Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nothing's changed. Apartheid remains in South Africa

From Al Jazeera 

" Workers at an embattled South Africa mine have vowed to prolong their wildcat strike, saying that returning to work would be "an insult" to 34 colleagues killed by police, even as the mine operator threatened to fire them over the walkout.

"Expecting us to go back is like an insult. Many of our friends and colleagues are dead, then they expect us to resume work. Never," said worker Zachariah Mbewu on Sunday, adding that no one would return to work as long as they were still in mourning."

From Wikipedia we have some Lonmin renumeration data.
Ian P. Farmer[19]Chief Executive Officer£351,538£213,990£565,528
Alan Ferguson[20]Chief Financial Officer£422,500£366,344£788,844
But this tells an interesting story  $120 a month or 912 pounds per year for an underground miner at Lonmin as opposed to 788,844 pounds a year for their chief financial officer. Interestingly  a SA Police officer gets a minimum pay of 381 pounds per month.

" The scene of Thursday's bloodshed, the worst police violence since apartheid, was deserted as workers at a hostel of the London-listed Lonmin platinum mine said they would press on with their wage demands.
"Some are in prison and hospitals. Tomorrow we are going back to the mountain [the protest site], not underground, unless management gives us what we want."
Platinum producer Lonmin has given striking workers a final ultimatum to end their stay-away by Monday or face being fired."

Lonmin stands for London Minerals at a guess  it is a UK based company. So we have colonial type exploitation ie. wage slavery but astonishingly we have the South African Police and the ANC killing the exploited miners.

"The final ultimatum has been extended to Monday 20th following Thursday's events," spokeswoman Gillian Findlay said on Sunday. "Employees could therefore be dismissed if they fail to heed the final ultimatum."

I think that the ANC might do better to issue Lonmin an ultimatum. Pay our people or get the fuck out of South Africa.

" Malema arrives
Fiery former ruling party youth leader Julius Malema fanned workers' anger with a speech on Saturday attacking President Jacob Zuma, who he wants voted out in the African National Congress (ANC) year-end party elections.
"President Zuma decided over the massacre of our people. He must step down," Malema, who was booted out of the ANC in April for allegedly creating divisions within its ranks, told a crowd.

"It has never happened before that so many people were killed in a single day and it became normal," he added.
Police maintained a low profile on Sunday at the hostel where workers were going about their daily chores, but the anger level remained high.
"We are waiting for a word from the management," said Fezile Magxaba, an underground supervisor at the mine."

As I have opined before this will hurt the ANC. Backing British commercial interests over your own people is sick.

"Tomorrow we won't return to work unless they listen to our demands of salary increases. "People have died. We are angry. If we return, it will be like they died in vain," he said.
The crackdown on Thursday left 34 dead, 78 wounded and 259 detained, according to police.
The toll came on top of 10 already dead, including two police officers, in violence blamed on rivalry between unions during the strike to back demands for a wage rise.
The strike shut down production at the mine, owned by the world's third biggest platinum producer."

The arrogance of Lonmin is astonishing. Threatening to sack their workers reeks of apartheid era attitudes and as I show above the pay scales of management compared to the mine workers who daily risk their lives is an inditement on our society. That the minimum wage for a police officer is four times that of a miner is bad enough but but that the miners are getting around 0.1% of the renumeration of the CFO is telling. There can be no doubt where justice lies in this dispute. President Zuma should resign.

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