No R12 500, no mining: miners

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IOL pic sep5 lonmin worker

Associated Press

(File image) The Lonmin mine near Rustenburg, South Africa.

Rustenburg - No mining operations will resume at Lonmin's Marikana mine, in North West, before striking mineworkers' demand for a R12 500 salary hike is met, they said on Monday.

Some of the thousands of workers protesting at various shafts around Marikana indicated they were going for broke.

A 40-year-old man who worked at Lonmin for 11 years said: “We are not prepared to back down, but if the employer comes tomorrow and says 'I'll pay R12 500', we will definitely go back to work.”

Powell Dalibango, who has worked for Lonmin since 2005, said:

“Do you think we are worried because Lonmin is losing money? We are not. We have lost things worth more than money in this situation.”

Dalibango, from the Eastern Cape, said he was determined to continue being part of the protest, despite the financial implications of the “no work, no pay policy”.

Dalibango's sentiments were echoed by colleague Simon Itumeleng, who has worked for Lonmin since 1997.

“We are not going to back down. I am paid R4000 (a month) and it is just insufficient. I have huge responsibilities at home.

“We are going to get the R12 500 which we have demanded from Lonmin.”

Another Lonmin mineworker, Luvo Ntlokwane said that even though the industrial action had dragged on for several weeks, there was no solution other than the pay hike.

On Monday, mineworkers braved the scorching Rustenburg sun to spend the day protesting for the pay rise.

A timely intervention by police saved one man from agitated protesters near Marikana.

Armed protesters wielding knobkerries, pangas, and spears walked from mine shaft to mine shaft calling for the closure of all operations.

The strikers insisted that people they met on the way join their procession. A middle-aged man saw the crowd approaching, and turned and ran. Strikers gave chase, shouting as the man sprinted to a nearby main road.

There, he was picked up by one of several police vehicles, including armoured Nyalas, which were escorting the protesters, and was taken to safety.

After a visit to three mining shafts and the hostels, they settled at an open space near the hostels. One of the leaders of the protest, identified only as Bob, spoke to them.

Around 5pm, the protesters were taken in buses, owned by Lonmin, to an open space where the Gift of the Givers had set up a camp. A large group people gathered around the charity organisation's trucks. Women left carrying food and nappies.

On August 16, police fired on a group of protesting workers, killing 34 of them and wounding 78. Another 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

Work stopped at the mine on August 10. - Sapa


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