Johannesburg - Striking mineworkers have started to drum up countrywide support to raise funds, with some leaders calling for Codesa-like discussions, as the crippling strike enters its fourth month.
Members of the Marikana Support Group were in Cape Town yesterday to address the Cape Town Press Club on the ongoing strike.
The miners, from various companies, also spoke of their personal anguish caused by working conditions like falling rocks, contracting lung infections and the spate of killings in the platinum belt.
They are due to leave Cape Town tomorrow.
Addressing the audience, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa repeated calls for a mining commission while calling for a roundtable discussion on the economy like Codesa in the early 1990s.
Codesa, or the Convention for a Democratic SA, was a series of negotiations between 1990 and 1993 between political parties and the former government to end apartheid.
“The truth of the matter is that we seem to have lowered our guard, especially after we attained our political freedom.
“We never concentrated much in transforming the economy,” said Holomisa.
He said the only way to resolve the ongoing labour unrest in the mining sector was to “sit around the table more or less on the same scale of Codesa”.
“We start auditing what resources do we have and who is benefiting from these resources and how are we going to redistribute this cake equitably so that the downtrodden citizens of this country can say ‘I’m benefiting’,” said Holomisa.
He added that BEE had not benefited the entire population.
Jacob Khoza, a shop steward at Anglo American Platinum, said the miners wouldn’t budge from their demand of a mininum wage of R12 500 a month.
“They are saying again let us share the cake for workers to benefit from our minerals and have a better living wage. Without that we are not going back,” said Khoza.
Molefe Phele, who works at Lonmin, said workers experienced poor conditions when working underground.
“If those rocks fall we are dead. So that is why as workers we come to the conclusion that it’s high time we... stand and fight for our rights because, as young as I am, this is my seventh year working there,” said Phele.
Phele added it would take him 25 years to build a four bedroom home on his current R5 700 wage. - The Star