Miners gather at Marikana

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North West - Protesting miners gathered in a field opposite Lonmin's Marikana mine in North West on Thursday, waiting to discuss with their representatives the implications of refusing to sign a peace accord.

The accord was signed at 1am on Thursday between Lonmin management and unions, but not the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), and the mine workers' representatives.

Worker representative Zolisa Bodlwana, who would be part of the group addressing miners at Wonderkop, said workers 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.

The number of miners gathered in Wonderkop dwindled as the weather worsened, leaving less than 200 miners huddled under umbrellas to try and keep dry.

Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was expected to speak to the miners at Wonderkop.

He would also welcome the rest of the miners released from prison on Thursday.

Workers at the world's third-largest platinum producer have been on strike for more than three weeks, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.

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

On Wednesday, striking marchers carrying knobkerries, sticks, and iron rods, pushed their way through police barricades as they marched more than five kilometres through Marikana to the Karee mine.

The marchers threatened to kill Lonmin management unless it stopped operations at the K3 shaft, where most of the mine's operations take place.

While they marched, they sang: “We died because of (President Jacob) Zuma. (UDM leader Bantu) Holomisa please come and rescue us.”

They also carried placards bearing pictures of their dead colleagues. - Sapa


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