Mail & Guardian

We can't live like this, say Implats workers

21 Feb 2012 11:32 | Staff Reporter

Striking Impala Platinum mine workers gathered at Freedom Park, in Rustenburg, on Tuesday morning to wait for their leaders to address them.

Men carrying knobkerries and umbrellas sat on the railway line between Freedom Park and the number eight shaft.

"We want R9 000 and nothing else," said Amon Moabi, who said he had worked for Implats for over 10 years but was taking home R4 000.

"I cannot survive with the salary that is why I am on strike. I need a better salary because I am working hard," he said.

Rockdrillers at the mine embarked on an illegal strike on January 27, refusing to accept they would not get a bonus.

About 5 000 of them were dismissed. They then began protesting, intimidating and assaulting people trying to get to and from work in the township outside Rustenburg.

The rest of the mine's 17 000 workers were dismissed on January 30 for not being at work.

Unable to survive
Protesters intensified their action, barricading roads to Freedom Park, stoning cars and looting shops. They also torched a satellite police station in Freedom Park.

Vukile Ndambi (38) from the Eastern Cape said he could not survive on his monthly salary because he had to pay for a rented room and send money home to the Eastern Cape.

"After I have paid all my monthly expenses, I have nothing to save and this means I will never afford to pay for my children's tertiary education," he said.

Ndambi said his salary would automatically turn his children into mine workers because he could not afford a better education for them.

"All I could do was to put my children through school until Grade 12, and then organise a job for them in the mines," he said.

The workers' leaders went into a closed meeting at 7am on Tuesday and were still in talks at 9am.

Violence
A miner was shot dead and at least seven people were injured in overnight violence linked to the dispute, police said on Monday.

This was the second death related to the labour dispute. Last week a man was found dead at a workers' hostel.

Seven people were injured on Sunday night in a clash between police and a group of people trying to damage a mine shaft.

The Independent Complaints Directorate said it would establish where the live ammunition came from because the police were under orders not to use bullets -- rubber or otherwise -- for crowd control.

The mine has secured an interdict to protect staff and property.

Implats said it had lost production of 60 000 troy ounces (18 66kg) since the start of the strike. -- Sapa

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