(File image) Julius Malema. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - Trade union Solidarity laid charges against former ANCYL president Julius Malema on Wednesday for allegedly provoking unrest amongst striking mine workers.

Spokesman Johan Kruger said the union laid the charges of incitement to public violence and intimidation at the Lyttelton police station in Centurion.

Gauteng police could not immediately confirm this.

Kruger said Malema was capitalising on the death of the 34 mine workers in Marikana, North West, to further his own political agenda.

“Malema cannot be allowed to rule by fear and sow fear among foreign investors and South Africans,” he said in a statement.

“Violent protests at mines are not spontaneous. He encourages violence for his own gain. Malema is an opportunist who uses unrest to try to revive his political career.”

He said Malema was responsible for the violence at Gold One's Modder East mine in Springs on Monday.

This was because he encouraged strikers at Aurora's Grootvlei mine last Thursday to make the country's mines “ungovernable”.

Among those who attended the Aurora meeting were workers fired from the nearby Gold One International, the prospective buyer of Aurora's mines.

Gold One previously fired 1044 workers for embarking on an illegal strike.

Malema told the crowd: “We are going to lead a mining revolution in this country... We will run these mines ungovernable until the boers come to the table.”

Kruger said Malema's comments caused “race polarisation”.

“These statements polarise mine workers and puts the lives of workers who do not participate in illegal actions in danger,” he said.

On Monday, four men were hospitalised after being shot with rubber bullets by security staff at the Modder East mine when a protest turned violent. The four were part of a group of around 60

former employees of Gold One and Pamodzi Gold East Rand, who blockaded the main entrance to the mine early on Monday morning.

On Monday Malema addressed strikers at Gold Fields' KDC mine in Westonaria, on the West Rand. He spoke at a memorial service for the 34 Marikana miners on August 23. He accused government ministers of only attending the memorial service to pose for news cameras.

Workers at Lonmin's Marikana mine had been on strike for the last three weeks, demanding a monthly salary of R12,500.

On August 16, police fired on a group of protesting workers near the mine, killing 34 and wounding 78. Another 10 people had died earlier that week, including two policemen and two security guards. - Sapa