Shabangu meets Amplats

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IOL pic feb6 susan shabangu Independent Newspapers Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu File photo: Leon Nicholas

Johannesburg - Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu met trade unions, the chamber of mines and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) on Tuesday after 13 people were injured at the mine's Siphumelele shaft in Rustenburg.

“The meeting sought to canvass immediate action to be taken by organised labour, business and government in dealing with the recurrent violence within the platinum sector,” the department said in a statement.

“All stakeholders condemned the violence and further committed to the promotion of the right to associate and disassociate with any union by workers.”

On Monday, 13 people were injured at the Siphumelele shaft in a clash between security guards and workers.

The department urged workers to refrain from intimidation and violence.

Unions present at the meeting on Tuesday were the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), Uasa and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

The department said it would continue talking to concerned parties in the “interest of ensuring that the South African mining industry remains productive”.

Officials from NUM, Uasa, Numsa, Amcu, Solidarity and the department of labour, mineral resources department and the chamber of mines were expected to meet on Wednesday.

The department said this was to “discuss areas of co-operation between labour and mining companies for a long-term industry solution”.

On Tuesday, Amplats workers met at the Bleskop stadium near Rustenburg to be briefed on the incident at the shaft.

Workers' leader Gaddafhi Mdoda earlier said workers from all shafts did not report for work on Tuesday. Instead, they met at the Bleskop stadium.

“We want to do away with Anglo management. Details will be disclosed at the meeting,” he said.

North West police said a mineworker was in a critical condition in Johannesburg following clashes at the mine.

“There is one very critical person at the moment,” Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said.

He denied reports that a mineworker was killed in the clash between security guards and workers on Monday, in which several people were injured.

The critically injured person was taken to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, with head injuries, after he was hit by a blunt object.

“Some of the people were hacked with pangas and sharp objects, while others were shot with security rubber bullets,” Ngubane said in a statement.

“A group of about 1000 strong... attacked four people who were at the union offices. Mine security intervened and fired rubber bullets, and in the process a total of 13 mineworkers, including four security guards, 1/8were injured 3/8.”

Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said the workers' committee members were contesting the NUM's legitimacy at the mine and had demanded that NUM vacate its offices.

“The company is currently in the process of validating union membership at Rustenburg and the mines north of the Pilanesberg,” she said in a statement on Monday.

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said there had been no union membership verification, and that the NUM still held its status as the dominant union.

In August, Amplats fired 12,000 strikers from its operation in Rustenburg. The workers were later re-employed.

Last year, the North West town was the scene of violent mining protests in which scores of people died. - Sapa


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