ANC: Is the platinum belt strike political?

The ANC leadership has questioned whether the strike in the North West platinum belt is a political one, its secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Sunday.

“Of concern was whether this was a collective bargaining strike or a political strike,” he told reporters at Luthuli House following the party’s national executive committee meeting this week. “This question arose having noted … disturbing developments.” 

Some of the developments included the Economic Freedom Fighters’s (EFF’s) alleged involvement in negotiations, or, according to the party’s statement: “The direct participation of EFF in the negotiations, and thus collaboration with the foreign forces.” The other development included the articulation of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (Amcu’s) position, apparently by white foreign nationals. “The articulation of Amcu position by white foreign nationals, signalling interest of the foreign forces in the distabilisation of our economy,” read the statement.

“These two factors led the lekgotla into cautioning the ministry of mineral resources in handling the facilitation with care,” said Mantashe. “There were questions about the role of the state in workplace disputes where there are clear rules guiding it.” 

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500. They have so far rejected the companies’ offer that would bring their cash remuneration to R12 500 by July 2017. 

New Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi set up an inter-governmental technical team to help resolve the wage dispute. 

Eastern Cape affected the worst
Meanwhile, the South African Communist Party [SACP] said on Sunday that the strike in the North West platinum belt would affect the Eastern Cape the worst.

“Our province will be the [biggest] bearer of the scars of any negative consequences of the protracted strike as many of the people from the Eastern Cape are working in the mining sector, owing to the colonisation of a special type, which used our province as a reservoir of labour,” SACP Eastern Cape provincial spokesperson Siyabonga Mdodi said. 

Minister Ramatlhodi on Saturday said he could pull out of the negotiation process if no agreement was reached by Monday. Mantashe, who was speaking at Luthuli House, said on Sunday that the government intervened because people were being killed and it did not want a repeat of the 2012 Marikana tragedy. 

On August 16 2012, 34 people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead by police who were trying to disarm and disperse them. Another 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed during the preceding week. 

The platinum strike and other issues were discussed at the SACP’s provincial executive committee meeting held in East London over the weekend. Mdodi said the party condemned “the conduct and the attitude” of mine bosses and said the strike should be resolved as soon as possible. 

“The current impasse in the platinum belt must be resolved as soon as possible with jobs defended and the transformation of the mining sector as a whole not being side-lined with the only focus on remuneration,” he said.– Sapa, additional reporting by Staff Reporter

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Sapa
Guest Author
Advertisting

‘Frustrated’ police resort to force

Regulation uncertainty leaves slap-happy police and soldiers to decide when people should or shouldn’t be allowed on the streets

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders