Striking Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mineworkers demanded pay of R16,070 a month at a meeting at the Blesbok stadium in Rustenburg on Thursday.
This was according to Gaddafi Ndoda, who described himself as a member of a newly formed workers’ committee.
“To us, R12,500 is just a basic salary,” he said, referring to the amount raised as a demand among many mineworkers over the past weeks.
“Anglo is the most-paying (sic) mine in the country, so our demand is different from other mineworkers,” said Ndoda.
He said they wanted “nothing to do” with AngloPlats’ Mageu beverage, and wanted their refreshment allowance to be R30 a day.
On Wednesday workers there complained about the quality of the Mageu, an energy drink made from fermented grains.
He said currently workers were not entitled to a safety and transport allowance.
“We want our transport allowance to be R60 daily and [our] safety allowance to be R1500.”
They also wanted the increase in their living-out allowance to be R2000 — up from R1700.
An “executive committee” of six members representing workers outside formal union forums had been formed and they were expected to take a memorandum to the mine’s management in Klipfontein near the stadium, he said.
While heading towards the nearby offices, about half the workers who had been in the stadium accompanied the committee, singing and dancing, amid tight security.
As in the past week, the police had Nyalas stationed in the area and a helicopter overhead. Amplats security vehicles and security guards were also on alert, and a Netcare911 ambulance was on standby.
Workers carried knobkerries, sticks and whips. Some also carried umbrellas.
It appeared that a group of striking workers from Lonmin Platinum did not join them as hoped.
Amplats said it suspended operations on Wednesday out of concern for the safety of its employees, and said there was no strike at the mine.
CEO Chris Griffith said the situation in the Rustenburg area was volatile, and that people who wanted to go to work could not because of threats of violence.
“Anglo American Platinum has decided to suspend its operations in the Rustenburg area with immediate effect,” he said in a statement.
“The suspension will continue until such time as operations can be safely resumed.”
Amplats’ chairwoman Cynthia Carroll said the company was in touch with authorities “at the highest level” to identify ways of working with government and the recognised labour unions to achieve a swift and peaceful resolution.
She said the company’s Rustenburg platinum operations were already under financial pressure, and the suspension of operations on Wednesday risked their long-term viability, the longer the situation lasted.
A strike at Lonmin entered its second month this week. Workers at Gold Fields’ KDC West mine were also on strike on Thursday. – Sapa