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Protest Follows Firing of 12,000 South African Miners

  • VOA News

Striking platinum miners march near the Anglo American Platinum (AMPLATS) mine near Rustenburg in South Africa's North West Province, October 5, 2012.

Striking platinum miners march near the Anglo American Platinum (AMPLATS) mine near Rustenburg in South Africa's North West Province, October 5, 2012.

Dozens of South African miners held a protest march Saturday in Rustenburg in a show of solidarity with thousands of fellow miners fired at the Anglo American platinum mine.

The world's largest platinum producer dismissed 12,000 mineworkers in Rustenburg Friday for staging an illegal strike.

Anglo American Platinum said the workers from its Rustenburg mine had not shown up for disciplinary hearings related to the strike.

During Saturday's protest march, strike leader Gaddafi Mdoda warned of possible violence because of the company's action.

"This is the division that Anglo is making between us the black people, us the working class. So bad things are going to happen and I am not sure if Anglo American and the leaders of the land in South Africa are going to take responsibility of that blood that is going to be shed," said Mdoda.

South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers says it will try to negotiate with Anglo American in hopes of heading off unrest.

The company says the three-week work stoppage has cost $80 million in lost revenue.

On Thursday, a mineworker was found dead after police used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse a protest near the Rustenburg mine.

South Africa's mining sector has been roiled by a series of strikes and protests since a violent strike at a platinum mine in Marikana township in August. Forty-six people died during that strike, including 34 in a shooting by police.

Those workers eventually won a 22 percent pay raise, sparking calls for pay hikes by workers at other mines.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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