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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora