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POLL | Were mineworkers justified in booing Cyril Ramaphosa?

03 May 2022 - 12:29
President Cyril Ramaphosa abandoned his Workers' Day address after chaos broke out in Rustenburg. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa abandoned his Workers' Day address after chaos broke out in Rustenburg. File photo.
Image: Amanda Khoza

There have been mixed responses to mineworkers booing President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday. The president had to be whisked away and abandoned his Workers' Day address after aggrieved mineworkers demanded he leave the stage.

Holding up placards demanding wage increases, Sibanye-Stillwater workers chanted “Cyril must go. You must go,” to which the president responded, “we've heard you”. His attempts to calm the crowd, however, proved unsuccessful. 

“You want your R1,000, is that so? I understand that. You want the employers to give you your R1,000. We've heard that message and we will be dealing with that matter,” he said. 

Sibanye-Stillwater gold mine workers are demanding, among other things, a R1,000 monthly salary increase. They have been on strike for three months after the company offered them an increase of R800. Angry workers said they would not let Ramaphosa address them until he responded to their salary grievances. 

SA Federation of Trade Unions secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said the disruption of Ramaphosa's speech was “a powerful unity between workers” who belong to different federations.

“They sent a powerful message to all of the elite that we are fighting our battles in your absence and with you looking on the other side,” said Vavi during an interview with Power 98.7

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said it was only a matter of time before employees showed their discontent.

“Chickens have come home to roost. Our workers have been abused, lied to and betrayed by the ANC. You can lie to people for so long, but you can’t lie to people with their lived experiences.”

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