Police on standby at MarikanaComment on this story
Rustenburg - Police sent reinforcements to the Wonderkop informal settlement in Marikana, North West, on Thursday.
“We reinforced our members on the ground so that we are ready for any eventuality, especially because of the high volumes of mine workers that marched yesterday (Wednesday),” police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said.
Eight police Nyala armoured personnel carriers were parked outside the entrance to the settlement.
“There is no threat or violence.”
Ngubane said a group of “joyful” local residents had gone to a nearby hill to greet the 102 mineworkers released by the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
Worker representative Xolani Nzuza said they would go to the nearby Karee mine again on Monday to make sure their colleagues there had not returned to work.
On Wednesday, striking marchers carrying knobkerries, sticks, and iron rods pushed their way through police barricades as they walked more than five kilometres through Marikana to the Karee mine.
The strikers threatened to kill Lonmin management unless they stopped work at the K3 shaft, where most of the mine's operations took place.
While they walked, they sang and carried placards bearing pictures of their colleagues shot dead during a confrontation with police on August 16.
Earlier on Thursday, the protesters gathered in a field opposite Lonmin's Marikana mine to discuss with their representatives the implications of refusing to sign a peace accord.
The number of miners gathered at Wonderkop dwindled as the weather worsened, leaving less than 200 huddled under umbrellas. The last pocket of protesters retreated to their homes by noon.
Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's visit to the mine was postponed because of the rain. Malema had intended speaking to the miners at Wonderkop and welcoming the rest of the miners released.
Worker representative Zolisa Bodlwana said they were concerned about wage increase negotiations.
“A peace accord will not help us workers in any way. We are not party to that,” he said.
Parties involved in the Marikana talks signed a peace accord in the early hours of Thursday morning. The accord levelled the ground for wage negotiations and included a commitment to create a peaceful work environment.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and Marikana workers' representatives did not sign it.
Lonmin on Thursday said the company and other unions had agreed to invite Amcu and workers' representatives to participate in wage talks. - Sapa