23 January 2014

South Africa: Amcu Must Ensure Protest is Peaceful - Police

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Striking mineworkers (file photo).

Johannesburg — Labour union Amcu must ensure that their protest on the platinum mines in Rustenburg does not become violent, North West police said on Thursday.

"Amcu organisers have the duty of making sure that their strike is peaceful, [and that they] respect the rule of law, [and] authority," the province's police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo said in a statement.

"It is upon organisers...to ensure that...they adhere to the picketing rules."

Police spokesman Brigadier Thulane Ngubane said picketers were not allowed to interfere with public order policing, destroy property or intimidate those going to work.

"Police will be deployed to ensure peace and security but the strike remains a labour matter and the SA Police Service would like to urge all...striking miners to respect authority and the rule of law," he said.

"The cautionary measures that have been taken is that no dangerous weapons will be allowed at [or during] the gathering of the strikers."

He said mine management had a duty to ensure adequate security within the confines of their property for those on duty.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union at Lonmin in Marikana, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Impala mines started a strike on Thursday pushing for an entry-level monthly salary of R12,500.

On Tuesday, the companies said Amcu's wage demands were unaffordable and unrealistic.

Impala Platinum cancelled its Wednesday night shift at its Rustenburg operations and would continue to do so for the duration of Amcu's planned strike, the company said.

This was to mitigate the risk of violence and to ensure the safety of their employees.

The National Union of Mineworkers, who were not part of the strike, called for a peaceful demonstration.

"We strongly appeal to workers who will be striking to respect the freedom of choice and freedom of association of our [NUM] members

who will be going to work," general secretary Frans Baleni said in a statement.

"Our members must go to work without being intimidated and threatened with violence."

Forty-four people were killed during a violent strike at Lonmin's Marikana operations in August 2012.

Thirty-four were killed on August 16, 2012 when the police fired at them. Another 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

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