News / Africa

South African Mine Re-opens as Tensions Continue

Mosiuoa Lekota, leader for Congress of the People (COPE) addresses mine workers at the Lonmin mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 20, 2012.
Mosiuoa Lekota, leader for Congress of the People (COPE) addresses mine workers at the Lonmin mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 20, 2012.
Anita Powell
JOHANNESBURG – Tensions remain at a troubled South African platinum mine, where police shot and killed dozens of striking miners last week.

President Jacom Zuma declared a national week of mourning starting Monday following the shooting at the Lonmin mine northwest of Johannesburg.

But the workers also got a message from the company: get back to work or you are fired.

An official representing  Lonmin mine said the ultimatum only applies to the 3,000 workers who started the strike that culminated in Thursday’s confrontation in which police shot dead 34 miners.

According to the official, the other 25,000 workers were asked to return to work, but do not face consequences for disobeying.  The official said she was not authorized to be quoted.  

She said 27 percent of the workers showed up to work on Monday.  A police spokesman said officers are in the area and there were no major incidents early Monday. 

Meanwhile, a striker who was present during Thursday’s shooting said the workers were planning to regroup and would not back down on their demands.  The 24-year-old worker, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Siphiwo, did not give details.

“No,  I am not going back to work," he insisted. "Until the management comes to us and agrees with us and comes to our demands, we are not going back to work.  Today we are gathering again today ...  If we go back to work, it means our brothers were killed for nothing.”

Several-hundred arrested miners face charges including murder and attempted murder.  
South Africa's Mining Industry

  • Number of workers: 498,141
  • Industry deaths: 128
  • Key commodities mined: Diamonds, gold, platinum, palladium
  • Real mining GDP: $12.06 billion
  • Mineral exports: $36.25 billion

Source: Chamber of Mines of South Africa Figures for 2010
Mining is one of South Africa’s biggest industries.  The events at the mine have had international consequences. In addition to affecting global platinum prices,  Lonmin share prices have fallen.

Lonmin is the world’s third-largest platinum producer.  The precious metal is used in car parts and jewelry.

The event has also shaken South Africans who say such violent images of police firing at protesters remind them of the apartheid era.

President Zuma has called for an investigation, which will likely take months. In the meantime, tensions continue.

  • An unidentified woman chants as she protests against the police opening fire and killing striking mine workers a day earlier at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 17, 2012.
  • Members of a South African police crime unit investigate the scene of the shooting of miners at the Lonmin mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 17, 2012.
  • An unidentified woman cries as she protests against the police opening fire and killing striking mine workers a day earlier at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 17, 2012.
  • A policeman fires at protesting miners outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.
  • Policemen fire at striking miners outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.
  • A miner runs as police shoot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.
  • Policemen in teargas and dust open fire on striking miners at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 16, 2012.
  • Police open fire on striking miners at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 16, 2012.
  • A paramedic (front L) receives help from a policewomen as he tends to the injured after protesting miners were shot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Interdicts
August 24, 2012 1:02 AM
By way of interest for all to see up front especially the Press, a publication summary of Court Interdicts issued against the Trade Unions for each Province in South Africa, since 1994 till the present would certainly go a long way to illustrate what has been happening to the myth of normal negotiations - let alone the monetary losses to the economy as a whole

by: BHONEST
August 23, 2012 3:05 PM
Union members arming themselves with dangerous weapons in such large numbers had one clear intent - confrontation with the Police. This is supported by the death of two Policemen and several workers. The union members were beyond control of their leadership and it is extremely doubtful whether they were ever under any form of control, for once in such a large number, who could control them and their propensity for violence against anyone in their way????

by: JR from: BR
August 21, 2012 1:52 PM
It is incredible that that occurs in S. A. a democratic country which harshly fought against the unjust violence. What seems a right workers' demand become a brutal morder. And the country's rullers what they say, what they do beyond mourn it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs