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Marikana miners ‘happy’ with deal

21 September 2012


tyres burning: striking miners barricade the Lonmin mine

tyres burning: striking miners barricade the Lonmin mine

THE Bishop of Pretoria, the Rt Revd Jo Seoka, said on Tuesday that striking workers in Marikana, South Africa, were "very happy" with a deal that they had reached with the Lonmin mining company.

Bishop Seoka said that the miners, who have been on strike since 10 August, would receive a one-off payment of 2000 rand (£150) for returning to work. "The workers are very happy with this. The actual increase is about 22 per cent, which is very high - that's never happened."

A South African newspaper, The Star, reported that about 5000 striking miners, who had gathered in a stadium, cheered when the deal was announced.

Last weekend, Bishop Seoka expressed fears that negotiations between the miners and the company would collapse, after police raided hostels at the Lonmin mine, and fired rubber bullets and tear gas at hundreds of miners. It was the first outbreak of violence since police opened fire last month on a crowd of several thousand striking miners who were protesting outside the mine, and 34 died ( News, 24 August).

After the violence on Saturday, Bishop Seoka issued a strongly worded statement: "Government must be crazy believing that what to me resembles an apartheid-era crackdown can succeed. We must not forget that such crackdowns in the past led to more resistance, and government can ill afford to be seen as the enemy of the people that they put in power."

As the Church Times went to press on Wednesday, the BBC reported that the police had fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters near a mine in Rustenburg, owned by Anglo American.

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