[Marxism] (Fwd) "Marikana Massacre" at Lonmin (& World Bank) mine in South Africa: 44 dead thanks to 'unacceptable face of capitalism' (Edward Heath on Lonmin) and SA Police

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri Aug 17 22:46:45 MDT 2012

*The Marikana Massacre: Award-winning Lonmin, assisted by World Bank, *

Thanks to *Lonmin*'s exploitative practices (paying just $500/month for 
extremely dangerous rock-drilling), its cooptation of the *National 
Union of Mineworkers* (NUM), and the *African National Congress* 
government's perpetual willingness to send in murderous forces of law 
and order to defend capital against labour, communities and environment, 
*an estimated 34 of the men in the photo below are now dead and another 
78 are injured. *(Last week, ten other mineworkers, two police and two 
security guards were killed in circumstances that aren't yet clear.)


There are a great many details about the background context and the 
incident, though much more information is needed, particularly to 
understand why the undisciplined police opened fire with automatic 
weapons for at least three minutes. No police offers report being 
wounded in this one-sided massacre, so claims that 'the miners shot 
first' aren't credible, at this stage of what is publicly known.

No journalists so far have seemed to notice the *Washington* 
fingerprints on these corpses. Along with other major Lonmin partners 
and shareholders, the *World Bank *and its *International Finance 
Corporation* - always ready to promote disastrous extractive-industry 
projects - bear responsibility. In purely financial terms, they've done 
well; notwithstanding a little disruption to the share price and bad PR 
for the company, their interest repayments on a reported $100 million 
loan made in 2007 (due to expire in 2014), their profits and their 
dividend flow on at least $15 million in equity investments (and as much 
as $50 million, as full details are not available) will be protected. 
After all, Lonmin had ordered the striking mineworkers back on the job 
yesterday on threat of being fired, and since they have the official 
(now unpopular minority) sweetheart union on board against the majority 
of the workforce, telling the workers they couldn't have higher wages, 
those labourers who do now return will get paid the standard pittance. 
The platinum price rises quickly when there are supply interruptions of 
this sort, so in sales terms, they will not lose out on the down days. 
The Bank loan and investment were allegedly to address the huge 
socio-environmental damages done by this mining operation... and thus 
the World Bank gets repaid because workers' wages have been so low, and 
the communities nearby remain horrific slums.
* Details are here: 

* South Africa's most dishonest, greenwashing bank, Nedbank, awarded 
Lonmin and the World Bank its top prize in the socio-economic category 
of the Green Mining Awards (sic), a few years ago: 
* The World Bank was especially delighted with Lonmin's 'gender equity' 

* Another World Bank role was whitewashing the historic capture of land 
by white settlers, for Lonmin "has established community resettlement 
policies which comply with the World Bank Operation Directives on 
Resettlement of Indigenous Peoples and Cultural Property. There were no 
resettlements of communities and no grievances lodged relating to 
resettlements. In terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act 22 of 
1994, the Company is in the process of addressing several land claims 
lodged against it before 2011. The resolution of these claims is being 
managed within the legislative framework of the regional Land Claims 
Commission and Land Claims Court."
* The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) reports: /The 
mine has had a troubled history with the communities and its workers. A 
stakeholder perception survey commissioned by Lonmin in 2005 shortly 
after it acquired the mine and before IFC's investment showed that most 
respondents regarded the mine with "negativity combined with mistrust, 
suspicion and in some cases hatred." In fact, the conflict between the 
unions, which is thought to have sparked the violence this week, was 
visible even seven years ago. The survey reported a history of mistrust 
between all three unions. Participants reported union favoritism and 
discrimination at the mine and urged Lonmin to "treat people equally, 
regardless of race, job level or union affiliation."Despite criticism 
from communities and NGOs that industrial mining projects often result 
in serious human rights violations and little economic development, the 
IFC continues to justify its investments as a "key source of jobs, 
economic opportunities, investments, revenues to government, energy and 
other benefits for local economies." In documents disclosed on the 
Lonmin deal, IFC asserted that, "This investment is expected to have 
beneficial results for the workforce and surrounding communities." 
Indeed, IFC documents state that Lonmin "supports the protection of 
human life and dignity within their sphere of influence by subscribing 
to the principles laid down in the United Nation's Declaration of Human 
Rights." And yet despite attesting to a close working relationship with 
the South African police force on matters of security, a statement made 
yesterday by Lonmin chairman Roger Phillimore characterized the violence 
as "clearly a public order rather than a labor relations associated 
matter."... / /In addition to seeking a full investigation into the 
violence and what led to it, CIEL has called on World Bank President, 
*Jim Yong Kim*, to *revisit the Bank's investment in this project* in 
light of recent events, specifically, and its approach to *lending in 
the extractive industries more generally. *//- 
/http://ciel.org/Law_Communities/Lonmin_17Aug2012.html -


*What is the broader context? Lonmin's 'accumulation by dispossession' 
as simplest historical/contemporary explanation, and also most 
variegated: */A British prime minister, Edward Heath, observed in 1973 
that a businessman, a truly horrible savage called “Tiny” Rowland, 
represented “the unpleasant and unacceptable face of capitalism.” The 
description was fitting because Rowland was a perambulating piece of 
filth who had indulged in bribery, tax-dodging, and the general range of 
ingenious whizz-kid schemes designed to make viciously unscrupulous 
people rich and keep them that way./ - 

- *Earlier on Thursday,*Lonmin* said in a statement that *striking 
workers would be fired* if they did not appear at their shifts on Friday.
- "*Today is unfortunately D-day*," police spokesman *Dennis Adriao* was 
quoted as saying.

Video* (eTV) of massacre: 


*Rudimentary class analysis *(from a surprising source)*: 

Ms. Polgreen, The Times’s Johannesburg bureau chief, reports that “the 
strike has pitted the country’s largest mine workers union, which is 
closely allied with the governing A.N.C., against a radical upstart 
union demanding sharp increases in pay and faster action to improve the 
grim living and working standards for miners.” The conflict between the 
traditional union, the National Union of Mineworkers, and the newer and 
more radical union, the Association of Mine Workers and Construction 
Union, contributed to violence around the strike earlier this week. Ten 
people died, including two police officers and three security officers.

    Lydia Polgreen @*lpolgreen* <https://twitter.com/lpolgreen> From the
    miners I spoke to there was a deep sense that NUM has simply become
    part of the power elite. #*Lonmin*
    16 Aug 12
    <https://twitter.com/lpolgreen/statuses/236159993827696640> In the
    clash between NUM and AMCU are we seeing South Africa's future?
    *Complacent power tied to biz interests vs impatient upstarts?*
    #*Lonmin* <https://twitter.com/search/%23Lonmin>


*Misinfo from Pretoria on police tactics:*

    Police to use water cannon rather than rubber bullets

Sapa | 06 August, 2012 11:32

      Water cannons will be used instead of rubber bullets to prevent
      deaths during protests, police say.

"The Andries Tatane incident in Ficksburg was unfortunate. We do not 
want a repeat of that," spokesman Zweli Mnisi said.

Tatane was killed, allegedly by police using rubber bullets, during a 
service delivery protest in Ficksburg last year.

The use of rubber bullets during protests would be stopped, Police 
Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Sunday at the Mpumalanga safety and 
security summit.

This was contained in the white paper on safety and security.

The use of rubber bullets had been under discussion for the past two 
years, Mnisi said. The use of water cannons was a start, but citizens 
had to act responsibly during protests.

"The issue of training also becomes crucial.... That is why we do not 
just send any police officer to man a protest."

Mnisi said the police procured various items, such as water cannons, 
before the 2010 Soccer World Cup.


*Reproduction-of-labour-power context:


*Platinum miners ‘will pay for their sins’

/Daily Maverick/
André Janse van Vuuren | Tue, 14 Aug 2012

LONMIN and the other major platinum producers of North West will bear 
the brunt of more violent community protests for as long as discontent 
over employment, poor service delivery and the harmful social 
consequences of mining in these areas are not addressed.

This is according to the Bench Marks Foundation, which on Tuesday 
released the findings of its Policy Gap 6 study. The study is a 
follow-up investigation into a controversial 2007 report which showed 
that despite the value extracted from platinum mining, local communities 
were facing harmful social, economic and environmental impacts as a 

According to the latest study, the situation has not changed and mining 
companies have yet to assume their responsibility for the negative 
consequences of their mining activities.

The North West University’s David van Wyk, researcher and author of the 
report, said a likely cause for the unwillingness of both mining 
companies and the various spheres of Government to address these issues 
was what he called “political pollution”; a situation where prominent 
politicians and their families were sitting on the boards of mining 
companies, serving the interests of shareholders rather than the 

The study focused on the activities of the six major mining group 
operating in North West – Anglo American Platinum, Lonmin, Impala 
Platinum, Xstrata, Aquarius Platinum and Royal Bafokeng Platinum – 
making recommendations for each one on how they should negate the 
impacts of mining in the areas where they operate.

Lonmin, currently the subject of major labour violence that has so far 
claimed the lives of at least nine people, has been fingered for its 
employees’ poor residential conditions.

“This can be seen in the proliferation of shacks and informal 
settlements, the rapid deterioration of formal infra-structure and 
housing in Marikana itself, and the fact that a section of the township 
constructed by Lonmin did not have electricity for more than a month 
during the time of our last visit,” the report read. “At the RDP 
township we found broken-down drainage systems spilling directly into 
the river at three different points.”

The report also said the Foundation was concerned about the appearance 
of bilharzia warning signs next to surface water streams in Marikana. 
“The presence of bilharzia in the surface water in the Bojanala District 
is a direct consequence of informal settlement, a major cause of which 
is the housing policies of mining companies, and failure to maintain and 
repair sewage and drainage systems by local government.”

Lonmin was also singled out over its use of local chiefs or councillors 
as recruitment officers, where especially prospective female workers 
have to offer sex or money in return for employment.

The report also highlighted the cracks in community upliftment plans. 
For example, it said, all the mines surveyed contributed to the 
construction of classroom blocks and in some cases, to feeding schemes. 
However, said the Foundation’s Executive Director, John Capel, this was 
often done in a haphazard manner, without careful planning and 
consultation and often with no follow-up funding.

“The actual needs of the community and the resources available to 
continue the project are hardly ever taken into consideration, leading 
to numerous failed investments,” Capel said.

He said at the Lonmin supported school in Marikana, the research team 
found several blocks of old asbestos classrooms still in existence. The 
report also quotes an example of a computer centre that was built by 

“Although a wonderful initiative, the mine did not check whether there 
would be funding for a teacher,” it read. “The school has a fully 
equipped computer centre that cannot be used as the Department of 
Education considers the employment of a computer teacher at the school 
to be an unfunded mandate.”


*Immediate intra-labour conflict *(warning - a blame-the-victim angle in 
parts)*: *

  Lonmin crisis: A tinderbox of discontent

17 Aug 2012 01:00 - Kwanele Sosibo <http://mg.co.za/author/kwanele-sosibo>

Violence has become the modus operandi of such strikes in South Africa 
and Lonmin is no exception, writes Kwanele Sosibo.

It was only late on Wednesday afternoon, with the sun disappearing 
behind the koppie where about 3 000 striking Lonmin workers had set up 
camp that any telling action transpired.

A media circus had been perched all day on the open veld to the west of 
the Nkanini informal settlement, where some of the workers live in 
appalling conditions. The journalists, right behind the 30 vehicle 
police laager arranged about 150m from the miners, had their eyes 
trained on the "action" while their cars faced the opposite direction, 
ready for flight should the need arise.

Wednesday, however, presented no violence in the week-long strike on one 
of Lonmin's three mining operations. With disarmament negotiations 
collapsing earlier in the day and the miners now expressing their 
defiance through spirited song, the air was that of a colonial era 
military standoff – guns versus spears – and yet one could not shake the 
feeling that the day was being wasted by empty posturing on both sides.

Then, at about 5.30pm, a convoy of cars bearing National Union of 
Mineworkers (NUM) president Senzeni Zokwana arrived and parked near the 
centre of the police laager. Zokwana and some minders were whisked into 
an armoured police vehicle and driven a hundred or so metres to address 
his "constituency" from within the Nyala. After pleading with the 
unreceptive workers to return to work and refusing to step out of the 
Nyala, Zokwana hurriedly left the scene, tail firmly tucked between his 

The arrival of rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union 
(Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa, merely minutes later, was a 
contrasting affair. Flanked by two colleagues, Mathunjwa initially 
refused to go into the Nyala (a point he repeatedly stressed during his 
sunset address), preferring to make a meal of it by trekking to the 
assembled crowd on foot.

He was persuaded against the stunt by the police and task-force 
operatives. While he could have been  in some danger, more importantly, 
it would have been too obvious a signal of the changing guard at Lonmin, 
even for the journalists fenced off behind a human barrier of tactical 
response teams from various policing precincts.

*Favourable conditions*
Mathunjwa's address was a lesson in crowd control, peppered with slogans 
and choice phrases signifying allegiance. "You are not germs, you are 
people just like us," he shouted in imperfect Xhosa via an address 
system to a gradually warming response. "No one is going to get fired … 
but I must let you know that police have declared this a security zone."

Mathunjwa said that it was a disgrace that 18 years into democracy, 
workers were still earning R4 000 a month. He asked workers to trust him 
to help broker favourable conditions for a return to work, before 
calling on the workers' leaders to air grievances. Within 45 minutes, 
with dusk yielding to night, Mathunjwa was kept clear of journalists and 
zipped away.

Once again, the assembled workers had spoken. Just as at Implats, where 
the NUM's embarrassment was neutered by Cosatu secretary general 
Zwelinzima Vavi, the writing was on the wall for the NUM at Lonmin.

Earlier in the day, workers boasted of how undaunted they were by the 
police presence. On Tuesday afternoon, five hippos had posted close to 
the koppie, brandishing tear gas canisters and weapons in front of 
dancing workers, they said. Clad in brown slacks and a green and black 
tracksuit jacket, a young, clean-shaven Xhosa-speaking spokesperson who 
identified himself as Nzuza said: "We didn't run, so they left."

Nzuza said a helicopter, which had been circling around the gathered 
workers, also lowered its orbit to reveal armed soldiers before flying 
off. On Wednesday, he told journalists: "The police said they want to 
give us feedback from management but there's nothing they are coming 
with. They want to arrest us as leaders so this [strike] can end. We 
want the employer to come here. [Lonmin CEO] Ian Farmer must come. 
[Vice-president human capital and external affairs Barnard] Mokwena is 
just a messenger."

Nzuza told journalists that the men were not assembled under a specific 
union banner and that the strike might have been started by rock-drill 
operators, but "all of Lonmin" was represented. His fellow spokesperson, 
a taller man carrying two spears with a lime green quilt draped around 
his back claimed Wednesday's negotiations with police broke down because 
the workers realised that "NUM members were in the hippos, those very 
same people who killed us" on Saturday. "Which policemen can speak 
fanakalo?" he asked.

*Retaliation campaign*
The miners, speaking via peer representation, said they had been 
congregating on the "mountain" since Sunday after shots were allegedly 
fired at them on Saturday at the nearby Wonderkop hostel allegedly "by 
snipers in red National Union of Mineworkers T-shirts", killing two workers.

They have since embarked on a retaliation campaign they say, with 
casualties including policemen and security guards. A man found lying in 
crucifixion position on the edge of the koppie on Tuesday with his head 
split open and stab wounds to the torso, had apparently committed the 
cardinal sin of "fishing for information". His lifeless body was left on 
display the entire day as a warning to non strikers.

Police spokesperson Dennis Adriao said: "From the police's side, we want 
to reach an amicable end to this situation. We need the workers to 
disarm and disperse. We have spoken to the workers. We have spoken to 
union leaders, workers and mine management. If there are no results 
today, we'll be forced to act."

On Thursday evening, the police carried out their threat, killing 
several workers in addition to the 10 casualties earlier in week, which 
included two policemen.

The unprotected strike began late last week, with about 3000 rock-drill 
operators congregating on Friday and allegedly intimidating employees. 
They have since set their salary demands at R12 500 a month, for the 
lowest of workers, which includes rock-drill operators and their assistants.

*Bargaining units*
As was the case at Implats in February, a public blame game ensued 
between the NUM and Amcu. Mathunjwa, squeezing in a final word during an 
SAFM broadcast on Wednesday morning, told general secretary of the NUM, 
Frans Baleni: "Don't resort to violence when you lose members. Freedom 
of association. In 1994 we voted for that freedom." The NUM, meanwhile, 
has maintained that the violence is part of an intimidation strategy. 
"Eastern Platinum is ready to work," Baleni said earlier in the 
programme. "I met workers yesterday, 5 000 of them … Let all the killers 
be arrested, even if they are NUM members."

Most of the striking workers return to Wonderkop hostel after their 
daily meetings at the koppie. At a press conference at Lonmin a day 
earlier, Baleni said: "As our members are alleging, all violence is 
emanating from this desperately small union. All arrests emanate from 
this particular union. Confirmation of that will soon come."

Lonmin's Mokwena said that Amcu had 21% membership across the bargaining 
units. However, this looks likely to rise as the NUM has continued to 
bleed members among mineworkers. Trying to find workers openly aligned 
to the NUM is a tall order at Wonderkop due to disaffection and 

Lonmin stated on Thursday afternoon: "The striking rock-drill operators 
remain armed and away from work. This is illegal under the Labour 
Relations Act. Consequently, and in keeping with the terms of a court 
order granted to Lonmin on August 11 2012, the illegal strikers have 
today [Thursday August 16] been issued with a final ultimatum to return 
to work by their next shift on Friday August 17 or face dismissal… As a 
result of the disruption, Lonmin has so far lost six days of mined 
production, representing approximately 300 000 tons of ore, or 15 000 
Platinum-equivalent ounces."

Crispen Chinguno, a PhD candidate at the Wits school of social science 
who spent the past year studying patterns of violence in platinum mines 
in the Rustenburg area, said violence had become routine in strikes in 
the region.

"Workers feel that it adds both positive and negative value," he said. 
"At Implats, where workers were also demanding a salary adjustment 
outside of a bargaining agreement (R9 000), they ended up getting more 
than R8 000. The strike was illegal, some were dismissed, but most of 
them got their jobs back. From that perspective, the workers feel the 
use of violence is working for them. The negative aspects are some job 
losses, injuries and death." Chinguno believes that as is already 
happening, the pattern could replicate in other mines. Deaths have 
recently occurred at Aquarius Platinum's Kroondal mine.

The high level of shop-floor disgruntlement with established unions like 
the NUM opens the door for other unions who promise workers better 
quality representation. This is often described, as it is by the NUM, 
for example, as violent, opportunistic and unethical recruitment.

Chinguno, whose research took him to Aquarius, Implats, Lonmin and Anglo 
Platinum believes that a further explanation for the violence is the 
fact that workers have become more fragmented than before. Some are 
residing in informal settlements outside of the mines, some still live 
in hostels and some black workers occupy more skilled positions than 
others. Violence is used as a way of enforcing solidarity.

Chinguno said Amcu's position was that of the NUM 30 years ago, an 
upstart union stepping in to fill a void of disgruntlement. While Amcu 
cannot be directly linked to the violence, he said interviews with 
high-level Amcu leaders revealed that they understood violence as the 
workers' strategy of entrenching a majority.


*Background on miners' grievances: *Greg Marinovich

*Beyond the chaos at Marikana: The search for the real issues *

  * 17 August 2012 02:00 (South Africa)

Violent clashes between police and striking miners have left between 
seven and 18 people dead at the last count. But the miners – 
specifically, the rock drillers – are determined to stay on their 
outcrop until they are heard. But it’s more than a strike, writes GREG 
MARINOVICH – it’s becoming a war.

Several thousand men cover the orange outcrop of igneous rock like a 
single organism, spilling onto the dry thorn-veld below.

They are wrapped in blankets; their spears and fighting sticks 
protruding menacingly as they chant songs of war.

Ten men have died around this strange geological redoubt; two of them 
policemen. The violent showdown between these miners and their 
multinational employer, the platinum giant Lonmin, shows no sign of abating.

The hill is encircled by riot police in more than a dozen armoured 
Nyalas that surround the hill called Wonderkop. Further down the rutted 
road, more than a hundred policemen from the tactical unit and a private 
security firm eat their supper from plastic containers. They are dressed 
in bulletproof vests and are armed to the teeth.

It looks like war. It is a war.  A war of survival, certainly for the 
miners, and perhaps for the future of Rustenburg’s platinum mines too.

A few of the miners carry indecipherable cardboard signs with their 
demands. A man emerges from the shuffling, chanting body of men, 
ostensibly asking for a cigarette. Another joins him and we speak about 
who they are and what they want. All of Lonmin’s mine employees are out 
here, one claims. People of all nations and all job descriptions are 
here. All they want is for the lowest paid miners to get a decent wage. 
The rock drillers at Lonmin earn R4,000 a month, a scarred man tells me, 
no matter how long they have worked at the mine. They demand R12,500.

This is a massive increase of over 300%. Not surprisingly, mine 
management has balked, in addition to the fact that they are locked into 
a wage agreement that only expires next year. But surely this is the 
negotiating territory of the union, National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), 
part of the massive and powerful Cosatu umbrella, which represents them 
in a closed shop situation. Lonmin needs a good August to meet its 
annual production figures in a market where the shine has most 
definitely gone off platinum. But its share price has dropped 
precipitously on the back of the strike.

Why has it all gone so wrong?

Let’s step back here. The strike was called by the rock drillers. These 
are the men who work right down at the rock face, who have to work with 
a 25kg drill that vibrates wildly for the duration of an eight-hour 
shift. When there is a rock fall, it is generally the drillers who are 
the victims, who lose fingers or lives. It is the most dangerous job in 
the business. They regard themselves as men amongst men. It is a 
sub-culture of machismo.

Throughout the underground mining industry in South Africa, the rock 
drillers are BaSotho from Lesotho. It is their badge of pride that they 
do the dirtiest, most difficult job; yet one just two platinum mines, 
Lonmin and Impala Platinum (Implats), it is AmaMpondo and the related 
lBmvana (both sub-groups of the Xhosa) who dominate.

It is no coincidence that a bitter seventeen-week strike at Implats was 
also led by the Mpondo/Xhosa drillers. The striking miners I spoke to 
said that the Implats drillers had also been earning just R4,000 a 
month, but now they are at R9,500.

Imagine earning R4,000 a month to risk your life deep underground for a 
metal that powers rich people’s cars and bejewels fingers that have 
never laboured. The collection of essays “In Praise of Idleness” by 
Bertrand Russell articulates the logic of our labours: “First of all: 
what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of 
matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter; 
second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and 
ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid.”

A mining insider well acquainted with the platinum sector mused on the 
situation, on the mindset of the drillers. “Even though I belong to a 
union, they underrepresent my needs. My concerns are not adequately 
voiced, and I have no influence. Decisions never seem to benefit me.

“I am constantly violated; and have to work under subjective violence. 
Despite my strength, I am powerless.”

And so a familiar cycle begins – voices begin to murmur, “If we were not 
doing this dirty work, would any other the other better paid people in 
the links of mine labour be able to do theirs? If we stop; it all stops.

“If neither the union nor the employer will listen, we will make them. 
We will apply objective violence until they are forced to listen to our 

Hence the strike, and the walkout and the killings and the forceful 
police reaction that left two of their number dead and another in 
hospital. The miners are prepared to suffer violence until management is 
forced to come and talk to them. They will wait at their altar-like 
outcrop until they feel that they have found their lost power.

So why does the union that represents miners at Lonmin, and before that 
at Implats, appear not to represent this driller sub-culture?

When the 320,000-strong NUM had its election for General Secretary in 
2007, the Platinum sector put forward the NUM stalwart Archie Phalane as 
its nominee. He would run against Frans Baleni. At the congress, just 
before the vote, Phalane was told he could not contest the election as 
he was an employee of the union, and the rules stated that he had to be 
an elected official*. His supporters cried foul, and conspiracies 
abounded, but Baleni ran unopposed.

It seems straightforward enough, yet Phalane and his platinum sector 
supporters were seen to be sympathetic to the cause of ousted president 
Thabo Mbeki, and Baleni is supportive of current African National 
Congress leader and President Jacob Zuma. The union was behind Zuma, 
finish en klaar.

There was a resentment of NUM among their platinum sector members for 
some years, and so when, in May 2010, a NUM vice president, Piet 
Mathosa, came to persuade his members at Lonmin that management’s offer 
was a fair one, even though it fell well short of their demands, they 
did not respond well. A rock was thrown at him, injuring his eye so 
badly that he lost it, and spent weeks in hospital.

That could partly explain why NUM president Senzeni Zokwana, who refused 
to leave the safety of a police armoured vehicle to address the miners, 
was shouted down when he tried to persuade the Lonmin strikers to return 
to work. Which is also why the words of the AMCU official were greeted 
with cheers in the darkness of early evening in the straggly bush below 
Wonderkop. Or all of those miners were AMCU members already… No-one was 
saying – with good reason, as rumours of death threats swirled. That the 
majority of drillers are either foreign (from Lesotho) or rural, poorly 
educated men whose elected officials are usually smart young men from 
the district, whom they are slow to trust, has added to the volatile mix.

When we asked NUM what their version of the situation was, a new story 
emerged. On Thursday morning, Zokwana and Baleni painted an unflattering 
picture of both the rock drillers and AMCU. The general secretary 
confirmed that these men were indeed largely the least educated and 
literate of the employed workforce in the mines. They tend to come from 
the Eastern Cape and the mountains of Lesotho because the “township 
boys” don’t want to do the back-breaking work of rock drilling.

According to Zokwana, these uneducated rock drillers are always 
vulnerable to scam artists targeting the platinum industry in Limpopo 
and North West. He said that in some mines their retirement and death 
benefits as well as provident fund contributions were targeted. In 
Lonmin’s operations, these guys have taken the guise of a union that 
promises them R12,500 – which NUM adamantly says is unachievable for a 
rock driller.

Baleni also said that the AMCU organisers operating at the troubled 
Marikana mine were all expelled former leaders in NUM.

“NUM exercises discipline. It happens all the time that we expel members 
who form their own union. After a while, it disappears. The unique thing 
in this situation is the use of violence,” he said.

It is indeed a complicated business, with the platinum members of NUM 
having asserted their independence of their union; it was fertile ground 
for an upstart like AMCU to exploit this weakness, to make promises that 
they were unlikely to be able to deliver on. A dangerous ploy – the rock 
drillers seem to answer to nothing but themselves. The hard men of the 
underworld are determined to stay on the surface in their struggle to 
earn a living wage.

On Thursday afternoon, when police tried to move the miners off 
Wonderkop, there were clashes, apparently including shots fired at the 
police. The tactical unit of the police then retaliated with force which 
went beyond policing and into the realm of revenge. Journalists say 
between five and eighteen miners are dead, and many wounded.

More blood now stains the outcrop, as another sunset deepens the orange 
rock to red. *DM*

Read more:

  * Battle looms over NUM leadership on IOL


*More labour context - Terry Bell* reports prior to massacre:

  No angels in bloody SA mine clashes

/Posted on August 15, 2012/

The ongoing tension and violence at South Africa’s Lonmin platinum mine 
is a much more complex and messy business than a simple turf war between 
unions in the Rustenburg region of the country.  With various agendas in 
play, there is now a growing call from both trade unionists and mine 
officials for a throroughgoing commission of inquiry into the bloody 
clashes that have resulted in at least ten deaths over the past week alone.

Some of the present bitterness can be traced to a decision by the 
Imapala Platinum (Implats) management earlier this year to “derecognise” 
the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).  The union was given three 
months’ notice that it would cease to be recognised for the purposes of 
negotiation because its membership had fallen below the 50 per cent plus 
one mark of the workforce.  This is the “threshold agreement” adhered to 
by unions and management.

NUM promptly launched an urgent court application to halt this process, 
claiming that the figures used by Implats were incorrect.  NUM also 
conceded that some members had defected to the Association of 
Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), but said they had done so 
because of violence and intimidation. Amcu denied the charge and claimed 
to have gained a majority of union members, certainly at one Implats shaft.

This led to accusations from NUM that the mining house was embarking on 
a process to rid the mines of union recognition and were using Amcu to 
do so.  However, accusations by NUM that Amcu is a recent creation “of 
the Chamber of Mines” are clearly off the mark.  Amcu was formed more 
than a decade ago in the Mpumalanga coal fields by disgruntled NUM 
members. It is affiliated to the smaller National Council of Trade 
Unions (Nactu) federation.

Perhaps ironically, a “verification exercise” to establish union 
membership levels at Implats  — agreed at tripartite talks between 
unions and management — is scheduled to start on Monday.  However, Amcu 
has apparently now withdrawn from the exercise.  Lonmin is not involved 
and continues to recognise NUM.

Thr clashes at Lonmin seem to have started following the awarding by 
management of a R700 bonus to one section of the workforce. Others 
demanded that their income also be topped up — and a wildcat strike erupted.

Amcu, keen to make headway against the long entrenched NUM ,appears to 
have given a degree of support to the protesting miners, signing many of 
them up in the process. Who first attacked whom, who fired th first 
shots and in what circumstances is still unclear. But at least ten 
people ae dead.

At this stage, all that seems clear is that there are no angels in 
this;  no clear good guys and bad guys.  As a result, there is a growing 
realisation that, for the good of the industry and the labour movement, 
the details of this literally bloody business must be comprehensively 


More on class fractionation and NUM-as-labour-aristocracy:


*Mine unions' rivalry has been brewing under the surface*
BY CAROL PATON, 14 JUNE 2012, 00:00 | /Business Day/

IMPALA Platinum is a company being led down an uncertain path by its 
workforce. Gone is the certainty that came with a predictable labour 
relations framework and a trade union that took on the role of 
translating collective decisions to workers.

Now, there is the Association of Mining and Construction Union (Amcu): a 
trade union with a populist flavour and a new leadership that is fast 
establishing a foothold in the platinum industry. Within the next few 
months, when all the legal verification processes have been completed, 
it is pretty clear that Amcu will - at the very least - share 
organisational rights with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at 
Impala's mine.

Yet until three months ago, Amcu did not have a single member at Impala. 
Today, it claims 11000 and is still counting.

It has been tempting for observers to explain Amcu's rise by NUM's 
failings. This is not accurate. NUM is a successful union that has 
negotiated well for its members. Amcu's rapid growth also cannot be 
explained by its organisational brilliance.

Instead, what has brought about the change are dynamics that have been 
brewing under the surface for some time: first, the growing social 
distance between the NUM leadership and its members, due more than 
anything to the union's success; and second, the populist mobilisation 
of poor and working people fed up with low incomes and wealth 
disparities, that is a growing tendency in politics.

Some anecdotes from recent weeks capture both.

Jeffrey Thanzi is the NUM branch chairman of Impala North. When he 
recently accompanied management on a corporate social investment jaunt 
to one of its key labour-supplying areas in the Eastern Cape, he was 
pictured in the Impala News along with an article about the project. 
Since Mthatha is his home base, talk among the workforce was that he was 
so privileged that management had bought him a farm and 50 head of cattle.

After a similar visit to Taung, another labour supply area for the mine, 
the story went around that he had computer training schools in the area, 
which he had acquired from company money.

Rumours were also whipped up about other NUM leaders. Colin Monapule, 
the branch secretary of Impala South, who is also a trustee on the board 
of Impala's employee share ownership scheme, was almost lynched when 
workers spotted him in town wearing the white suit that his wife had 
bought him for their wedding. The suit must have been purchased with 
their shares, they claimed, which shrank rather than grew in price (as 
was promised five years ago when the scheme was launched) due to the 
fall in the platinum price. This was evidence that it was Mr Monapule 
who had eaten their money.

That such stories can be considered plausible by the workforce speaks 
volumes of the distrust that has developed between NUM members and 
leaders, who - although they do not own farms or generally wear flashy 
suits - are in much smaller ways, the elite of the workforce.

Union officials tend to be more articulate in English, sit in offices, 
have access to union resources such as cars on weekends, get time off 
work for union business, are wooed by service providers who would like 
to gain access to the large membership data bases they hold, and are 
easily identifiable by management for promotion. Unlike the rest of the 
workforce - which is largely illiterate - NUM branch leaders have better 
skills, which are developed through union work.

Says Sibongile Sigadla, one of the emerging leaders of Amcu at Impala: 
"The NUM leaders have got no truth. They are always on the side of the 
official - the people who already have many things. They have got a nice 
life. They can never come to us. It is difficult for them to come to us 
and say what is the problem?"

While the gulf between workers and their leaders grew insidiously over 
the years due to the privileges accorded to NUM officials, the sudden 
upheaval and revolt against it has its roots in last year's wage 

In those talks, which took place between NUM, the majority union, and 
management and were settled in October, an across the board increase was 
agreed of between 9% and 10%.

Impala executive director Paul Dunne says that during the talks 
management put a proposal on the table that rock drill operators - who 
are more skilled and who were at risk of resigning for better jobs - be 
given a higher increment. "We recognised that we were out of step with 
the rest of the industry both in job grading and in pay. It would have 
been pre-emptive to stop them from leaving. But that suggestion never 
found its way into the final agreement."

Mr Dunne says it is because the NUM rejected it. Sidwell Dokolwana, the 
NUM's provincial secretary, says it was never seriously on the table.

Either way, two months later, shortly before the December break, Impala 
management unilaterally decided to award qualified miners - among the 
most skilled of underground workers - an additional 16% adjustment. This 
was to stop a succession of resignations of miners leaving for better 
pay. The NUM was outraged that the wage agreement had been unilaterally 
overridden. And, when workers heard of the adjustment, awarded only to 
the better-paid among them, they were seething.

Says an underground winch-driver who did not want to give his name: 
"When you work underground you are a team. If there is no winch-driver, 
then there is no production. We are all contributing to this company. If 
someone gets an increase and you don't, then you feel bad."

Rock-drill operators, possibly having got wind of management's proposal 
during wage negotiations, led the strike, followed by the rest of the 
workforce. This was the strike that was largely responsible for SA's 
plummeting mining output in the first quarter of the year.

The country's platinum output dropped 46%. The loss to Impala was about 
R2bn. It was during this strike that the workers of Impala first made it 
clear that they no longer wanted the NUM to represent them.

Unfortunately for the NUM, the branch chairmen of both Impala North and 
South were qualified miners. Both therefore qualified for the 16% increase.

This was evidence, says Mr Sigadla, "that NUM negotiates only for 
itself. We saw the adjustment that the miners got. NUM are on the side 
of those who already have everything."

To make their rejection of the NUM clear, "workers have given back the 
keys for the NUM office to management" he says, meaning workers have 
closed the union offices by force. An attempt by NUM members to re-open 
them ended in a shooting incident and ever since the offices have 
remained closed.

Mr Sigadla is now one of what management describe as the "emerging 

He lives in a one-roomed shack in the sprawling informal settlement near 
Impala number one shaft. Platinum has caused the explosion of this area 
over the past 15 years from dusty veld into an chaotic industrial hub, 
teeming with machinery, trucks, trains, taxis and people.

A rock-drill operator, and having been a shaft steward for NUM for many 
years, Mr Sigadla was elected one of the "Five Madoda", or top five 
leaders, at Impala. He is fiercely impatient for change and deeply 
unhappy at what he views as the paltry wage settlements the NUM has 
settled for time and again. Not only that, but NUM officials, he says, 
do as they please on the mine, even carrying firearms into restricted 
areas with impunity.

They have also, he says made promises that workers would get huge 
amounts of money through the share ownership scheme, which have not 

Instead, when the scheme finally matured in December, workers who had 
been expecting tens of thousands of rands got only about R2000 each.

Populist stirrings among the workforce are now for a demand of 16% 
across the board and for the materialisation of their vanished share money.

Mr Sigadla is impatient with union leadership who tell him to go through 
procedures and follow the union constitution.

It has only been former African National Congress Youth League president 
Julius Malema, who visited Impala workers at the height of their strike, 
who sympathised with workers' impatience and urged the NUM to fire their 
local leadership.

"The NUM takes a long time to do everything. They have got many 
processes and procedures. They tell you to use the union constitution. 
But with Amcu, they just fight for the workers."

It is these words exactly, that Amcu "will fight for the workers" 
without being burdened by the responsibility of being a partner to 
management or a partner to government, that Amcu president Joseph 
Mathunjwa is frequently heard to say.

Mr Mathunjwa is also a former NUM leader, who fell out with the union 
and particularly its then general secretary Gwede Mantashe, back in 
1998. Based in Witbank and encouraged by workers at the colliery where 
he had worked, he has built up a presence for Amcu at a handful of coal 
mines in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Witbank. The union was registered with 
the Department of Labour in 2001.

But large scale success has come with the platinum mines, where he has 
tied up a recognition agreement with Lonmin at Karee mine and with 
Murray & Roberts at Aquarius. Amcu is now looking to the Klerksdorp 
goldfields and has already received a letter warning it to stay out of 

Mr Mathunjwa says his new-found success is the result of a wave of 
populism stirring in mining communities.

"It is about the history of how workers were treated. If workers were 
misrepresented for 15 or 20 years, you can imagine the anger and 
frustration. We are facing a situation not of our creation. If you're 
reaching the end of your working life and you're still earning R3000 
then you will think, what the hell is going on?"


*A perspective from capital-in-general *(Business Day columnist):

Lonmin shootings will change SA labour relations

17 AUGUST 2012,
THE emergence of a rival union in the platinum space must be the most 
worrying event in the 30-year history of the National Union of 
Mineworkers (NUM).

The union is one of the biggest and certainly most politically powerful 
under the blanket of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, 
representing close to a fifth of its entire membership and has an 
important place in the African National Congress (ANC) alliance.

Given the importance of mining in the South African economy, support 
from the union is integral to the ruling faction in the ANC. It is this 
political role on which its leaders may have placed too much focus 
because of populist nationalisation rhetoric as well as the succession 
battle, to the detriment of its core mandate.

Straying from that focus on the interests of its workers has opened up 
space on its shop floors for a rival union, the Association of 
Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu). This happens as the situation 
remains dire for miners in the platinum sector as prices for the metal 
remain weak and costs keep rising because of poor management and other 

The NUM lays the blame for the unfolding violence in North West on 
mining houses for making unilateral salary adjustments that undermine 
existing wage agreements. Amcu may have been opportunistic in using 
those grievances from the disparities in pay to muscle in, but where has 
the NUM been? The union should have been alert and ready to react to the 

You’ve got to think the union, which once had held sway over the entire 
mining industry, has taken its eyes off the ball in a big way. After the 
warning shots at Impala Platinum, the world’s second-biggest miner, the 
battle is playing out at Lonmin, the third biggest.

For the first time in the course of the Lonmin dispute, which has caused 
a number of fatalities, platinum prices have responded. In late 
afternoon trade, it had its biggest percentage gain in a month.

Anglo American Platinum, the world’s biggest miner, could well be the 
next explosion point in this festering battle. The NUM has warned that 
the turf war could spread to other mineral segments too.

The 30-year old NUM monopoly has certainly been challenged and it looks 
likely that it will continue to be unless its leadership gets focused on 
the matters at hand, instead of who occupies Luthuli House and the Union 

The deaths of the Lonmin workers yesterday have changed labour relations 
in the mining industry forever. Miners and the government may have to 
invite another party to the negotiating table, further complicating an 
already complicated mining regime.


*Financial capital prepares to panic:

Mine violence puts South Africa’s structural flaws in the spotlight, 
warns S&P

<http://www.bdlive.co.za/incoming/2012/08/05/evan-pickworth-profile>, 16 

CONTINUING union-related violence in South Africa’s platinum sector 
highlights structural issues afflicting the country that "we’ve always 
been concerned about", Konrad Reuss, South Africa MD of rating agency 
Standard & Poor’s, said on Thursday.

The agency revised South Africa’s sovereign outlook to negative earlier 
in the year, and Mr Reuss said the rating should be "resolved" within 
the next two years as he needed more guidance over the next 12-15 months.

But, he said issues such as the e-toll debacle currently before the 
courts, nationalisation talk ahead of the African National Congress’s 
elective conference in December, and bloody union clashes at Lonmin’s 
Marikana mine negatively affected market perceptions.

"The external perception of South Africa is definitely not healthy," he 
said. "There is no near-term resolution to the outlook statement."

The external environment, weaker fiscal parameters, and debt "going in 
the wrong direction" remained concerns, Mr Reuss said.

He added: "In the South African context, it does not hinge on something 




  Lonmin CEO is sick

August 17 2012 at 06:00am
By Sapa

As the country reeled in shock at the deaths of Lonmin mine workers in 
Marikana on Thursday, the company released a statement saying its CEO 
was ill.

“It is with regret that the company must announce that Ian Farmer, the 
chief executive officer, has been diagnosed with a serious illness and 
is presently in hospital.

“The board, on behalf of the entire company, wishes him a full and 
speedy recovery. Our thoughts are with Ian and his family at this 
difficult time,” Lonmin said in a statement.

It said the day-to-day running of the business would taken by over 
executive committee member Roger Phillimor.


*Solidarity resistance:*

-----Original Message----- From: Take Back the Commons 
<us at takethecommons.org> Sender: supporters-bounces at takethecommons.org 
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2012 17:45:51 Subject: 3pm protest at Parliament 
against police's senseless massacre of 18 Marikana strikers!

Join us at 15h00 at parliament today (17th of August) to protest the 
police and the mining bosses who have colluded in the massacre of 18 
miners in broad daylight!

See facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/277176292386858/

Thursday the 16th of August 2012 will go down in South African history 
as the new Sharpeville. 18 dead because police and the South African 
government cannot handle an independent union movement.

We are in solidarity with the workers of Marikana against the bosses and 
the police and those who support the bosses and police.

To protest this massacre and all other forms of police violence, we will 
gather at parliament on Friday the 17th of August at 3pm. Please bring 

Proof of massacre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImqAVon92VM

* Remember Hector Peterson!
* Remember Andries Tatane!
* Remember Hangberg!
* Remember Occupy Rondebosch Common!
* Remember the miners of Aurora killed by security!

 From Khayelitsha to Marikana, hands of our right to protest! From 
Aurora to Implats to Lonmin, bosses and their police must keep their 
hands off our people!

This is a non-political party rally. Politicians and police are not 

Down with police brutality everywhere! Down with oppression from mine 


17 August 2012

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press statement

Solidarity with Mine Workers at Marikana Platinum

Abahlali baseMjondolo are deeply shocked by the murderous cruelty of the 
South African police, and those that give the police their orders, at 
the Marikana Platinum Mine in the North West. The killing of more than 
40 mine workers yesterday by the SAPS is immoral and brings great 
disgrace on our country. There were other ways and much better ways to 
handle the situation. Yesterday will always be remembered as a dark day 
in the long history of oppression in South Africa.

We wish to express our solidarity to all the families of the workers 
that have been killed and injured. We share your sorrow. You are not 
alone. We carry our pain together. Your children may not grow knowing 
their fathers but they will not grow alone. We have to care for each 
other and stand together as we struggle for a world that puts human 
beings first and treats all human beings equally. We wish to express our 
solidarity to all struggling workers. We face the same system that makes 
some people rich and others poor. We face the same government that 
refuses to recognise our humanity, which tries to force us to the 
margins of society and which represses us when we resist.

The ANC have shown no regard for the people of this country. They are 
putting us in transit camps and trying to keep us in bantustans. They 
are leaving us to burn in our shacks every winter. They are beating us 
in the police stations. They are shooting us in the streets. Millions of 
us cannot find work. A government that kills its citizens is immoral and 
must be opposed by everyone. A government that kills its citizens has 
lost all moral right to govern. What happened yesterday is no different 
from the killings of the apartheid government. This is no different to 
the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 which claimed 69 lives. It is no 
different to the Boipotong massacre in 1992 which claimed 45 lives.

Millions of people have suffered in their shacks and millions have 
suffered with work and without work year after year. Some shack dwellers 
are also workers and sometimes shack dwellers are too poor to be 
workers. But we have all suffered enough at the hands of the police, at 
the hands of politicians and at the hands of the rich. It has always 
been our call that real freedom and democracy are still a dream for the 
poor and the working class. All we see is politicians enriching 
themselves by stealing public funds that are meant to better people’s 
lives. All we see is that the new government keeps on with many of the 
worst policies of the old government. All we see is that our struggles 
are criminalised and repressed. The progressive middle classes are 
struggling to defend the freedom and democracy that they received in 
1994. We are still struggling for freedom and democracy to come.

More than twenty five people have been killed by the police during 
protests since 2000. Tebogo Mkhonza in Harrismith, Monica Ngcobo in 
Umlazi and Andries Tatane in Ficksburg are just three of the people that 
have been murdered in the streets by the police. Activists have been 
tortured and assassinated. Our movement, like the Landless People’s 
Movement and the Unemployed People’s Movement, has been attacked in the 
night by armed men representing the ruling party. For months after our 
movement was attacked in the Kennedy Road settlement in Durban in 2009 
the homes of our leading members were openly destroyed every weekend 
while the police refused to intervene. Last year Nigel Gumede, the Head 
of Housing in eThekwini, publicly said that the ANC was at war with our 
movement and threatened to kill S’bu Zikode. Senior people in the ANC 
have set a clear tone for the rest to follow. Poor people have been 
encouraged to attack and kill each other in the name of ethnicity and 
nationality. It is time to say enough. It is time to say no more. It is 
high time that all progressive forces join hands to curb this carnage. 
It is high time that all progressive forces join hands in a struggle for 
real justice and real democracy.

We have to recognise that there is a war against the poor in this 
country. We did not want this war but it has come to us. Today no one 
can deny that a war is being fought against the poor. The red ants and 
the police are not here to serve the people. They are here to drive the 
poor out of the cities, contain us in the human dumping grounds and 
repress our struggles. We have to stop pretending that the politicians 
are our comrades when they have chosen to make themselves our enemies. 
We have to fight the war that has come to us. And we have to fight it in 
a way that puts human dignity and the equality of all people at the 
start of our struggle and at the heart of our struggle.

We are aware of the dangers of the South African politic when struggling 
citizens demand real freedom and democracy. Activists are living under 
serious threats all over the country. We are aware of the time bomb that 
the shack dwellers in this country are sitting on. We have always 
warned, from the time when we first started to organise, that the anger 
of the poor can go in many directions. The dangers that we face can come 
from how people respond to oppression as well as from oppression itself.

There is more protest in South Africa than in anywhere in the world. But 
the government takes no notice of the people. It responds by 
militarising the police. It responds by talking about third forces. The 
local party structures send out armed men in the night. The government 
wants to make the anger of the people criminal and treasonous. It works 
behind the scenes to support the armed men that invade our homes and 
threaten us and our families. We have to accept that this government 
does not care about us. We do not count to it. When we ask to be heard 
we are treated as criminals and traitors.

Abahlali baseMjondolo of the Western Cape will march to the National 
parliament in Cape Town at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon together with 
comrades from other organisations. In Durban we will hold conversations 
with different structures of our movement and our comrades in other 
organisations, as well as the churches, to plan a way forward. Global 
Peace and Justice Auckland in New Zealand will be marching to the South 
African embassy in Auckland at 1 Kimberly Road at 2pm today. Our 
comrades in Cape Town and New Zealand march with our solidarity.

We all have to stand together. A war has come to us and we must fight it 
in a way that makes sure that we never turn into our enemies. We must 
fight this war in a way that puts humanity against brutality and never 
in a way that puts one brutality against another. Once your struggle 
starts to make you like your enemies everything is lost. A politic of 
war has come to us. We have no choice but to resist. But we must resist 
with our own politic which is a militant people's politic that starts 
and ends by honouring the dignity of all people.


S’bu Zikode +27 83 5470474 Zodwa Nsibande +27 71 1834388 Abahlali office 
+27 31 3046420

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