Strike turns violent

05 February 2014 - 02:03 By KINGDOM MABUZA
FIGHTING TALK: Platinum mineworkers have vowed to continue the strike that has brought the sector to a standstill, creating uncertainty for investors
FIGHTING TALK: Platinum mineworkers have vowed to continue the strike that has brought the sector to a standstill, creating uncertainty for investors
Image: Picture: AFP

Police used rubber bullets and stun grenades against striking mineworkers yesterday after they allegedly attacked the police, non-striking colleagues and passing motorists.

North West police spokesman Brigadier Thulane Ngubane said the miners, who have been on strike in the platinum belt for two weeks now, attacked their colleagues at Anglo American Platinum's Khuseleka One shaft in Rustenburg.

Ngubane said the strikers were carrying illegal weapons like knobkerries and pangas.

"They were throwing stones at police and passing motorists and there were acts of intimidation. We have increased our presence to maintain peace," Ngubane said.

The strikers belong to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which is demanding a minimum wage of R12500 a month for miners. The union has rejected the latest offer of a 7% increase.

Amcu was also involved in the 2012 Lonmin strike that culminated in the Marikana massacre.

Anglo American Platinum spokes man Mpumi Sithole said: "In the event they break picketing rules, we are left with no choice but to summon police to protect workers who are not on strike and [our] property."

The strike has halted production of about 40% of global platinum supply, Reuters reported.

Chamber of Mines chief economist Roger Baxter said: "There's R197-million in lost revenue per day.

"But the total cost, including the electricity that's been paid for but hasn't been used and the lost sales revenue, is close to R400-million a day."

Wage talks between Amcu and platinum producers resumed yesterday.

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