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Bapo protests: Lonmin shafts to remain closed for now

North West
Johannesburg – Platinum mining company Lonmin will not re-open its operations at its E2 and E3 shafts near Bapong in the North West as planned on Sunday after the community failed to sign an agreement reached.

On Thursday, May 11, Lonmin met representatives of both the Bapo ba Mogale Traditional Council and the unemployed youth grouping who had been protesting outside the company’s E2 and E3 shafts since May 2, Lonmin spokeswoman Wendy Tlou said in a statement on Sunday.

In advance of the meeting, Lonmin had engaged some of its contractors, both to provide an update on the current situation and to request their support in developing enhanced community recruitment opportunities from their work for Lonmin. The Bapo ba Mogale Traditional Council was advised of the positive outcomes of this meeting and invited to participate in future engagements.

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The Bapo ba Mogale, who a located near Brits, are demanding the creation of 1 000 permanent jobs and 500 cadet placements at Lonmin for community members. File picture: Itumeleng English

Agreement was reached with the Bapo ba Mogale Traditional Council late on Thursday that they would appeal to the protesters to stop protesting and to start working with Lonmin on a process of engagement. A formal agreement was due to be signed by both parties on Friday morning, she said.

“It is most disappointing, however, that at midday on Friday Lonmin was informed that the community representatives would not be signing the agreement until their demands for jobs had been met and that they would be continuing their protest.

“The company has again been asked to retract the interdict currently in place, which it cannot responsibly do. This is because the safety and security of employees and community members is of the utmost importance; and because it must protect the assets of the company, the community, and the public,” Tlou said.

Lonmin had intended re-opening its E2 and E3 shaft operations on Sunday. However, the company had decided to keep the operations closed until it was satisfied that it was safe for employees to return to work at these two shafts.

The company had lost about 5830 platinum ounces in production, amounting to about R56 million, in the past 10 days since the protest began on May 2.

Lonmin remained committed to engaging all stakeholders in the community and appealed to the traditional council and community members to return to discussions so that practical and achievable solutions to the current impasse could be found.

“Further, Lonmin appeals to the protesters not to engage in acts of violence or destruction and to desist from threatening or intimidating employees and others,” Tlou said.

African News Agency

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