News / Africa

In South Africa Platinum Town, Striking Miner Ready for Deal

Striking miners gather outside Lonmin's headquarters in Johannesburg, April 3, 2014. Platinum producer Lonmin has declared "force majeure" with some contractors at its South African mines due to the effects of a lengthy strike.
Striking miners gather outside Lonmin's headquarters in Johannesburg, April 3, 2014. Platinum producer Lonmin has declared "force majeure" with some contractors at its South African mines due to the effects of a lengthy strike.
Reuters
After three months without pay, striking miner Jeffery Shipulale is ready to accept almost any offer from his employer, South African platinum producer Lonmin.
 
“We will even accept 1,000 rand ($94). We are hungry, there is no money,” the Mozambican national told Reuters as he and his wife hawked tomatoes, onions, and loose cigarettes at a stand in the ramshackle mining town of Marikana.
 
The father of six has been forced into the retail business to make ends meet, but he doesn't have to settle for just 1,000 rand a month.
 
The latest wage offer from Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum, which will see annual pay hikes of up to 10 percent and bring the basic entry-level wage to 9,250 rand a month by July 2017, were being communicated directly to workers by cell phone text messages on Friday.
 
Talks between the producers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) aimed at ending the 13-week strike collapsed on Thursday.
 
So the companies are forcing AMCU's hand and taking the offer directly to workers, giving them the option to return to work on their own and betting that after so long without a pay check, many of them will rise to the bait.
 
In Shipulale's case, they have bet right.
 
“I'll take the money. I came here to work, not to strike,” he said as he sat behind his stand on a plastic milk crate.
 
A spokesman at Implats confirmed that the offers have been sent out by SMS text messages, through public broadcasts on radio and placed in community newspapers.
 
“All employees must now seriously consider this offer. We have to work together to find solutions that are affordable and possible to resolve this wage deadlock,” says one message.
 
Many of the strikers will be receiving the messages back in their home villages, far from the shafts in regions such as the Eastern Cape province and neighboring countries such as Lesotho and Mozambique, where they have returned to sit things out.
 
Normally bustling Marikana, 120 km (70 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, is eerily quiet.
 
In the settlements ringing Lonmin's Marikana mine there are few signs of life, with almost all of the doors of the tin-roofed shacks shuttered. There are few pedestrians on the dirt roads and a handful of goats eat rubbish and grass.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: jimmy
April 26, 2014 3:01 AM
Stop paying shaft steward so we can get bcak to work. They are support striking bccos they geting paid. Once they feel what the miners feelin. They will tell joseph that the want to go back to work


by: Bon James from: SA
April 25, 2014 8:36 PM
Certainly, he came from Mozambique where the wages are even less than South Africa for labor intensive work. This, however, does not mean that the wages offered, in exchange for the intensive labor and danger factors, are fair or just. Platinum companies have allowed their product to be sold at narrow profits and do not object to price manipulation by traders and they expect the workers to pay for their own malfeasance. The reason you must struggle in the short term is to obtain benefits and a fair wage for the longer term.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid