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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid