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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid