‘Talks useless without Amcu’

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BR NUM 8663 inlsa National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni, left, and president Senzeni Zokwana brief the media yesterday on the chaos at South African mines. Baleni claims that there have been several attempts to capture the soul of the union through violence since last year. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Johannesburg - The efforts by mine management and trade unions to end the spread of illegal protests at mining operations were useless until the newly established Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was included in the talks, labour law expert Michael Bagraim said on Tuesday.

Illegal protests have spread to Gold Fields’ Kloof and Driefontein Complex (KDC) and Gold One International’s Modder East mine this week after 44 people were killed at Lonmin’s Marikana operation near Rustenburg in August.

Employees had not returned to work at KDC on Tuesday as talks between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and 12 000 striking employees continued, while production resumed at Modder East after four strikers were hit by rubber bullets fired by security guards on Monday.

Lonmin said on Tuesday that 6.5 percent of the 28 000 workforce at Marikana reported for duty. It added that about 200 people had gathered outside the hostel at its Easterns operation and marched to the Saffy shaft to speak to management.

“The group warned management that workers would be threatened if they returned to work,” the statement read.

In a statement, Lonmin said it had applied to the UK Listing Authority and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on Monday for a block listing for 400 000 ordinary shares for $1 (R8.40) each to trade on the LSE and be admitted to the official list.

“The block listing consists of 153 000 shares that may be issued pursuant to the Shareholder Value Incentive Plan and 247 000 shares in relation to the Stay and Prosper Plan.”

Issuing of the block listing was a regulatory announcement in line with the requirements for LSE- and JSE-listed companies, a spokeswoman explained on Tuesday.

Earlier Lonmin issued an announcement stating that its issued share capital at August 31 consisted of 202.7 million ordinary shares of $1 each with voting rights.

Lonmin’s shares closed at R75.38 on the JSE on Tuesday, falling 2.65 percent on the day.

Amcu withdrew last Thursday from the peace accord talks aimed at bringing stability to Marikana and addressing the R12 500 salary demanded by rock drill operators after complaining of being sidelined.

“The real problem is that they are talking to the wrong people. When the problem first arose they spoke to the NUM and left out Amcu. All they need is to be together in one room,” Bagraim said.

The talks, chaired by senior officials of the Labour Department, were postponed on Monday and were expected to resume on Wednesday. They include Lonmin management, unions, worker representatives and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Dumisani Nkalitshana, Amcu’s national organiser, said: “They sit and talk, but we are not fools at all. Why do they proceed without us? They could’ve stopped proceedings until they invited us again. I mean trade unions Uasa and Solidarity have no members on the mountain, why are they part of the peace accord talks?”

Earlier on Tuesday, NUM general secretary Frans Baleni went on the offensive at a press conference, saying the union was under attack. Since 2011, Baleni said, there had been several attempts to “capture the soul of the NUM” through violence, in which some of its members had been killed.

These incidents included the six-week long illegal strike at Impala Platinum’s Rustenburg operations, in which 17 200 people were axed in February, and the killing of three people at Aquarius Platinum’s Khwezi shaft in June in the North West.

“This attack on the NUM is not an attack on the NUM but on the economy,” he said.

Baleni said those who called for the mining industry to be made ungovernable would be responsible for economic sabotage. He also called for Amcu to return to the accord talks.

Julius Malema spoke to the 12 000 striking employees at Gold Fields’ KDC operation where he called for an investigation into the NUM leadership.

The expelled ANC Youth League leader called for mines to be made ungovernable.


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