517 14-05-2013 Lonmin striking workers chanting slogans while starting to gather next to the koppie where 34 people were gunned down last year in Vonderkop, Marikana. Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse


North West - The wildcat strike at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, continued on Wednesday, with workers demanding that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leave the premises.

Workers associated with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) went on strike on Tuesday, demanding that the NUM's offices at the mine be shut down with immediate effect.

At Lonmin's platinum mine in Karee, near Marikana, workers stood in groups. Some of them were wrapped in blankets, and others carried knobkerries.

Worker Amos Maja said they wanted the NUM to leave the mine premises.

“The NUM must do the honourable thing and leave in peace,” he said.

On Tuesday, Amcu branch chairman Mceli Balimani said Lonmin had refused to close the NUM's office, and had said the NUM had been given notice to vacate the office by July 3.

Striking workers agreed at a meeting at the Wonderkop stadium on Tuesday that they would report for duty, but would not go underground.

“We want to stop 'amagundwane' (rats) from going down,” Maja said.

A group wielding knobkerries stood at the entrance to the Marikana West township, near the Karee mine.

“We are going there [to the shaft]. It is not yet over,” said one of them.

In a list of grievances submitted to their leaders, Amcu members demanded an investigation into what they termed fraudulent membership of the NUM, and that the police arrest NUM members who they alleged carried weapons on mine premises.

They also wanted Lonmin to sign a recognition agreement with Amcu as the majority union.

Workers were expected to meet at the Wonderkop stadium later on Wednesday for a briefing by local Amcu leadership on progress made negotiating their demands.

Lonmin spokeswoman Sue Vey said there were no operations at the mine on Wednesday.

“Everything has come to a halt. Management is meeting with unions as we speak.”

Brigadier Thulani Ngubani said no incidents had been reported at the mine.

Marikana was the centre of a wildcat strike in the platinum belt last year, with 44 people killed - 34 of them at the hands of the police - in strike action. - Sapa