Govt Calls for Peaceful Protests

Government spokesperson, Phumla Williams, has urged Western Cape farmworkers to be peaceful and remain calm when they take part in the strikes.

In a press statement, Williams points out that, "While employees have the right to engage their employers on matters relating to wage and working conditions, they are encouraged to refrain from violence and intimidation of other workers and the public in general."

NGO Backs Planned January Protests

Malawi’s Council for Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi (CONGOMA) has joined the Consumers’ Association of Malawi (CAMA) to mobilise people to stage a mass consumer protest in January 2013.
CONGOMA board chairperson, Voice Mhone, says that the council is concerned about the continued devaluation of the kwacha which, he says, due to the floatation of the currency, is currently estimated to be at 101 percent from the 49 percent announced in May this year.

SAHRC Criticises SAPS Over Protests

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says the South African Police Service must improve training for officers in the management of public gatherings.

SAHRC’s Danny Titus, made this and other recommendations at the announcement of findings into the death of Ficksburg protester, Andries Tatane.

The SAHRC found that police used excessive force on Tatane resulting in his injuries and subsequent death.

Committee Demands the Release of Miners

The National Strike Committee, a committee claiming to represent striking miners in three provinces, says it will march to demand the release of their colleagues in custody.

The committee chairperson, Elias Jiba, points out that, "We will march to the Union Buildings next month to demand, among other things, the release of all unjustly arrested strikers."

Jiba says the organisation was outraged by the arrests of its leaders at Lonmin's mine in Marikana and at the Bokoni Platinum mine in Limpopo.

Police Questioned Over Marikana Shooting

Veteran human rights lawyer, Advocate George Bizos, has asked in his opening statement to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry for an explanation as to why a vast majority of striking Lonmin miners were shot in the back by police on 16 August 2012.

Speaking in relation to forensic evidence received in regard to the 34 miners who were killed by police in a dispersal attempt, Bizos asked how are the police are going to explain that the vast majority of wounds were in the back.

NGOs Say Strikes Not About Wages

The Bench Mark Foundation says the unprotected strikes in the mining industry are about more than just wages.

In a press statement, the foundation’s executive director, John Capel, points out that, "The fact that so many miners are striking all over South Africa, indicates the level of unhappiness and unease within the sector."

Capel states that contrary to what is being reported, it is not purely about wages, but about the totality of people's lives where they do not feel respected and live under conditions that do not give them dignity.

Call for Investigation Into Councillor’s Death

The Solidarity Campaign says Police Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, must investigate the killing of African National Congress councillor Pauline Masutlhe in Marikana, allegedly by a rubber bullet.

In a press statement, its spokesperson, Mark Heywood, points out that, “We call on the minister of police to immediately initiate an urgent investigation into Pauline Masutlhe’s death, and for the immediate identification and suspension of the police officers involved in her murder.”

Socio-Economic Conditions Blamed for Marikana

The African National Congress (ANC) says that the socio-economic conditions of mine workers at Lonmin's Marikana mine, in North West, are part of what led to their violent protest.

ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, points out that, “Mining remains the bedrock of the South African economy, and yet the abject poverty and squalor surrounding mining areas remains a matter of deep concern."

Ramphele Criticises SA Over Marikana Killings

President Jacob Zuma, his ministers, union leaders, mining company Lonmin and the police all failed South Africa during the Marikana killings, according to anti-apartheid activist, Mamphela Ramphele.

Ramphele, who resigned as a board member from mining group Anglo American earlier this year, says there is no guarantee that a similar incident would not occur elsewhere in the country.

In addition, she argues that also, once these leaders try to intervene, their actions are destructive.

Public Urged to Use Constitutional Structures

The Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, has urged communities to use constitutional structures before resorting to protests.

Madonsela, who was addressing communities in Matibidi, near Graskop, in Mpumalanga, during an outreach event as part of the Public Protector National Stakeholder Dialogue, was told by residents that corruption and fraud in the procurement and allocation of RDP houses is the main problem in the Thaba Chweu municipality.


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