10 May 2014

South Africa: Jacob Zuma Dedicates His South African Election Win to Nelson Mandela

The ruling African National Congress swept toward victory in South Africa's fifth post-apartheid election on Thursday, handing President Jacob Zuma ... ( Resource: South Africa's ANC Rolls To Victory, Boosting Zuma Reform Clout )

South African President Jacob Zuma has dedicated his electoral victory to the late Nelson Mandela. Meanwhile, workers at the country's platinum mines are heading back to work after a 15-week strike.

Using Mandela's clan name as a sign of respect, Zuma said: "We dedicate our victory to Madiba's memory."

Zuma was speaking on Saturday for the first time following the ANC's 62.15 percent election win in Wednesday's vote. He promised to push through business-friendly reforms and pursue economic growth.

"This mandate gives us the green light to implement the National Development Plan and to promote inclusive economic growth and job creation," Zuma said in his acceptance speech, referring to a pro-business platform adopted by the ANC in 2012.

Zuma's party, the African National Congress (ANC) won 249 of the 400 seats in parliament, the electoral commission said in its official tally.

Its main rival, the Democratic Alliance, won 89 seats while the ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) took 25 seats.

Overnight into Saturday, the government sent the military into the black township of Alexandra to control post-election protests in which 59 people were arrested for public violence. Army spokesman Brigadier General Xolani said the military would remain to back up the police for "as long as required."

Head of the newly formed EFF, and former ANC youth leader, Julius Malema called for calm: "People in Alexandra, we call on you to accept defeat. Do it in a dignified manner," he said. "Don't put South Africa into ashes because of election outcomes."

Platinum mines

Separately, platinum producer Lonmin said it anticipated a "mass return to work" on Wednesday at its strike-hit South African operations, according to Reuters. The strike is the longest and costliest ever on South Africa's mines and has hit 40 percent of global platinum supplies.

An internal memo seen by the agency said: "Managers and supervisors are returning from leave and ramp plans are in place for a safe return."

"Lonmin is gearing up for a serious back to work offensive on Monday 12 May in anticipation of a mass return to work on 14 May," the memo said.

After talks with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) collapsed, Lonmin, Anglo Americn Platinum and Impala Platinum took their wage offers directly to employees in a bid to end the 15-week strike.

Lonmin contacted its workers via text messages to ask if they wanted to accept the latest offer to settle the dispute over pay. The workers were given a deadline for their replies of last Thursday afternoon.

Workers who are members of the rival National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) had not taken strike action and had started to show up for work. The NUM's power in the platinum belt was undermined in 2012 when thousands of miners transferred to the AMCU.

Companies are offering wage rises of around 10 percent which they claim would bring the basic wage to 12,500 rand by 2017.

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