South Africa: Rustenburg’s-Platinum Belt

Murder and war talk as the
killing fields move to Amplats

“We are trying to observe discipline, but the government and the state needs to remember that a man on the edge of the cliff knows no reason. The management and the police are pushing these people into a corner, and then are telling them to comb their hair, while a noose is being tied around the workers’ necks.”

more information from today via Daily Maverick

My Questions to this issue:

Is that a labor dispute about
better social conditions for the miners?
or is it only a showdown between two rival unions –
the NUM and AMCU? or is this the beginning of the
final battle about the question:
Who is the owner of south Africa’s ore mines?

(Reuters) – Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) fired 12,000 wildcat strikers on Friday, a high-stakes attempt by the world’s biggest platinum producer to push back at a wave of illegal stoppages sweeping through South Africa’s mining sector and beyond. (full text)

(TimesLive ZA) Anglo American Platinum’s decision to fire 12,000 striking workers has been met with mixed reaction. (full text)

Press Announcement:
Anglo American Platinum – Dismissed 12,000 Employees on Account of Illegal Strikes

update, 05 October 2012

Anglo American Platinum Limited (“Anglo American Platinum”) is providing an update on the ongoing illegal industrial action around its Rustenburg mining operations. It has been three weeks since the initial safety suspension and the subsequent industrial action by employees in the Rustenburg area.

Despite the company’s repeated calls for employees to return to work, we have continued to experience attendance levels of less than 20%. Currently four of the company’s mining operations in the Rustenburg area have insufficient staff to operate and only essential services are being carried out at those mines. Our Rustenburg concentrators, smelters and refineries and Bathopele Mine continue to operate normally.

Disciplinary hearings for striking Rustenburg mine employees have been completed and affected employees will be informed of the outcome of the hearings today. Those employees will have three working days to appeal the outcome. Approximately 12,000 striking employees chose not to make representations, nor attend the hearings, and have therefore been dismissed in their absence.

Anglo American Platinum also confirms that the company has begun to experience strike contagion at its Union and Amandelbult (Tumela and Dishaba) operations, where workers have presented memorandums of demands similar to those received in Rustenburg. The Union and Amandelbult Mines, including Mortimer Smelter, are not in operation due to insufficient attendance.

Anglo American Platinum confirms that as a result of the illegal industrial action of its employees and the initial safety suspension, total lost platinum production has amounted to 39,000 ounces, resulting in approximately R700 million of lost revenue.

Chris Griffith, Anglo American Platinum CEO, says: “The Company is committed to participating in the Platinum centralised engagement structures driven by the Chamber of Mines, as well as exploring the possibility of bringing forward wage negotiations within our current agreements.”

Anglo American Platinum continues to work with the local authorities and other stakeholders to support the restoration of law and order to the affected areas.”

Further updates will be provided when appropriate. For further information click (here)

Cynthia Carroll, Anglo American Platinum CEO and chairman De Beers (news). Leadership team of Amplats click (here)

The strike affected mines are located in the Bushveld Complex (BIC) it is a large ingenious intrusion within the Earth’s crust which has been tilted and eroded and now outcrops around what appears to be the edge of a great geoological basin, the Transval Basin. The BIC contains some of the richest ore deposits on Earth.
(Die bestreikten Minen liegen im Bushveld-Komlex und sind von geopolitischer Bedeutung, denn hier liegen die größten Erz-Lagerstätten der Welt.)


South African: One-Gold-Mine

Strike ends at South African
gold mine after mediation

Copy/ Paste via 2012-09-05 14:59:20 GMT2012-09-05 22:59:20(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English 

JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) — Thousands of miners have agreed to end their week-long strike at Gold Fields‘ KDC East mine thanks to the mediation by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), it was announced on Wednesday.

„Gold Fields Limited (Gold Fields) is pleased to announce that the unlawful strike by 12,000 employees at the KDC East mine on the West Rand in South Africa has been resolved and that striking employees have agreed to return to work with the commencement of the night shift tonight,“ the company said.

The strike was resolved after the national leadership of NUM met with NUM members on the mine to resolve the differences between them and office bearers of the local NUM branch.

Nick Holland, Chief Executive Officer of Gold Fields, said: „We commend the national leadership of the NUM, in particular President Senzeni Zokwana and General Secretary Frans Baleni, for their bold leadership in resolving the strike. While we cannot condone the unlawful nature of the strike, and will implement the no work, no pay and no dismissal principle, we are pleased with the peaceful manner in which our employees conducted the strike.“

The workers at the mine west of Johannesburg began the strike on Aug. 29, demanding a change in leadership at their local union branch.

„The leadership of the NUM has engaged with these workers and their issues and made a commitment that their demands will be investigated and attended to,“ NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement.

„The workers overwhelmingly agreed to return to work and made a commitment to never again be misled by people with ulterior motives.“

A series of strikes have hit the South African mining industry since last month. The most serious strike took place at the Lonmin Marikana Platinum Mine in the North West Province, where 44 people were killed in violent clashes sparked by a wage protest.


last news by Greg Marinovich via Daily Maverick: Tide is turning against police as miners lay charge of torture

Charges may be laid against police after brutality was alleged by incarcerated miners. The miners, now released, claim to have been tortured by police, but torture as such is not a crime in South Africa – yet.

Neville Alexander

Guest Post: Education before Liberation

via SAHO by Selim Gool: Neville Alexander (22.10.1936-27.08.2012)

August 28, 2012

I was informed of Neville´s cancer some time ago by close friends who knew our close friendship – but Neville was not only my friend (he was considerably older being born in 1936 and I in 1948) but also of many members of the Gool and Abdurahman family – who were closely connected to Cmde. Neville Alexander since he first come to Cape Town in the mid-1950s (1953?).

Neville was first was involved in the Cape Peninsula Students´ Union – with my Aunt Amina Gool´s elder daughter, my cousin, Nina Fredrericks – and the Teachers´League (TLSA) and in the study-groups and “groupuscules” (Society of Young Africa -SOYA) spawned by the Non-European Unity Movement (NEUM), later called the Unity Movement (UM) in exile, during this period.

But Neville had come into contact with the Algerian NLF-students/workers clubs and unions based in Stuttgart, while in Germay and was also influenced by the Cuban Revolution. But another major catalyst must also have been the SDS “Students´ For A Democratic Society”, led then by Rudi Deutscher et al. He was a fighter, an activist an organiser – not a “drawing-room intellectual” that seemed to be the main occupation of the Cape Town Left intellectuals – and which gave rise to the critical hostility and venom poured on them.

My Mother Halima spoke highly of him to me, and my father Goolam, Vice-President of the NEUM till his death in 1962, had met him in the 1905s in the TLSA and Anti-CAD and especially in the New Era Fellowship – with such luminaries as Jane Gool, Saul Jayiya, Ali Fataar, Hosea Jaffe and R.O. Dudley. So Neville, was “politically active” in the various faction of the fractious “Left”-formations that appeared (and “disappereared”“) over the next decade in Western Cape Leftist politics.

This is a torturous history and full of contradictions and I need not dwell on this at length!

The dominanct faction of the NEUM, was controlled then by Benny Kies, a teacher turned advocate (who defended many of the BCM comrades post 1970 pro bono later), and in the TLSA and Anti-CAD, who had broken with my Uncle Issac B. Tabata (companion of my Aunt Jainup/Jane Gool), and who in 1961 formed the African Peoples´ Democratic Union of South Africa (Apdusa). The later New Unity Movement stems from O. R. Dudley´s attempt to “re-surrect” the old NEUM after 1985 (in opposition to the UDF) especially the “civic organisations” in the Western Cape (Federation of Cape Civic Associations).

But on his return from Germany after higher studies & research betwen 1958-61, Neville was involved in an underground “cell” with Kenny and Otillie Abrahams and Elizabeth van den Heever et al – the Yu Chi Chan Club (YCCC) and later the National Liberation Front (NLF) but without the “permission” of the Kies-faction and was subsequently “expelled” from the NEUM. He was sentenced to 10 years from 1964-74 charged with “conspiracy to commit sabotage” and planning the “violent overthrow of the White Supremacist State”.

Banished to Robbin Island in 1963, Neville and many of the post-Sharpville ANC/SACP and PAC people lived a hard life there but soon formed a “University” devoted to study and political discussion – joined by many of the Apdusa people (Bobby Wilcox et al) and later by the “Black Consciousness Movement” (BCM) younger generation in the early 1970s.

Neville had mant interventions with the latter political grouping (see his address: @ and on his release had close contact with the BCM and its affiliates – the formation of WOSA and the National Forum and the alliance with the Azanian tendency (Azapo) was however, seen as a threat to the political hegemony of the “Congress Tendency”, who had the backing of the SACP/Sactu and later by Cosatu after 1985.

Remember that in events AFTER the Soweto students´uprising (after 1976) there were clashes between the rival political tendencies and the formation of pro-ANC “com-tsotsi gangs” who physically liquidated (“necklacing”) their political opponents (the AZASM and AZAPO youth) in the townships around the Witwatersrand complex, as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela´s “Mandela Football Club” of thugs ruled in Soweto) – this is our history too! Now it is being hidden from history!

Now the ANC-government wants to “appropriate” the mantle of Neville Alexander and bask in his glorious radience! And the Director of the ANC-dominated South African History Online website Mr Omar Badsha now speaks of ” … and the need for change for the systems underpinning it was crucial to the ideas Neville proposed. ..” (sic!).

O,K. I did NOT always agree with Cmde. Neville, and I thought that the groupuscule-like WOSA, was really not so successfull (I had lived in Europe in the post-1968 era and got to know the Left there pretty well in our United Front Actions against Racism, Apart-Hate and Creepy Fascism).

And before my return from exile in1993, I had contacted Neville personally to ask if these was work ,or at lest the possibility of research, with his group (SACHED, where Neville was Director from 19890 as that was also in the frame then, and I eventually went to work at Khanya College, Salt River in1994) after carrying out a very interesting educational research project with Neville and Crain Soudin at the PRAESA at UCT in late 1993-94.

His book “One Azania, One Nation: The National Question in South Africa”, published by Zed Books in London (1979), published under the alias “No Sizwe” (sic) drew the heaviest and most hostile fire from the Congress “intellectuals” and the masters, the SACP, in exile! Especially the double-agent and apartheid spy Wellington Madolwana /”Dr Francis Meli” who wrote the atrocious history of the ANC “South Africa Belongs to Us: A History of the ANC” (James Curry, 1989), an alcoholic, who died in Johannesburg in 1990 and former editor of Sechaba, the official journal of the ANC (printed in the GDR) and a member of the ANCs National Executuve Committee. (NEC), and the SACPs Politbureau.

Meli (apparently derived from the initials Marx-Engels-Lenin-Institute !) was also the first political commisar at Nova Katenga camp in Angola from the end of 1976, in charge of “ideological and political indoctrination” of the young recruits of the Soweto genration of ´76. The roots of Stalinism in the ANC YL – find it here!

Also “Comrade Mzala”, a very popular polemicist with the young cadre in exile (but who died of AIDS before coming home), as well as Prof Kader Asmal, Prof Harold Wolpe and Z. Pallo Jordan (ex Minister of Farts-und-Kulur) all had a go at Neville – expounding at length on their Stalinist conception of the “Two-Stage”/National Democratic Revolution (NDR) of Menshevik pedegree (pre-1917 vintage note!) and chiding him for his conception of the “Uninterupted – or Permanent – Revolutionary” process, which they claimed was of “Trotskyite” (sic) origin!

Worth re-visting in light of the past 20 years of ANC in Government. Just take a look at their polemical style, folks, and see the spittle and venom dripping from the pages! No, Neville was “no friend” of the NDR or of the Congress Alliance!

No mention is made of the iMbokodo/the grindstone (the dreaded “Security Department” which had its heyday in the prison-camps in Angola, Quadro, Viana etc, between 1978-88 and the MK revolt – named the Mtatashinga (burden); of the ANCs Dept of Intelligence and Security or the NAT under SACP stalwart Jacob Zuma; no mention of the constant exortations from Lusaka on “Radio Freedom” (headed no less by Thabo Mbeki and deputy Pallo Jordan) – for the insurrectionary slogan “Liberation BEFORE Education!” – which SACHED and especially Neville had to counter (to no avail!) with the voice-of-reason slogan: “EDUCATION Before Liberation!”. The emergeant paedontocracy, government of the illiterate young, has its roots here friends.

Books like “Sow The Wind” and “Language Policy and National Unity in South Africa/Azania (1989), and “An Ordinary Country – Issues in the Transition from Apartheid to Democracy in South Africa, University of Natal Press (2002) gives an account of Neville´s political trajectory and personal viewpoints post-1994 on the “State of the Nation” (esp. the latter, he takes the ANC government to task for their “historic compromises” and “back-tracking” on many issues: “nationalization”, “language poicy”, their “class compromises” that has led to our present state of social stasis and even the lowering of the living standards of the masses, while the new black bourgeoisie and State klepocrats in the State Apparatus and NGOs “enrich themselves”. To see is to believe ….

But be that as it may, the attempt to “appropriate” Neville Alexander by the Congess Movement is patently dishonest and a political manouver – to evade their own complicity/duplicity with that of the police action in the murder/ assassination of the miners at Marikana – who were shot in the back!.

That there is now a Judicial Commission to “investigate” the killings is also a patent manouveur: see the postings @ “Justice Now for Marikana Strikers” – on the facebook pages, for a constant update on the “tragedy” at Marikana.

It is now clear that the ANC Government, the unions allied to it NUM/ COSATU are desperate and want a “cover-up” … We must not allow this to happen. And the pliant pro-business, pro-ANC media all go along for the ride.

Rest in PEACE Comrade Neville and be sure your memory not be “appropriated” by the counter-revolutionaries!

Instead, I urge readers to visit the fb FORUM: “Justice Now for Marikana Strikers” and the debates of Selims Blog, @