Amcu loses trust in peace pact

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Amcu

Independent Newspapers.

Association of mineworkers and construction union (AMCU) president Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse.

Cape Town - Amcu is being victimised by rival National Union of Mineworkers and police, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said on Wednesday.

“Amcu (The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) continues to be targeted and its members are arrested daily for unfounded cases,” he told the Cape Town Press Club.

“Amcu does not condone violence and encourages other unions to preach a gospel of peace and tolerance.”

Mathunjwa claimed police had done nothing to investigate the killing of its members, saying no arrests were made when Amcu members reported being assaulted by NUM members.

He said the union had been excluded from processes to set up a peace agreement in the sector, led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

The use of state apparatus to “purge” Amcu had left it “perplexed” and believing that only the NUM interests were being served.

“This has fuelled distrust in the system and made it very difficult to canvas and receive a mandate for the signing of this agreement.

“As Amcu, we understand peace cannot be contained into a piece of paper but is a way of conducting oneself in day-to-day activities. Amcu is a peaceful organisation despite provocation in the workplace.”

The agreement was signed in July by government, the Chamber of Mines, the NUM, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, Uasa, Solidarity and the Federation of Unions of SA.

The platinum sector has been crippled by a protected strike headed by Amcu. The union is demanding a R12,500 basic salary for miners.

Around 80,000 miners have downed tools as negotiations continue between the union and employers.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was facilitating the talks.

Mathunjwa said negotiations continued.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant on Wednesday condemned the reports of intimidation and violence.

She said while workers who had gone on strike were exercising their right, they should also respect the right of other workers who did not want to be part of the strike.

North West police were investigating the torching of an Impala Platinum mine employee's car.

Brigadier Thulani Ngubune on Wednesday said the woman was affiliated to the NUM.

Police were investigating whether the fire could be linked to the latest strike.

At the weekend, a 26-year-old Amcu protester was arrested after he allegedly damaged the car of an Impala Mineral Processes plant employee using a knobkerrie.

The man, who is an Amcu shop steward, was on bail on a separate case of attempted murder, said Ngubane.

On Tuesday, police used rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse striking mineworkers carrying traditional weapons.

The strikers, who had blocked the road leading to Anglo American Platinum's Khuseleka 1 shaft, threw stones at police.

They wanted to remove non-striking workers from the shaft.

Ngubane said two people were arrested. No one was injured. - Sapa


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