Skip to main content

Police crack down on striking South African miners

From Nkepile Mabuse, CNN
updated 8:26 AM EDT, Sat September 15, 2012
Labor unrest has interrupted platinum production in South Africa.
Labor unrest has interrupted platinum production in South Africa.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police recover spears and machetes in raid on striking miners
  • Labor unrest interrupts platinum production in South Africa
  • Strikes are halting operations at select gold mines, as wage negotiations remain deadlocked

Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) -- Police in South Africa used stun grenades to disperse a gathering of hundreds of people early Saturday in the Marikana area, in the latest crackdown on striking mine workers, according to police.

Hours prior to the dispersal, 500 police officers participated in a pre-dawn raid, recovering spears and machetes, said police spokesman Thulani Ngubane.

The tough measures follow an announcement by South Africa's government Friday that it will no longer tolerate illegal protests by miners.

Special interests hijack miners' strike

"Illegal gatherings, carrying of ... weapons, incitement, as well as threats of violence against anyone in the affected areas will be dealt with accordingly," a statement issued Friday by the Government Communication and Information System read.

In August, 34 people died when police opened fire on protesting platinum miners at the Lonmin mining company's Marikana mine. Some of the protesters were armed with machetes. The shooting sparked national outrage.

At least 10 other people died in incidents in the Marikana area in the days before. Among them were two police officers who were hacked to death.

Labor unrest has spread to the country's platinum mining region of Rustenburg, and the world's top producers have closed mines.

On Friday, Aquarius Platinum suspended operations at its Kroondaal mine. On Wednesday, the world's top platinum producer, Anglo American, suspended all of its operations in Rustenburg due to "intimidation" of its workers.

Lonmin reported that wage negotiations with workers remain at a standstill. A meager 1.8% of its miners appeared for duty in mines Wednesday.

Meanwhile, thousands of striking workers are halting operations at the Gold Fields mining company as well.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT