South Africa: More mines closed down by workers
Conflicts between workers and South African mining companies have far from abated.
On 25 September, AngoGold Ashanti's operations were closed down as, reportedly, the majority of its 35,000-strong workforce went on strike.
Late last week, between 400 and 500 people also marched to Anglo Platinum's Mogalakwena Mine in Limpopo, South Africa.
Platreef Resources and Lonmin both sent representatives to meet the march at Anglo Platinum's Mine offices, where memoranda were handed over to all three companies.
According to one of the organisers, the police presence was minimal, with 6 police cars, about 1 police officer per car, and no women police officers. He adds:
"Police in this area - many of them, have become more sympathetic over the last 6-10 years in working with the communities affected by AngloPlat, Lonmin and Platreef."
For more information, call Malesela Phillipos Dolo: +27 (0) 73 789 2489.
We Demand that Mines Engage with Communities, No Mining Without Our Consent!
Mining Communities to March to Anglo Platinum's Mogalakwena Mine Offices in Mapela Area North of Mokopane. Communities Have Invited Platreef and Lonmin to Meet Them at Anglo Platinum's Offices too.
Issued by the Progressive Community Forces of Mogalakwena Municipality, Limpopo, South Africa
28 September 2012
Naga Ke Ya Rona! The Land is Ours!
Mogalakwena Municipality, Limpopo - Communities from various areas of Mogalakwena Municipality in Limpopo, including Mapela and Mokopane will be marching on Friday, 28 September 2012. The march will begin at 10h00 at the Turn-off to Ga-Machikiri and Ga-Molekane (Road to Anglo Platinum's Mogalakwena Mine off N11, north o Mokopane). The communities will march to Anglo Platinum Mine Offices and PlatReef and Lonmin have been invited to receive their memoranda there.
Since 2001 and earlier communities around MAPELA have been facing negative impacts caused by Anglo Platinum. In more recent years, Lonmin and Platreef have begun prospecting in their area too.
TO ANGLO PLATINUM:
Mapela area communities made demands as part of the Department of Mineral Resources-mandated task team for the area, and none of these demands - which were made to Anglo Platinum and DMR - have been met. The government-facilitated task team is no longer active, meaning there is no platform for representation to the Department - previously 17 communities in the Mapela Tribal Authority area were represented on the task team. These villages include Ga-Molekane, Sekuruwe, Armoede, Rooibokfontein, Ga-Machakiri, GA-Mokaba, Ga-Lelaka, Ga-Chokoe, Sekiming, Leruleng, Danasani, Hans, Mashahleng, Ga-Chaba, Ga-Pila, Sterkwater, Seema.
The Mapela area communities demand immediate engagement with government and Anglo Platinum to further the discussion so that communities can have their needs met.
TO PLATREEF RESOURCES:
Communities affected by Platreef Resources demand that Platreef, and Chief Kekana (Mokopane area), and Ndunu Machakiri of Ga-Machakiri village to get out of the Baltomfontein Farm because that farm does not belong to Chief Kekana or Nduna Machakiri - it belongs to the beneficiaries who laid a claim through their land claims.
Communities don't want the tailings dam that Platreef intends to construct on that farm.
We demand that Platreef and Chief Kekana stop dangling R10 000 to each and every Nduna to accept the conditions for mining. On 22nd September 2012, Platreef was chased away at a meeting where the company wanted to conduct a public hearing in terms of the Environmental Management Plan. If platreef doesn't stop these corrupt practices, then the community of Mokopane (Villages of Madiba, Tshamahansi, Mosesetjane, Machakiri, Magogoe, Mzombana, Mmaletleke, Sekgakgapeng) will continue to chase Platreef from the area.
We demand that Platreef stop engaging only with Chief Kekana and Nduna Machikiri, and instead they must engage with the majority of the people in these villages as we must give consent to any mining operations in our area.
We demand that Platreef stop using the 'self-imposed' Nduna Malose Kekana because he is not acting in the best interest of the communities. He is also in a high position at Platreef and is acting on their interest more than the communities - his contract at Platreef should also be terminated. In the community of Mosesetjane, where community members were recently arrested for protesting the occupation of their land, we further want Platreef Resources to stop everything it is doing before the communities of the area can give a consent.
AFRIORE sold their entire Akanani platinum project in the Mapela area to LONMIN for USD 441 million in 2006. The communities of Mapela where Lonmin wants to operate want Afriore to go back to Lonmin and return that money because we are standing with our comrades in Marikana who were massacred. Lonmin is not showing any humanity in any way. Afriore should then give the communities of Mapela the stakes in the Akanani project instead, if the communities consent to this.
In 2008 13 Prospecting Rigs of Lonmin were chased away from Sekiming in Mapela area. We want to remind LONMIN that their rigs were chased away and have been kept out of Sekiming because the community itself never gave consent. Claims were made that the Chief of Mapela Tribal Authority was consulted, but we as communities demand they consult with the majority of community members, not the Chief.
Naga Ke Ya Rona! The Land is Ours!
Phillipos Dolo 073 789 2489
Paul Thobane 072 831 7092
Abram Sithole (Chippa) 083 973 3410
South African strikes far from over: AngloGold Ashanti closed
26 September 2012
AngloGold Ashanti was hit by the mining unrest that's spreading through South Africa Tuesday night, as strikers halted all of its operations in the country. Operations which account for 32% of the multinational's total gold production.
The world's third-largest gold producer said most of its 35,000 employees have joined the industrial action when, on Tuesday's night, miners prevented the company's West Wits and Vaal River operations - joining co-workers who downed tools at AngloGold's Kopanang mine on Sept. 20.
"This interruption to normal mining and processing operations comes amid unprocedural disruptions elsewhere in South Africa's gold and platinum mining sectors," warned the company in a statement.
The miner isn't the only gold producer affected. Gold Fields also had to halt production in its mines after a strike that has lasted over two weeks.
"Notwithstanding press reports to the contrary, the unlawful and unprotected strike at the West Section of the KDC Gold Mine (KDC West, formerly Driefontein) on the West Rand in South Africa continues," said Gold Fields in a statement.
Previously the company dealt with action affecting its KDC mine, on Johannesburg's West Rand, which was resolved at the beginning of this month.
Gold Fields shares plunged 1.4% on Wednesday, and are down now nearly 10% from the August pre-strike figure.
Operations at Coal of Africa (CoAL) and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world's biggest platinum producer, have also been seriously disrupted by the strikes.
CoAL confirmed Tuesday it has stopped coal production at its Mooiplaats Colliery, which processes 6,000 metric tons of rock a day, after workers went on strike following the rejection of a proposed raise in annual salaries by 22%. This strike is protected by law, the company said.
Amplats' operations continue to be shut because of a strike, while company representatives started talks with its striking workers Tuesday through a government labour mediator. But CEO Chris Griffith warned employees that disciplinary action would start on Thursday and reaffirmed that wage negotiations would not be entertained until the current agreement ended in six months.
More than better pay
At the heart of the non-stopping labour unrest hitting South Africa there is something far more complex than low salaries, writes analyst Michelle Smith.
With a democracy less than 20 years old, the struggles of apartheid and the promises made at its end remain fresh. Mine workers view themselves as working in a profitable, dangerous industry. They tend to be frustrated by the government, which they believe has short-changed them, and with unions, which they see as more concerned with brushing shoulders with business leaders and politicians than representing their members' deplorable living conditions.
In the meantime, another union, the South African Transport and Allied Workers (Satawu) have also gone on an indefinite strike demanding wage increases.
Marikana commission of inquiry must not fail - Amnesty
27 September 2012
JOHANNESBURG - The commission of inquiry set up to investigate deaths in violence associated with the unprotected strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine must not fail, rights group Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
Director for southern Africa, Noel Kututwa, said most of the deaths were the result of excessive force used by police.
"It is vital that [the commission] is empowered, properly resourced and given the time to do everything necessary to uncover exactly what happened in Marikana and help ensure these horrific events are not repeated."
Kututwa urged the government to provide assurance that the commission's report would be made public within a specified time.
The commission's work would be difficult as it had to begin work at short notice and had tight deadlines.
Amnesty International's information suggested that 44 people were killed. However other reports put the total at 46.
On August 16, 34 striking workers were killed when police opened fire on them, and 78 were wounded. Afterwards, 270 workers were arrested.
Twelve others were killed in violence associated with the strike.
Kututwa said that potential witnesses needed assurance that they could give evidence to the commission without fear of reprisal.
The scope of the enquiry also needed to be defined.
"A robust, visibly impartial and open inquiry by the Commission will provide a critical opportunity to begin to secure justice and redress for all those affected by the violence in Marikana."