15 September 2012

South Africa: Govt Vows to Deal With Protests

Pretoria — The South African government yesterday promised to take stern measures against illegal mine protests instead of declaring a state of emergency to deal with the strikes.

Minister of Justice and Constitution Development Jeff Radebe told journalists in Pretoria that the government will soon be dealing with those taking part in illegal gatherings.

"They are going to be dealt with very swiftly, without any further delay," the minister warned.

"We want to bring back public order in those areas so that the economy can continue to run normally," Radebe said.

The minister said the government will no longer allow acts of intimidation and violence in the mining sector to continue. He accused some mine workers engaging in violent illegal strikes of undermining government's efforts to develop the country's economy.

"Government recognises that if the current situation continues unabated, it will make it even harder to overcome our challenges of slow economic growth, high unemployment, poverty and inequality," he said.

He announced measures by the government would be put in place to make sure the situation is brought under control.

Meanwhile a group of striking miners from Anglo Platinum marched to other mines in the North West Province asking them to shut down operations.

The strikers largely made up of rock drillers are demanding a basic monthly salary of US$1500, a 300 percent increase from the just over US$400 they are currently getting.

At the Goldfields mine in the Gauteng Province thousands of miners also continued with their strike demanding better wages and working conditions.

They carried traditional weapons and vowed not to return to work until they get the amount of pay they want.

Minister of State Security Siyabonga Cwele at the same briefing said the government will not tolerate these acts any further.

"Carrying dangerous weapons and fire-arms and participating in illegal gatherings is not going to be tolerated by enforcement departments," Cwele said.

The minister said those who are inciting illegal strikes and violence in the mines should stop or face the consequences.


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