23 January 2014

South Africa: Day One of Platinum Strike Peaceful - Police

Johannesburg — The first day of Amcu's strike in the platinum sector ended peacefully on Thursday, despite fears of the violence which has cost lives in the North West platinum belt in the past.

"Numerous allegations of intimidations and assault were received, some from the media, but at this stage neither formal complaint nor case has been registered [with] the police," said Brigadier Thulane Ngubane.

"It has been established that certain individuals were seen carrying and

displaying dangerous weapons in contravention of Dangerous Weapons Act...," he said.

"All those who were seen displaying dangerous weapons or violating the law will be identified and Amcu leaders will be engaged in the investigations.

"It is the responsibility of the organisers to ensure that there is no contravention of the law and picketing rules in the on-going strike."

Ngubane said the police would act decisively against anyone who used the opportunity to break the law.

He said the police were reviewing evidence and statements about incidents reported at Implats and Anglo Platinum.

Thousands of miners gathered at the Wonderkop stadium, in Marikana, on Thursday, to be addressed by Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leaders.

Amcu, which is pushing for an entry-level monthly salary of R12,500, has agreed to let the government mediate its negotiations with Lonmin, Anglo-American Platinum (Amplats) and Impala Platinum (Implats).

This will start on Friday at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), in Johannesburg.

On Thursday, the Labour Department said Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant was anxious for them to find a middle ground, as the country could not take another prolonged strike.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa has warned that if the government takes sides, it will be shown the door.

The CEOs of Amplats, Implats and Lonmin have said a prolonged strike would probably further damage South Africa's reputation as an attractive business and investment destination.

It would also negatively affect the platinum operations' revenue flows and sustainability, and result in job losses at a number of marginal mines and shafts.

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