Police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker could not immediately confirm the incident.

On Wednesday, police said two striking miners were shot after security guards had chased them from the company’s Magdalena mine near Dannhauser, some 25 kilometres away, into a nearby informal settlement.

Mbube Security managing director Stuart Cumming denied on Thursday that guards had chased the miners.

He said the group of strikers earlier attempted to storm the magazine where mine explosives are stored.

“The first attack was warded off without any violence after police had used loud-hailers, asking them to leave the area near the magazine that was outside of the picketing line,” he said.

“Several more attacks were made on the magazine with the last one a decoy that saw the group split up.”

Cumming said police on the scene made no attempt to break up the group, and at least four strikers were seen carrying firearms.

“There was an exchange of gunfire during which two strikers were shot and wounded. They were taken to a clinic for treatment and later died,” he said.

“My guards never chased the strikers. Any loss of life is regrettable.”

The unions and the strikers should take responsibility for this loss of life, he said.

Mining operations at the Magdalena mine were suspended according to a statement released late Wednesday.

Forbes & Manhattan Coal chief executive Stephan Theron said: “In order to ensure the safety of all employees and to safeguard our assets, we have taken a decision to suspend all operations until such time as they are deemed safe and appropriate.”

Theron conveyed the company's condolences to the families of the deceased men.

Two counts of murder were being investigated. Police seized firearms from the security personnel to determine who had fired the fatal shots.

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Bongani Manyoni earlier expressed shock at the deaths.

He said he could confirm that one of the men was a NUM member and identified him as Sanele Mthethwa.

The Witness newspaper reported that the second man killed was Alfred Mdiyako.

The miners have been on strike at the mine since October 17.

Manyoni said the miners had initially been demanding a minimum R3 000 increase for the lowest paid workers, but had through negotiations modified their demands to an increase of between R1500 and R2 000 a month.

He said the owners of the mine, Forbes Coal, had been offering an 8.5 percent increase.

The lowest paid of the miners according to Manyoni were earning in the region of R3 800 a month, which meant the Forbes' offer amounted to an increase of less than R400 a month. - Sapa

COSATU NW condemns attacks on workers by racist security company
Cosatu 1 November 2012

The Congress of South African Trade Unions strongly condemns the attacks on the workers at the Rabone furniture factory who have been on strike for the past two months fighting for their rights. The company has not been complying with almost all the laws in our country and have been exploiting workers and killing them with their poor machines.
The workers demanded that they must be paid their provident fund and a living wage. Contract workers are being paid R300 and those who are permanently employed R400.

Workers are injured during working hours; some have lost lives, or parts of their bodies due to the non-compliance with the health and safety laws of our country.

We are on record that the Department of Labour must take the blame for all this criminal activity, the death of workers and the poor implementation of our labour laws.

The company agreed to meet with workers and their unions to take up the issues - that workers will be paid their provident fund and that the board would to be approached to resolve the critical non-compliance, as they were very clear and open that there is exploitation of workers.

What workers saw from their meetings with the board was the racist security company that is currently shooting unarmed workers. The worst thing which we are fighting is the unfair dismissal of those workers by the board which is led mostly by African black people who do not care about the poor workers’ conditions. What they care about is profit.

This morning the company employed scab labourers and workers were shot with firearms by the security company. We are asking the board and the Department of Labour to come today, as they have created the mess by defending a white racist managing director who is the main man in that company.

COSATU will be addressing those workers and we are calling on the media to expose this racist company owned by African blacks and managed by a racist white man exploiting our members.

Workers are currently demonstrating outside at the gate of the company while those who are injured are at the police station and the hospital.

For more information feel free to call COSATU NW Provincial Secretary, Solly Phetoe, on 0823044055.

Two killed in clash with guards at mine
Bongani Hans and Sapa 1 November 2012

Two mineworkers were shot dead when they allegedly tried to break into a mines armoury in Dannhauser, KwaZulu-Natal.

KwaZulu-Natal - Two mineworkers were shot dead when they allegedly tried to break into a mine’s armoury in Dannhauser, KwaZulu-Natal, on Wednesday.

It is alleged that the mine’s security guards chased the would-be intruders and fired shots at about 100 striking workers at the Forbes Coal Mine in the Ladybank area of Dannhauser.

Police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said that the workers had run into an informal settlement before the shots were fired at them.

The two men who were shot, Alfred Mzikayifani Mjiyakho and Sanele Mthethwa, died at the Mdakane Clinic.

Mjiyakho’s son, Sphamandla Mncube. said his 64-year-old father had run into a house.

“[Security guards] dragged him out of the house before they shot him,” said Mncube.

Mncube also works for the mine.

The miners downed tools about three weeks ago in a strike organised by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

NUM provincial secretary Bongani Manyoni said that the miners were demanding a pay increase of between R1 500 and R2 000 a month.

NUM shop steward Nkosinathi Ximba denied that striking workers had broken the law before they were confronted by the guards.

“Workers were just walking around outside the mine premises when security guards confronted them and threatened them with guns,” said Ximba.

“The workers scattered into the informal settlement. Guards followed them while firing shots.”

Amcu shop steward Paul Mthembu said: “We were asking for better salaries, but they gave us bullets.”

Naicker said that the police were investigating the incident.

“Police are busy on the scene and have seized firearms from all the security guards who were on duty to establish who the shooters were,” he said.

Forbes Coal Mine chief executive Stephan Theron said the company would comment later.

Meanwhile, the six-week strike at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) would continue, the national strike co-ordinating committee said on Wednesday.

“The workers are not going back until the main demand has been met,” said acting chairman Elias Juba.

Speaking after a meeting in Rustenburg, Juna said that workers at Amplats would continue to hold meetings near their workplace, regardless of whether they had been granted a permit.

The workers went on strike on September 12, demanding a monthly salary of R16 000. Amplats fired 12 000 of them after they failed to attend disciplinary hearings.

On Saturday, Amplats offered to reinstate all dismissed workers and to pay them a R2 000 once-off bonus if they returned to work by 7am on Tuesday, but the workers turned the offer down.

Separately, Lonmin Platinum has put unions on notice that it is contemplating restructuring and this could include retrenchments.

“I can confirm that we have notified the unions,” said Lonmin’s vice-president for human capital, Barnard Mokwena.

The notice to unions said that the number of employees who might be affected was not known at this stage.

Lonmin employs 28 042 people.

The company is at the centre of an inquiry into a shooting in which 34 people died and 78 were wounded when the police opened fire on August 16 at workers involved in a wildcat strike for more pay the Lonmin mine near Marikana.

Female inmates threaten strike over cosmetics
IOL News 31 October 2012

Female inmates at the Pretoria Central Correctional facility have threatened to go on a hunger strike should they not be allowed to have cosmetics and other luxuries they say are vital to their femininity.

Pretoria - Female inmates at the Pretoria Central Correctional facility have threatened to go on a hunger strike should they not be allowed to have cosmetics and other luxuries they say are vital to their femininity.

Calling from prison, an inmate who did not want to be named, said the cutting back on cosmetics, a reduction in cleaning materials for use in communal cells, as well as less time to exercise and no family days were the main reasons the inmates were threatening to take action.

“I speak on behalf of all inmates, sentenced and awaiting-trial prisoners,” she said.

“We all have the same problems here. Since the new head of the centre has taken over, we are treated like animals and not like women.”

The inmate, who is serving a 10-year sentence for murder, said everything had changed after the new head of the centre took over earlier this year.

“Since Feikie Mochesane has been appointed, our cosmetics have been limited, as [have] materials to clean our cells.

“There are about 40 to 50 women in a communal cell and we cannot keep the toilet and bath facilities clean with five litres of disinfectant every three months,” she said.

She said they were previously allowed to have as much soap, deodorant, face and body cream as they pleased. Now soap, for example, was limited to one bar a month.

Other issues included a lack of exercise and no opportunity to spend time with their families on family day.

“We are locked up like animals for 23 hours a day,” she said.

“We have also not had a family day this year. We have been given no explanation for this and feel it is very unfair. We have complained about this many times and nothing has been done.”

Family days are opportunities when the inmates are allowed to see their families for an entire day. They have a meal together and are able to spend quality time together.

Gauteng Correctional Services spokesman Ofentse Morwane said nothing had changed since Mochesane took over.

“She interacts with the prisoners on a regular basis while the area commissioner, Zebulon Monama, recently addressed the women about the allegations.

“Following the interaction with prison authorities, the inmates did not carry out their threat of going on a hunger strike,” he said.

Morwane said inmates were permitted to have cosmetics at all times. However, according to prison policy, cosmetics were limited for control purposes.

Space to store cosmetics was also an issue as each inmate had one locker.

“Hygiene is one of the basic requirements and inmates are encouraged to clean their cells on a daily basis. The allegations that there is shortage of cleaning material are incorrect and misleading as there is sufficient of such material at the centre,” he said.

Morwane said only sentenced offenders were entitled to family days as spending quality time with family was vital for rehabilitation.

“It is true that inmates at the female correctional facility have not had a family day to date. But centre management is currently busy with plans to have one.

“Important to note is that family days for offenders are not a right but rather a privilege,” he said.

Offenders (both sentenced and awaiting trial) still had normal visits from their families on a regular basis, he said.

“Awaiting-trial prisoners get their visits every Tuesday and Thursday, while sentenced offenders get their visits on weekends [Saturday and Sunday], as well as on public holidays,” he said.

Walmer residents protest against poor service delivery
SABC 31 October 2012

Scores of Walmer township residents in Port Elizabeth are again protesting against poor service delivery. The protest disrupted morning traffic making thousands of commuters late for work.

Residents have accused the metro of failing to fulfill its promises of building them RDP houses and improving road infrastructure in their township. Two months ago the residents embarked on a violent protest action.

Nelson Mandela Metro executive mayor, Zanoxolo Wayile and the regional chairperson of the ANC Nceba Faku visited the area and formed a task team, to come up with a plan of action for the development of the area.

The community has had no feedback. Community leader Mbulelo Tulman says: "The chairperson of Human Settlements Standing committee must be reshuffled and he must step down and he must resign as a councillor that will assist us because the council is failing because of him."

Residents have accused the metro of failing to fulfill its promises of building them RDP houses and improving road infrastructure in their township.

Tomorrow the metro council sits for the last time this year. The community says it wants their issues to top that meeting's agenda. They have planned to march to the City Hall and if their problems are not addressed they have threatened to disrupt the council meeting.

The metro had not returned calls to respond to the allegations by the time of going to air. A heavy police contingent monitored today's protest.

Strike at Goodyear continues
PE Herald 30 October 2012

THE general strike at the Goodyear South Africa tyre plant in Uitenhage entered its seventh day yesterday, but has not affected production in the region's automotive industry.

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa)-affiliated employees at the plant, which employs more than 4000 people, embarked on a protected strike last Tuesday when they began protesting against what Numsa termed a "unilateral decision of management" to stop paying what the union refers to as a "relief allowance".

The strike began when about 100 employees downed tools, demanding that the company – which had previously paid some workers a relief allowance when they continued work while others went on lunch breaks – continue to pay the allowance.

The region's two major vehicle manufacturers – Uitenhage-based Volkswagen and Port Elizabeth-based General Motors South Africa (GMSA) – both reported yesterday that production was continuing at their plants as usual.

"We have lost no units or any production to date. We have produced, but with some difficulty. Goodyear is just one of our suppliers," Volkswagen Group South Africa general manager of communications Matt Gennrich said. GMSA communications manager Denise van Huyssteen said production had not been interrupted by the strike and that no disruption was anticipated at this stage.

Confirming the continuing strike, Goodyear South Africa's group brand communications manager Lize Hayward said yesterday: "The strike at the Uitenhage plant enters its seventh day today. Production has ceased at the plant which remains closed to ensure the safety of all workers."

Hayward said that as part of ongoing negotiations, the company was meeting with union representatives again yesterday to seek a resolution to the strike action.

Numsa's Eastern Cape regional secretary Phumzile Nodongwe said last week that the company had historically paid the relief allowance to stand-in workers (standing in for those on breaks) and that it was halting the payments due to its impact on the company's budget.

Nodongwe also said that the union had been in talks with Goodyear's management for more than two months and that workers would only return to work when an agreement had been reached.

Yesterday he said: "At present, the situation is still the same and the workers are still on strike.

"We are currently in negotiations, but we expect to make an announcement on this matter during the course of the week."

Fired Amplats workers gathering
iAfrica.com31 October 2012

Almost 2000 fired mineworkers were gathering around two Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mines in Rustenburg on Wednesday morning as a reinstatement proposal stalled.

"There is no singing, no protesting. They are not unruly," said Warrant Officer Sam Tselanyane.

About 1500 people were gathering at Zakhele, a residential area near Amplats' Khusaleka mine, where a sub-station was set alight on Tuesday, and 300 more were gethering at the Komanani shaft.

Speaking by phone, Gaddafi Mdoda, who is part of a committee representing striking workers disgruntled with their unions, said marches were not planned for Tuesday and that he had not been informed of a meeting with the company's management for talks to resolve the situation.

Amplats did not respond to requests for comments for most of Tuesday, then said it would issue a statement on Wednesday. On Wednesday morning, it said by e-mail a statement would come later.

On Tuesday, 13 protesters were arrested and an attempted murder charge was laid against a mine security guard after a protester was shot in a day of clashes between protesters and security forces.

The wounded man was taken to hospital. A policeman was also treated after a stone hit him in the face, said Tselanyane.

A court date for the 13 arrested was not yet known and the guard had not been arrested or taken in for questioning by early on Wednesday morning.

On Saturday, Amplats said it had held discussions with recognised unions the National Union of Mineworkers, UASA, Solidarity and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, and representatives of the strike committee on an offer to reinstate 12 000 fired workers.

In a statement, it said the offer to return to work by Tuesday 30 October had been "accepted by all the worker representatives, the recognised unions and the Workers' Committee and they have committed to communicate the offer to their members today [ 27 October]".

Mdoda said this was not what had happened.

There had been a meeting where the proposal was made by the company and representatives had left to discuss it with the workers.

"Before we reached Rustenburg town, people were angry about why we have done this thing without consulting them, because the radio was saying this and this," said Mdoda.

"It seems like they were saying we, as the committee, had agreed with unions and management without their consent. It looks like a betrayal, though we did not agree on anything."

Workers wanted to have a choice and to be able to debate and decide on what was on the table, he said.

Mdoda said that even he, as an Amplats employee, might have wanted to accept the reinstatement proposal made to those fired, but that the situation had now become difficult.

Miners shot with live ammo - claim
Jenni Evans (IOL News) 30 October 2012

North West - Police, mine security and striking mineworkers clashed at a second Anglo Platinum mine (Amplats) in Rustenburg on Tuesday, a spokesman for a mineworkers' lobby group said.

“Workers were marching to (Bathopele) mine. They were met with police, who fired with live ammunition. A number were shot,” Mametlwe Sebei, a spokesman for the Democratic Socialist Movement, claimed.

The protesters were part of a group of around 12,000 mineworkers the company had fired, but had said they would reinstate if they went back to work by the 7am shift on Tuesday.

Sebei said he was not present at the shooting, but arrived shortly afterwards. People had run away, leaving the injured on the ground. Members of the organisation were trying to establish how many people were injured and the type of injuries.

North West police spokesman Warrant Officer Sam Tselanyane could not immediately comment on this, or the allegation that live ammunition was used, as he was verifying the information provided to him.

Comment from Amplats was not immediately available.

Tselanyane said that earlier, a policeman was hit in the face with a stone during a march by around 300 people to Anglo Platinum's Khuseleka shaft.

“The marching protesters became violent and started throwing stones and (waving) all sorts of dangerous weapons at the police,” he said.

Police use rubber bullets to disperse the mineworkers, who eventually ran back into the nearby informal settlement, he said.

His colleague Captain Dennis Adriao said earlier that around 4am police and the fire brigade were called when a power sub-station at Amplats' Khuseleka shaft was set alight.

Police and strikers clashed, but by 9am police felt the situation was under control.

By late morning police said around 3 000 striking mineworkers had gathered at the Khuseleka sports ground. Sebei said the numbers were higher.

No arrests had been made and police were monitoring the situation.

In a separate incident police said they found a shotgun in a veld near Samancor's mine in Kroondal, Rustenburg. It had been taken forcibly from a police constable during a confrontation with striking mineworkers on October 16.

Sebei said striking mineworkers had rejected an offer by Amplats to get everybody back to work on Tuesday.

This confirmed a warning on Tuesday by Gaddafhi Ndoda, a spokesman for the national strike committee, which represents some miners.

The company said at the weekend it would reinstate 12 000 workers it had fired for being on strike since mid-September.

The offer included a once-off “hardship allowance” of R2 000, net of tax, to help employees affected by the no-work, no-pay principle. Employees who did not participate in the illegal strike would be paid a once-off “loyalty allowance” of R2000, net of tax.

Employees affected by the no-work, no-pay principle could also apply for a payment advance of up to R2500, deductible from their salaries over a six-month period starting January 2013.

Comment from the National Union of Mineworkers, Uasa and Solidarity, which Amplats said were party to the agreement, was not immediately available.

Sebei said workers were holding out for a monthly salary of R16 000.

The clashes took place as the Farlam commission probed the shooting deaths of 34 miners and the wounding of 78 near the Lonmin Marikana mine on August 16. - Sapa

Rubber bullets, teargas fired after Amplats blaze
Jenni Evans 30 October 2012

Police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse around 1 000 people at Amplats' Rustenburg operation after a power sub-station was set alight.

"Police had to use teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to clear the crowd," said Captain Dennis Adriao.

Around 12 000 workers, fired for being on strike, were reinstated at the weekend and were supposed to return to work on Tuesday morning after a lengthy stoppage at the platinum producer.

Adriao said the fire brigade and the police got a call at around 4am that the Khuseleka sub-station – which is on Amplats' property, next to the Nkaneng residential area – had been set alight.

"Since then we have been having running clashes with groups of about 1 000 people who formed a barricade to prevent police from entering," he said.

Speaking just after 9am, he said the situation had quietened down and that the fire had been brought under control but that the police were still in the area maintaining a high visibility.

No arrests had been made.

Part of a larger group
Police believe the group could be part of a larger group of striking miners because they were on mine property.

Comment from Amplats was not immediately available.

On Monday evening, the company said it had held a meeting with striking workers' representatives, but that the outcome was not immediately available to the media.

At the weekend, the company announced that it had agreed with unions and workers' representatives to reinstate the 12 000 employees dismissed and that they were expected to return to work on Tuesday morning.

They had been on strike since September 12 demanding a monthly salary of R16 000. They said their demand was higher than the R12 500 other miners were asking for because Amplats was better off than other companies.

Violent situation
Part of the return to work deal included a once-off-payment of R2 000.

However, the Rustenburg Strike Co-ordinating Committee, a group working outside of traditional union and employee representation, said workers would not return to their posts on Tuesday.

"The strike is on. Workers have crushed the proposal to return to work," said spokesperson Gadaffhi Madoda.

He said workers had heard of the agreement to return to work through the media, which made it difficult for their representatives to explain the agreement to them.

He warned that the situation could turn violent on Tuesday.

Negotiations are underway at the Chamber of Mines to form a central bargaining unit for the platinum sector so that all platinum mining companies will offer the same salaries for the same jobs to avoid anger over differences in increases. – Sapa

ADT guards strike over cameras on cars
Aziz Hartley 29 October 2012

Private security firm ADT’s vehicles have become less visible in some areas because of a wildcat strike.

About 50 guards have been on strike since Wednesday in protest at video cameras being installed in their patrol vehicles.

ADT managing director Danna Strydom declined to say which areas were affected, but Kirstenhof Community Police Forum chairman Geoffrey Fox said most were in the southern suburbs.

Fox said five neighbourhood watches in the Kirstenhof precinct, which included Heathfield, Bergvliet and Tokai, had increased patrols to help offset the drop in visibility of ADT patrol vehicles.

“Those guards on strike are against cameras being installed in their cars. The crazy thing is that the cameras are there to protect them and assist them, rather than monitoring their work performance,” Fox said.

Hout Bay Community Police Forum chairman Jim McKenna said the seaside suburb had not been affected.

The sector’s union, the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, did not sanction the strike, but ADT would continue talks with the guards and their union to resolve the matter, Strydom said.
Satawu officials could not be reached.

Politicking in the platinum belt set to intensify
Mail & Guardian 29 October 2012

Clashes between SAPS, miners and trade unionists show the political standoff developing in the North West's platinum mining belt will deepen.

After bloody clashes this weekend, the political standoff developing in the North West's platinum mining belt looks set to intensify this week. (Gallo)

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and other Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) affiliates led a march to Olympia Stadium in Rustenburg this weekend and were met by striking mineworkers from the nearby Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine.

Blocking their entry to the stadium, strikers pelted approaching marchers with stones while burning T-shirts bearing Cosatu and NUM insignia.

After a tense standoff between the two parties, members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse those blocking the Cosatu-led march.

Minor injuries were reported by both sides as clashes broke out between protesters and Cosatu members.

"I wouldn't be surprised if there is something sinister going on here. The NUM wants to normalise this situation and we are being prevented from doing so," NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka told the Mail & Guardian on Sunday.

The march came hours after Amplats announced its decision to rehire 12 000 striking workers who were dismissed after several weeks of industrial action at the mine.

The area has been a hotbed of violence since August when a wildcat strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine culminated in the killing of 34 miners at the hands of police on August 16.

Suppressing the people
Seshoka said those blocking the Cosatu march over the weekend were nothing but "counter-revolutionaries" and "attention-seekers".

"We don't organise criminals or the unemployed," he added.

"If you looked at the people at that march there were many young people – too young to even be employed at the mine."

But Mametlwe Seibei, an executive member of the Democratic Socialist Movement – a group claiming to represent striking workers at Amplats and surrounding areas – said the Cosatu march was a witch-hunt.

"They are getting police involved to suppress the people. This whole thing is a set up," Seibei told the M&G.

"The march was about attacking people who have broken ranks within the NUM and Cosatu."

Seibei said all efforts by the NUM and Cosatu affiliates in the North West region were attempts to suppress dissatisfied workers.

"These organisations are no longer negotiating on behalf of workers – they are merely power hungry."

Seibei added the movement would continue its efforts to ensure workers were treated fairly.

"We have made it very clear: We will not allow this to become a political football – this is about people," he added.

But both the NUM and Cosatu accused the organisation of themselves exploiting workers for their own political ends.

"Who are the Democratic Socialist Movement? They are nobody, they want to do this to gain standing and formally launch their poltical party," Seshoka said.

Not going to end
Professor Steven Friedman, director at the University of Johannesburg's Centre for the Study of Democracy, said the events unfolding in the North West were indicative of the current political climate.

"This is what happens in labour federations over the world," he told the M&G.

"Workers will rebel against their union when they feel they are no longer being heard. It is up to Cosatu to prove if they have complete legitimacy in this area."

Although Friedman underplayed the possibility of events in the North West mining belt impacting other political events in the country, he did say it would be best to be brought under control "as a matter of urgency".

But it would seem tensions will continue to flare for the foreseeable future as both the NUM and Democratic Socialist Movement have vowed not to back down.

"It looks like we could go back every week – this is not going to end. These people must know whose territory they are in," Seshoka said.

No end in sight for Amplats strike
Molaole Montsho 29 October 2012

The Rustenburg strike coordinating committee says the protest at Anglo American Platinum will continue despite earlier claims to the contrary.

The Rustenburg strike coordinating committee says the protest at Anglo American Platinum will continue despite earlier claims to the contrary. (AFP)

The strike is on. Workers have crushed the proposal to return to work," committee spokesperson Gaddafhi Mdoda said.

Amplats said in a statement at the weekend it had reached an agreement with unions and workers' representatives to reinstate the 12 000 employees dismissed, and that they were expected to return to work on Tuesday.

Mdoda said workers had heard of this through the media, which made it difficult for their representatives to explain the agreement to them.

"We have been in meetings with management and the unions. We cannot take any offer without consulting the workers. They have rejected the offer."

He expressed concern that the situation could turn violent on Tuesday if some workers did report for duty.

"We have not signed that agreement. The sms sent [by the company] to workers is complicating this issue and confusing workers. We call on workers not to be violent, but to resolve this peacefully."

Amplats said it had offered to reinstate all workers on the same terms and conditions of employment as applied before their illegal strike. The workers would receive a final written disciplinary warning instead of being dismissed.

The company had further offered a once-off hardship allowance of R2 000 to help workers deal with financial difficulties arising from the no-work, no-pay principle in place while they were striking.

Workers who did not participate in the strike would receive a once-off loyalty allowance of R2 000.

In addition, employees affected by the no-work, no-pay rule could apply for loan of up to R2 500 each, repayable over six months from January 2013.

Workers were expected to report for duty at 7am on Tuesday.

Amplats workers went on strike on September 12, demanding a monthly salary of R16 000.

On Saturday, National Union of Mineworkers' secretary Frans Baleni said strikes could score short-term gains, but result in permanent losses.

"Prolonged strikes may lead to the company closing down," he said after a Cosatu rally in Rustenburg. -–Sapa

Amplats workers chase Cosatu marchers away
Mail & Guardian 27 October 2012

Some Cosatu marchers who arrived in Rustenburg were chased away by a group of striking Anglo Platinum workers dressed in black T-shirts.

The rest of the marchers were still making their way towards the Olympia Stadium in Rustenburg from the city centre.

Marchers from the Congress of the South African Trade Unions, clad in their signature red T-shirts, stood 500m from the strikers.

The strikers then made their way towards them, and the Cosatu marchers fled all directions.

One of the strikers, Tshepang Moloi, said they belonged to the Rustenburg branch of the National Striking Committee.

The committee claims to represent striking mineworkers in Gauteng, North West and Limpopo.

'We are not going back'
Moloi said they would not return to work until Amplats gave them a R16 000 salary increase.

"We have a message for [Cosatu general secretary] Zwelinzima Vavi: 'We are not going back to work until our demands are met'."

He said a R2 000 bonus was never negotiated by unions or worker representatives."It comes from management."

On Saturday Amplats announced that it would re-instated 12 000 striking workers who were dismissed after they did not attend disciplinary hearings.

Moloi denied that his group attacked Cosatu marchers.

"All we did was ask them politely to take off their T-shirts, which we then set on fire."

The strikers carried placards. One read: 'Don't let police get away with murder.'

The rest of the marchers were still making their way to the stadium.

Amplats workers have been on a wildcat strike since September 12, soon after the strikes began at Lonmin's Marikana mine, demanding to be paid a minimum of R16 000 a month. –

Cops use rubber bullets to disperse strikers
IOL News 27 October 2012

North West - Police fired rubber bullets and used stun grenades to disperse a group of striking Anglo-American Platinum (Amplats) workers at a Cosatu rally in Rustenburg.

The group, clad in black t-shirts were blocking the entrance to the Olympia stadium where the rally was set to be held.

Police had been escorting the Congress of SA Trade Union marchers to the stadium when the confrontation took place.

A Sapa reporter at the scene said the group crossed the police line, and police fired rubber bullets to disperse them.

The group said earlier that it belonged to the Rustenburg branch of the National Strikers Committee.

The committee claims to represent striking mineworkers in Gauteng, North West and Limpopo.

They said they would not return to work until their demand of R16 000 salary increase was met.

The rally would be addressed by SA Communist Party secretary general Blade Nzimande, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and Cosatu's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. - Sapa

Marches affect Joburg traffic
IOL News 27 October 2012

Johannesburg - Traffic will be affected in Parktown and the Johannesburg city centre as two unions embark on separate protest marches, metro police said on Saturday.

The separate marches were organised by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (NUMSA) and the SA Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU).

“Members of NUMSA will first march to premier Nomvula Mokonyane's office and then proceed to Braamfontein. SAMWU will march from Parktown to the city centre,” said metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

NUMSA members would gather at Beyers Naude Square.

They would also march to the offices of the Department of Labour in Braamfontein to hand over a memorandum.

The SAMWU marchers would gather at Peter Roos Park in Parktown and then march to the metro centre to deliver a memorandum.

Streets in the city centre including Sauer, Simmonds, Fox, de Korte and Joubert would be closed from 11am to 1pm. - Sapa

Protest in Durban over wage ruling
IOL News 26 October 2012

Hundreds of municipal workers began gathering at Currie's Fountain stadium in Durban on Friday for a protest against the SA Local Government Association (Salga).

There was a heavy police presence outside the stadium, with a number of Nyala riot vehicles and a water cannon parked prominently.

The protest was organised by the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) against Salga's intention to appeal against a labour court ruling.

Earlier this year, the labour court upheld a wage curve agreement between the collective bargaining parties, signed in April 2010.

Under the agreement, some workers would receive back pay from September 2009.

The workers were expected to march through the Durban city centre to hand over a memorandum at the city hall.

Numsa marches for miners
IOL News 26 October 2012

Members of the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) will march through Johannesburg's city centre on Saturday in a show of solidarity with other unions.

National spokesman Castro Ngobese, said the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) had taken a decisive resolution for all affiliates to give their political and mass support to mineworkers in their struggle for a living wage.

The protesters would converge at the Library Gardens at 10am and make their way to the labour department in Braamfontein to hand over a list of demands. These included scrapping labour brokers.

Marchers would then proceed to the Chamber of Mines to submit a demand for a “living wage” for mineworkers.

Their last port of call would be the offices of the Gauteng premier.

“We will hand over a memorandum of demands to the government to scrap the commodification (sic) of Gauteng highways through e-tolls,” Ngobese said.

“We will also ask them to stop the mooted implementation of the youth wage subsidy as proposed by the National Treasury in cahoots with apartheid apologists, the Democratic Alliance.” - Sapa

Striking Harmony Gold workers heed call to return
Mail & Guardian 25 October 2012

Harmony Gold is "pleased and encouraged" that workers at its Kusasalethu operations abided a 6am ultimatum to return to work to avoid being fired.

"A large percentage of our workers have returned," said spokesperson Marian van der Walt as workers arrived en masse before the cut off time to make sure they kept their jobs.

On the evening of October 2, a group of workers prevented others from reporting for duty at the mine near Carletonville, west of Johannesburg, and operations ground to a halt.

On Monday, October 23, the mine issued an ultimatum to 5 400 workers saying that if they did not return by 6am on Thursday they would be fired.

"Thousands are going through the turnstiles," said an upbeat Van der Walt.

She said mining had not resumed immediately because the miners had to go through certain procedures such as medical checks that were compulsory after long breaks and safety checks also had to be carried out.

The company would issue a statement later on Thursday with more information on how many people had returned, whether any dismissals would be necessary and what the situation was with mining operations.

Harmony Gold will join AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields in a meeting with three unions at the Chamber of Mines on Thursday to discuss proposals related to clause 11 of a wage agreement that applies until mid-2013.

The clause addresses the wages of certain categories of the lowest paid workers and rock drill operators.

Harmony considered the strike unprotected because it had signed a wage agreement in the chamber for increases ranging between 7.5% and 10% between various job categories and a 1% profit share after capital per quarter.

When it issued the ultimatum on Monday, the company said it had lost close to 13 000 ounces of production due to the strike.

The Kusasalethu strike was part of a wave of strikes across the gold and platinum sector where workers commonly called for an increase to R12 500 and expressed dissatisfaction with their union representation.

In the platinum sector, a clash between strikers and police on August 16, left 34 people, mostly miners at Lonmin Platinum, dead. – Sapa

Letter to Zuma gets flood of support
Daneel Knoetze 24 October 2012

A Cape Town headmaster is being seen as a spokesman for SA frustrations, after his open letter to President Jacob Zuma went viral on news websites.

Stephen Price, principal of Bergvliet High School, says he has been inundated with letters and phone calls of support since the letter was published in the Cape Argus two weeks ago.

The letter draws attention to a disjuncture between the enthusiasm and potential of matric candidates – Price uses Bergvliet’s Grade 12 class as an example – and the failure of the country’s leaders to create a conducive space for them to flourish as young adults.

“It’s been absolutely unexpected and overwhelming. To me it’s an indication that I touched on a raw nerve in our society. Many people have indicated that they agree with my views and have thanked me for the contribution that my letter made to voicing these,” said Price.

One respondent wrote: “Even if [your letter] does not generate a response from that high office, please be assured that it is a confidence-building piece for those of us who support what it is that you and your band of dedicated teachers are doing.”

Price conceived the letter as he was drafting his speech for Bergvliet’s Grade12 valedictory service.

“I wanted to remind them of what we had taught them, but also to warn them about the uncertain future and tough realities that they were entering outside the school’s safe environment,” he says, referring to Marikana, strikes, political corruption and other problems.

“For me, it is the head of state who needs to be called to task and take responsibility for this sad state of affairs.”

Criticism directed at Price has argued that Bergvliet is a privileged school and for this reason cannot purport to comment on behalf of the rest of the country’s matric candidates and teachers.

“Just look at the subheadings of my letter – ‘respect, unity of purpose, spirit of participation’ – you don’t need money to nurture these principles,” Price said.
Cape Argus

Work to resume at Toyota's SA plant
IOL News 24 October 2012

Production at Toyota South Africa Motors’ Prospecton Plant in Durban is set to resume after a legal strike at one of its suppliers was resolved.

Toyota stopped full production at its Prospecton plant on Wednesday 17 October after a strike at Toyota Boshoku‚ an independent supplier of car seats and door linings‚ stopped supply of these components‚ Leo Kok‚ Senior Manager: Corporate Communication said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Toyota South Africa Motors remained in constant contact with the negotiating parties for the duration of the strike and it is confident that it will be able to return to full production today -Wednesday 24 October‚ he said. - I-Net Bridge

Mall developer gets interdict
IOL News 19 October 2012

A Burgersfort ward councillor and local ANCYL officials were on Friday interdicted from interfering with the construction of a mall in the Mpumalanga town.

The High Court in Pretoria granted an urgent interdict to Beckers Building Contractors and Resilient Properties, interdicting six Burgersfort residents and a group known as the Platinum Forum from trespassing on the property and interfering with their work.

The respondents include the ANC Youth League secretary and chairman of ward 18 in Burgersfort, the ward 18 councillor in the Greater Tubatse municipality, a local business co-ordinator, and a woman acting as the liaison officer between the building contractor and local residents.

They may not claim any moneys from the contractor as compensation for persuading workers not to strike. They may not disrupt the contractor's business in any manner.

The contractor's managing director Barend Becker said in an affidavit that they had entered into contracts with local sub-contractors and had hired local workers.

The community liaison was appointed to help hire local labourers and sub-contractors, and participate in any steering committee established by the local municipality.

A local business co-ordinator was appointed for a monthly fee of R6000 to find local sub-contractors. Becker said although agreements were in place and the project started in May this year, it was plagued by industrial unrest.

In July the local sub-contractors brought all work to a halt, demanding their contracts be re-negotiated. The company was forced to agree to a 48 percent wage increase for sub-contractors, and a 20 percent increase for local labourers.

A further strike was averted later that month but a group, including two local ANCYL members, approached the company in August informing them workers wanted further increases.

The company was forced to pay R105 000 for “protection from any unprotected strikes”, which Becker said amounted to extortion.

“(We) were astounded by the influence this group exercised over the local labourers and... sub-contractors and for the time being the project seemed to be under control, and there was no labour unrest or rumours of strikes after payment was made,” Becker said.

Workers again went on strike later in August. At a subsequent meeting the business co-ordinator, local ward councillor and ANCYL chairman demanded a further R105 000 to “close the chapter”. Becker understood this was to protect them from further industrial action.

“Due to the ongoing threat and reality of unprotected strikes (we) had no choice but to pay the extortion money for the so-called protection by these individuals,” he said.

Local employees and sub-contractors however embarked on a full-scale strike in September. The company was approached by a group under the leadership of the local African National Congress Youth League secretary, who had by then become a sub-contractor in his own right.

The group was threatened with further strike action if their list of demands was not met.

“This was clearly aimed at extortion and in order to exert unlawful pressure on the applicant to become part of a scheme to benefit these individuals in their personal capacities,” Becker said.

Contractors and labourers who wished to continue with the development were intimidated, which resulted in stop-start work.

They were seriously hampered in their efforts to meet their contractual obligations, in terms of which the project had to be concluded by May next year.

The company had already suffered irreparable losses which threatened its financial viability, and risked paying prohibitively expensive penalties, he said.

The respondents were given until November 26 to supply reasons why a permanent interdict should not be granted against them. - Sapa

GoodYear Workers down tools in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape
Cosatu 23 October 2012

Workers at Goodyear in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape province, belonging to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) have down tools and they are embarking on a protected strike as from this morning Tuesday 23 October 2012.

The workers are demanding a Relief Allowance when placed on staggered break, which has always been a standard practice or a norm within the company.

The company will be placing a sizeable number of workers on a staggered break without the usual payment of the Relief Allowance to the affected workers. This has been totally rejected by our angry members!

This will be a huge set-back to these struggling workers given the socio-economic burden imposed on them by the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequalities, and escalating cost of living facing the majority of poor and working class households.

“The bosses are arrogantly taking away workers’ hard won benefits without following established rules of engagement as set-out in the Labour Relations Actions (LRA).
Clearly they want to create a state of anarchy and render unions useless.

We will never succumb to their union bashing tactics.

They failed to liquidate us during apartheid; they will even fail under this new dispensation. We are prepared to take this battle to their backyard”, says Phumzile Nodongwe.

He also sent a stinging message to Goodyear capitalist bosses by quoting the revered and late Mozambique leader Samora Machel which says...”The rich man’s dog gets more in the way vaccination, medicine and medical care than do the workers upon whom the rich man’s wealth is built”.

Although the Relief Allowance has never been part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement settlement reached between the union and the employer, but it was willy-nilly parachuted behind the tables by the employer.

The employer cannot now hastily renegade from this, without following proper channels of engagement with the workers. This Relief Allowance has been a great source of assistance or relief to the livelihoods of these workers, including their families.

We call on Goodyear bosses to open doors of engagement with the union with the sole intention of soliciting a settlement on this impasse. The failure by company to heed this call, they will feel the wrath of the striking workers until their demand is met.

Contact: Phumzile Nodongwe, Regional Secretary – 078 802 3140

Norman Mampane (Communications Officer)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street

P.O.Box 1019
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 or Direct 010 219-1342
Mobile: +27 72 416 3790

Cosatu to protest 'trick' of mass dismissals at mines
Mail & Guardian 23 October 2012

The Congress of the South African Trade Unions says it will hold a protest action against the dismissal of illegally striking mineworkers.
Cosatu says it will hold a protest action against the dismissal of illegally striking mineworkers. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

"In the coming weeks we will be engaged in a massive mobilisation of workers throughout the economy to engage in solidarity protests in support of the workers' demands in the mining industry," said Cosatu spokesperson Norman Mampane in a statement on Monday.

The trade union federation said it was disgusted and angered by the "mass dismissals" of mineworkers engaged in unprotected strikes.

"We are aware that some mining companies have opportunistically been using such a fragile trick to cold heartedly dismiss workers without paying them retrenchment packages that they would have been required to pay."

Mampane called on mining companies to reinstate workers that had already missed the ultimatums instructing miners to return to work.

"And we also call for the restoration in full of all the benefits that accrue to these workers as though they were never dismissed."

He said: "If the mining bosses do not accede to this demand, the totality of the capitalist class will face the full might of organised workers and also will face stiff resistance in every corner of the economy." – Sapa

Clean energy protest lands activists in jail

Erin Hanekom 24 October 2012

BOBBY Peek, former Wentworth resident, was among the 14 environmental activist arrested yesterday, October 23 while protesting at the Eskom Megawatt Park in Johannesburg.

The arrested include activists from Earthlife, Greenpeace Africa and GroundWork’s Bobby Peek.

According to police, Eskom has laid charges of trespassing, intimidation, malicious damage to property and illegal gathering against the activists.

The activists handed over a banner to the electricity suppliers at dawn yesterday, reading 'Eskom: Under new management.' They then locked themselves to the front entrance of the building and chained themselves to a table outside the building.

The protest was in response to Eskom's announcement of further electricity price increases to pay for new coal-fired power stations.

They called for an end to South Africa's addiction to coal by investing in renewable energy instead, providing sustainable jobs, preventing a water crisis, providing affordable and accessible electricity for all and making sure people no longer suffer from the health impacts associated with coal-fired power stations and coal mines.

Chained to the table were Bobby Peek from GroundWork, acting as the new Eskom CEO, Makoma Lekalakala from Earthlife Africa JHB, as the new stakeholder engagement director, and Melita Steele from Greenpeace Africa as the new spokesman.

"We are here today because Eskom has clearly failed the people of South Africa, and we are united in calling for a fundamental shift away from coal by Eskom. While government pumps billions into developing new Eskom coal-fired power stations to power industry, health is increasingly affected by the toxic by-products of coal from industries. This happens during each step of the coal-to-energy lifecycle. Those exposed to this constant air pollution suffer from chronic respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis and pneumonia," said GroundWork director, Bobby Peek.

"Water plays a critical role in poverty alleviation and development. At the moment, Eskom is holding our water resources hostage by burning coal to produce electricity. This uses staggering amounts of the scarce resource, and pushes this country to the brink of a water crisis. The reality is Eskom needs to shift away from coal to safeguard SA's future. There are effective alternatives to coal, but there is no substitute for water," said Melita Steele, Greenpeace Africa's climate and energy campaigner.

Before their arrest, the ‘new management team’ said they were prepared to end their protest once they were invited into Megawatt Park to formally take over as Eskom's official new management.

The activists remain in custody at the Sandton police station, but no charges have been brought against them.

"Our paramount concern is for the welfare of the 14 activists that are under detention. For us, the charge of illegal gathering is a serious contradiction, as this refers to a gathering in a public area, according to South African law; and further contradicts the charge of trespass," said Greenpeace Africa's executive director, Michael Onyeka-O'brien.

Eco activists detained
City Press23 October 2012

Johannesburg – Police detained seven environmental activists protesting at Eskom's Megawatt Park headquarters, in northern Johannesburg, on Tuesday, Greenpeace said.

"Seven of our activists have been forcibly removed," said Greenpeace spokesperson Fiona Musana.

The activists had chained themselves to the front entrance of Megawatt Park, to protest Eskom's continued reliance on coal and the parastatal's application to again raise electricity tariffs.

Police cut their chains, handcuffed them, and took them to the Sandton police station, said Musana.

The police were not immediately available for comment.

At dawn, protesters from Greenpeace, groundWork and Earthlife Africa unfurled a banner across the front entrance of Megawatt Park.

"Eskom is under new management," the banner announced.

At the same time, activists chained themselves to the front entrance.

"Activists are asking to be invited into the headquarters as new management in order to bring about changes South Africans need," Greenpeace said in a statement on Tuesday.

Eskom said it had the same objectives as the activists, and did not object to peaceful protest.

However, spokesperson Hilary Joffe said it did have a concern about safety.

"We do engage with NGOs [non-governmental organisations] and I think we all have the same objectives as a country. We want to secure the supply of electricity, give access to energy for all, and [provide] cleaner electricity. The debate is about how we get there."

On Monday, Eskom put forward an application for a 16% tariff hike every year for the next five years.

Of this, 3% would go toward the cost of renewable energy produced by independent companies.

Eskom's average generation cost over this period was only 30 cents a kilowatt hour, compared to around R2 a kWh for renewable energy.

"The point to be made is that the cost of energy from independent power producers is up to 10 times Eskom's current cost of generation," said Joffe.

As a result, South Africans needed to ask how quickly renewable energy could, and should, be brought into the energy mix, she said.

Greenpeace said Bobby Peek, the director of clean air activist group groundWork, was its "new Eskom CEO"; that Makoma Lekalakala from Earthlife Africa, Johannesburg, was its "new Eskom stakeholder engagement director"; and that Greenpeace activist Melita Steele was its "new Eskom spokesperson".

The "new management" chained themselves to a table outside the building.

Lekalakala said the action was prompted, in part, by Eskom's decision to seek the increase in electricity tariffs, which was announced on Monday.

Renewable energy
Another factor had been a perceived lack of interest in renewable energy.

"There has been an outcry from the public for Eskom to massively invest in renewable energy. They have ignored this, and continued in their addiction to coal," she said.

Greenpeace and the other organisations promised to listen to the people and phase out coal generation in favour of renewable energy. Eskom should include them as part of the management team, said Lekalakala.

"We are also making a statement by occupying this space. Eskom belongs to the people, it doesn't belong to corporates."

Peek said the health of communities was affected by toxic by-products from coal, and as a result suffered from chronic respiratory diseases.

Steele condemned Eskom's water usage as a result of its reliance on coal.

"There are effective alternatives to coal, but there is no substitute for water," she said.

Eskom used 10 000 litres of water a second, according to Greenpeace.

CSAAWU Picket at Karel Swart’s hearing - 22 October
CSAAWU Commercial Stevedoring Agricultural & Allied Workers Union 22 October 2012

CSAAWU is facing ongoing intimidation and attacks by bosses on the farms, particularly at Leeuwenkuil farm in Agter-Paarl, Cape Town. Here, the farmer is denying workers’ rights to freedom of association and freedom of speech.

The union has been effectively banned from the farm and the farmer, Willie Dreyer, has intimidated workers by getting rid of worker leaders and laying false charges of attempted murder against two farm workers, Amos White and Patrick Philander, and charges of assault against CSAAWU’s Assistant General Secretary, Karel Swart.

We call for solidarity outside court hearings. Stand with CSAAWU against repression and attacks on the working class:
• Cde Karel’s hearing will be held at the Magistrate Court, Cape Town, on 22nd October.
• Cdes Amos White and Patrick Philander’s hearing will be held at Magistrate D Court, Paarl, on 23rd November.

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