1.During the previous year the general investment climate in Southern Africa never really lived up to  expectations. Stocks of course had o...

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Retired but always looking for new challenges.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September Update Marikana boils over!

Yes the world focused on South Africa last month.Unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.The events have been reported on in detail at the Marikana mine.However many of the reports were wrong.So therefore I shall attempt to correct some misconceptions.
At the root of the problem is of course the world depression(disguised by governments as a recession) for political purposes.Along with Greece and other poorer countries frustrations are rising at the lack of opportunities to earn a living wage.It seems this problem will have to work its way through as very little can be done to stimulate world trade.(See rest of article below)
See latest page updates above,see Naomi's update on Jubilee Plat on her blog.

1.Now turning to Marikana in particular.Some workers had been paid off over a period of time and these people formed the core of discontented so called strikers.

2.The large National Union of Miners( NUM) had struck a deal with Lonmin that they would not strike for three years and then renegotiate another deal.They then received better than average pay and working conditions.This is the second such period and it has worked very well up to now for all concerned.

3.NUM expelled some shop stewards that did  want to stick to the deal they had signed.They promptly formed their own union and made rash demands to attract new members.When this did not work very well they employed gang members as enforcers to intimidate their own and NUM members,preventing them from going to work.They met resistance from NUM workers and then turned to savagery and hacked at
 least ten workers to death.

4.This is when the police were called in.They tried water cannon and rubber bullets,but were shot at as well ,by the malcontents who were slowly turning into an organised army,who already killed two policemen.A difficult situation to be sure.The police probably panicked and then killed fort five of the "strikers".

5. A commission of enquiry isto be held to determine if this could have been handled differently ,which is a good response.

6.The minimum wage for an unskilled worker is around R4000 per month basic.On top of this target pay,daily production and other incentives are paid to  willing workers turning up for the job.Constant training is available to get workers to higher levels of education.Their pay is in the order of about R7000 plus per month.Skilled artisans receive around R11000 plus per month.  (One US Dollar equals eight Rand 40 Cents).

8.Unfortunately politicians now want those arrested for the violence to go free.They should be allowed to have their day in court where their case can be fairly judged. 
9.With public opinion mostly now firmly on the side of the malcontents,this lesser union is again starting to intimidate the NUM workers. They are slowly giving up their jobs and returning to their homes although the mines now hire armed security to protect them on mine property.
10.With falling platinum prices,not enough workers,Lonmin now needs cash to carry on with the mining.this might not be forthcoming and the mine may have close its doors,a greater disaster for all concerned.
11. It does seem if this problem will not spread to other mining houses as they have taken steps to inform their own workers of the consequences of all forms of action.