Modise calls for urgent intervention in mining sector

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pretoria - North West Premier Thandi Modise has called for an urgent dispute resolution intervention to prevent what could be further violence in the mining sector.

This comes after a resurgence of violence ascribed to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association for Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

Modise was reacting to a report that 13 people were wounded in gun and panga attacks at an Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine in Rustenburg, after a crowd of about 1 000 people besieged a union office.

“Though there were no fatalities, we are extremely worried that unions within the mining sector are allegedly involved in a bitter turf war that might open old wounds.

“The price that we all paid in Marikana was too costly for us not to be concerned about the impact recent developments might have on our economy,” Modise said.

According to police, the recent incident was provoked by a dispute between the two unions over access to mine offices, which prompted the intervention of mine security, who fired rubber bullets. In the process, 13 mine workers, including four security guards, were hurt.

About 44 people were killed in labour strife at Lonmin's Marikana mine in August last year.

Amplats has proposed a restructuring process that might lead to the closure of four shafts and 14 000 job cuts.

Amplats, the world's largest platinum producer, was hit by violent strikes last year, caused in large by the unions' battle for membership.

The company's shares closed down to almost 5% on Monday in trading, at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. –