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Johannesburg - Black people are worse off than they were during the apartheid years, expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema said on Thursday.
“We are worse [off] than during the times of apartheid. We are being killed by our own people. We are being oppressed by our own government,” he told mineworkers at the Aurora mine in Grootvlei, Springs.
More than 1000 mineworkers from the liquidated Aurora Empowerment Systems and the neighbouring Gold One arrived to hear Malema speak.
He said politicians could not help the workers because they benefited from the mines and had shares in them.
“Every mine has a politician inside. They give them money every month, they call it shares. But it is protection fee to protect whites against the workers.”
He said the fact the Aurora crisis had lasted for four years showed there was no leadership in the country. Aurora Empowerment Systems bought the mines when the previous owner, Pamodzi Gold, went into liquidation. Since then workers have not been paid and the mines have been stripped of assets.
“If there was leadership in this country it can't take four years. Four years shows that there is not leadership. When they (politicians) arrive to represent you, they give them money and they forget you.”
Malema told the workers they should form a committee to speak to the lawyers and present their complaints to the liquidators of Aurora.
He announced what he labelled the start of a revolution in the mining sector.
“We are going to lead a mining revolution in this country. We are going to each mine. We will run these mines ungovernable until the boers come to the table,” he said.
“We want them to give you a minimum wage of R12,500. These people can afford R12,500. Mining in South Africa amounts to trillions of rands.”
About 5000 people had been left jobless at Aurora. It was currently under liquidation.
The prospective buyers of Aurora mines, Gold One, have allegedly fired over 1500 workers who went on strike demanding a minimum wage of R6500.
The miners claimed management then replaced them with contract workers. - Sapa