Wasp denies platinum talks interference

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iol news pic Platinum strike 3 REUTERS Members of the mining community carry food parcels donated by aid organisation, Gift of the Givers, at the Khomanani mine in Rustenburg. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Rustenburg - The Workers and Socialist Party (Wasp) on Wednesday rejected allegations that it was interfering in the platinum sector strike negotiations.

“We are not actually advising Amcu (the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) on the strike negotiations,” Wasp deputy general secretary Liv Shange said in Johannesburg.

On Sunday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said there were white foreigners interfering in the ongoing strike.

“The articulation of Amcu's position by white foreign nationals is signalling interest of the foreign forces in the destabilisation of our economy,” he said.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

They have so far rejected the companies' offer that would bring their cash remuneration to R12 500 by July 2017.

Shange said: “Wasp does not have any formal relationship with Amcu.”

The party's role was limited to supporting strikers in their struggle for a living wage.

“Amcu takes its mandate from members, we engage with Amcu mostly through its rank and file members.”

Shange said Mantashe's comments were “reckless” and “paranoid delusions”.

“What happens down the line... when (people) think this is true?... What would that imply for me, for my children?”

Asked whether Wasp was donating or channelling funds to Amcu, Shange, in advanced pregnancy, pointed out the cramped room where the press briefing was held.

“Take a look around this office, we are in no position, even if we wanted to, to fund Amcu.”

The prolonged strike indicated South Africa needed to re-examine its economic structure.

“This should be the time to consider nationalisation... The real issue is this wealth should be controlled democratically.”

This would grow the economy and provide jobs, Shange believed.

“I think this strike is the most important class battle that has emerged in the last 20 years. It is a critical moment for society.”

Wasp, as a workers' party, would support the strike “in whatever modest way we can”.

The party was in favour of a general strike in solidarity with Amcu's platinum miners.

“We think the most effective way is to make sure these struggles become unified.”

This would be the best way to exercise the collective strength of workers, Shange said.


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