28 April 2014

South Africa: Platinum Belt Strike-Hit Communities Turn On ANC

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Mineworkers on strike (file photo).


Tension over the three-month strike in the platinum belt boiled over on Sunday with outraged community members violently protesting over the lack of help from government in Freedom Park, outside Rustenburg. Today, the miners and the community of Marikana will come face-to-face with the president.

Madiba Bukhali, an Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) member from Amplats, said four buildings were burnt down in Freedom Park on Sunday and protestors also looted several foreign-owned shops after Sports and Recreation Minister, Fikile Mbalula, was campaigning in the area for the ANC along with Cosatu-affiliated unions.

While local police weren't available to comment on Monday, police spokesperson, Thulani Ngubane, confirmed to Reuters on Sunday that Mbalula was removed from the area when protestors became a threat. After he left, the protest intensified and police used stun grenades and a water canon. A National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) member told Reuters he saw about 100 people in AMCU t-shirts confronting the tripartite alliance group.

Locals, however, told Daily Maverick the violence wasn't directly related to the union. It was a community-led protest over the depression-like conditions that have hit the area, populated by miners who service the nearby platinum...

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