'We'll give them a new Marikana'
Nearly 13000 striking miners - facing eviction from their hostels - have promised a wave of unprecedented violence at Goldfields' KDC West mine in Carletonville. The miners have been on strike for three weeks.
The mine has been granted a court order to dismiss the miners, and is seeking a court order to evict them.
About 5500 angry KDC miners armed themselves with spears, knobkerries and axes, and had a tense stand-off with the mine's in-house security, who had arrested eight of the striking miners' leaders yesterday.
As word of the arrests spread, miners called for the removal of mine management.
With security personnel threatening to open fire on them, workers took to Mphahlele hill outside the mine, establishing their own "Marikana".
With anger rising, miners turned on one of their own, accusing him of spying for Gold Fields. After beating the man, several miners were ready to hack him to death but various leaders formed a protective barricade around him.
A representative for the workers, Professor Gcuma, said: "This will not end because management says it must. It will end when we get what we want - a fair living wage."
Striker Simphiwe Myaleni said: "We do not want to fight, but we are left with no choice. We gathered peacefully at the mine and were threatened. They have chased us from the hostels, but we will not run any more. We are not afraid. If they come for us, we are ready. We have our hill and if they want another Marikana we will give it to them," he said.
Myaleni said they were not interested in the Marikana commission of inquiry.
"It cannot feed us. It cannot bring back those who died. It will not punish those who caused all of this or give us good jobs to feed our families."
Gold Fields spokesman Sven Lunsche said the arrests were made on mine property.
"Since the beginning of the strike we have been gathering evidence against these men. We handed the evidence, including video footage, to a public prosecutor, who agreed to the arrests."
Lunsche said miners had until midday to vacate the hostels.
"As with all other orders they ignored this order. We are in the process of getting an eviction order because the hostels are being used to plan and carry out violence."
Police spokesman Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said eight people had been arrested yesterday.
"They will appear in court on charges of public violence, intimidation and inciting violence. We have deployed extra manpower to the area and are rolling out security plans to deal with such incidents," he said.
Retired judge Ian Farlam, heading the commission of inquiry into the Marikana massacre, yesterday visited the mine's hostels near the Wonderkop stadium and the Nkaneng informal settlement, where a police raid took place.