Police Minister Bheki Cele.
JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Bheki Cele is today scheduled to meet union bosses and Sibanye-Stillwater management in Carletonville, near Johannesburg, where the community has been on a knife’s edge amid the four-month wage strike led by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

Cele’s visit comes as tensions have escalated with nine people having been killed in several incidents that included the torching of 62 homes since the strike began on November 21.

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe also visited the area last week. He said then that while the Ministry of Mineral Resources respected the right of workers to protest, the right to strike must be exercised in a non-violent manner and the rights of non-striking workers must not be hindered.

Earlier yesterday, Amcu called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to step in and intervene as both parties had hardened their stance.

Amcu president, Joseph Mathujwa, who called an urgent press conference in Johannesburg yesterday, alleged that the government was complacent after many attempts to get government officials to intervene in the strike.

Mathunjwa also said that Sibanye-Stillwater had chosen to spend millions on lawyers and security companies instead of paying workers decent salaries. 

“This is not about money, because Sibanye-Stillwater chief executive Neal Froneman has been bragging to the media about how well the company is doing, but they have chosen to play hard ball when it comes to paying mine workers a decent living wage,” he said.

It also charged that Sibanye-Stillwater, the precious metals company, was sponsoring acts of intimidation against its members.

The union said that it was concerned about the possibility of a second Marikana Massacre looming in the gold sector.

More than 40 people were killed in mid-August 2012 during a violent strike over wages at Lonmin’s platinum mines.

A total of 15000 Amcu members have been on a strike to demand higher wages at the Beatrix mine in the Free State, as well as the Kloof and Driefontein mines outside Carletonville.

Amcu wants wages to be hiked by R1000 a month over three years. Sibanye signed a wage deal that offered a R700 a year increase in the first year with the National Union of Mineworkers, trade union Solidarity and the United Association of South Africa.