JOHANNESBURG, January 8 – The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Tuesday blamed Sibanye-Stillwater for the clashes between it and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) that have resulted in a number of mineworkers being killed, injured, and property being damaged in the Carletonville area.
NUM earlier condemned what it called the escalation of violence and attacks on its members at Blybank in Carletonville, allegedly by members of Amcu which is on strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s nearby Beatrix mine. NUM said at least 15 houses and six cars belonging to its members had been burnt since the strike by Amcu, which started last November.
In response to the NUM’s allegations, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said this was further proof the great lengths Sibanye will go to ensure that the South African worker remains oppressed.
About 15,000 Amcu members have been on strike at Sibanye’s gold mines since November 22, 2018. The union is refusing a three-year wage agreement signed by the mine and three other unions and is demanding a R1,000 annual wage increase for the next three years.
“Since the commencement of our strike Sibanye-Stillwater has resorted to violence so these allegations are nothing new. What must be reported are the acts of violence and terrorism Sibanye has inflicted on our members. Our members have been shot at, stabbed and killed including comrade Sechaba Matsoetlane from Lesotho and yet no arrests have been made,” Mathjunwa said.
“Our enemy is not the NUM. We just want to plead with them to change their mentality and stop being used by Sibanye Stillwater. We are fighting for the same thing, the economic liberation of the mineworker because what we will achieve in this strike will also benefit their members and their children.”
Mathunjwa was addressing Amcu members at Sibanye’s Kloof and Driefontien operations in Carltonville in the first central mass meeting of 2019, outlining the Union’s plans for the year including a march to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and a second strike in the platinum sector.
Mathunjwa said this year, Amcu will stage a national central mass meeting in a demonstration of the right to free association of the union. He said the purpose of this meeting would be to help establish a government that will ensure the protection of workers’ rights.
“Amcu has no political allegiance to any political party or organisation and never will. We want to demonstrate our commitment to a government that fights for the rights and dignity of workers in this country. Therefore, we will decide on which political party is best mandated to do this and hold them accountable by means of our vote,” Mathunjwa said.
– African News Agency (ANA)