South Africa: NUM Holds Its Marikana Rally, Vows to Regain Lost Platinum Belt Ground

analysis

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) held its rally in Marikana on Sunday, vowing to retake ground it lost to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu). It remains to be seen if this opening shot across Amcu's bow is a harmless blank or a shell with explosive consequences.

In Marikana over the past seven years, the NUM union has been a highly endangered species which some observers may have regarded as extinct. So on Sunday 17 November it was like a flock of dodos had suddenly appeared on Mauritius when busloads of NUM members clad in their trademark red shirts arrived at a community hall in Marikana for a rally.

The date is not without significance as it is the birthday of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, NUM's founding leader who was a Lonmin director when the Marikana massacre took place in August 2012 during a violent wildcat strike against the now extinct platinum producer.

The mood it must be said was light-hearted ahead of the rally, with a small group of NUM members toi-toiing on the street in front of the venue, which was monitored by a heavy contingent of police. One man in the green shirt...

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