Johannesburg - Mining union Amcu would do its best to stage a peaceful strike on the platinum mines in Rustenburg in the North West, an official said on Thursday morning.
“Workers are gathering at various shafts and we will address them at 8am. We have increased the number of marshals to ensure that the strike is peaceful,” said Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union co-ordinator Evans Ramokga.
“Amcu is a majority union with about 90 percent of the workforce. The remaining 10 percent will report for duty, but as in any strike some will not go to work fearing for their lives.
“This time our strike will be peaceful. Marshals will ensure that no-one is intimidated or attacked while going to work.”
He said non-striking workers were reporting for work at the Khuseleka shaft of Amplats.
“No one has been attacked or intimidated for going to work.”
Amcu members at Lonmin in Marikana, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Impala mines started a strike on Thursday pushing for an entry-level monthly salary of R12,500.
On Tuesday, the companies said Amcu's wage demands were unaffordable and unrealistic.
“It is of great concern to the platinum companies that employees are being made promises by Amcu that cannot be delivered upon,” the platinum companies chief executives said in a joint statement.
Impala Platinum cancelled its Wednesday night shift at its Rustenburg operations and would continue to do so for the duration of Amcu's planned strike, the company said.
This was to mitigate the risk of violence and to ensure the safety of their employees, said spokeswoman Alice Lourens.
“There will be employees reporting for duty in daylight so they do not have to travel in darkness,” she said.
“During the period of the strike, there will be no night shift taking place.”
North West police said on Wednesday they were ready for the planned strike. As a legal strike it was the organisers' responsibility to ensure the strike was peaceful and picketing rules were adhered to, Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said.
“Members of the SAPS, (and) public order policing will be deployed to ensure peace and security of both the striking mine workers and the general public.”
Strikers were not allowed to interfere with public order, destroy property or intimidate non-strikers.
“As the SA Police Service, we have the responsibility to ensure that the laws of the republic are enforced where there is disregard,” he said.
“Safety and security is a shared responsibility and the North West provincial commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo calls upon all parties to play their part in managing the strike.”
Forty-four people were killed during a violent strike at Lonmin's Marikana operations in August 2012.
Thirty-four were killed on August 16, 2012 when the police fired at them. Another ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week. - Sapa