A gold mine operated by the Gold Fields company is the latest to be affected by the miners protest that began in South Africa’s so-called platinum belt in the Johannesburg region.
According to Gold Fields, some 12,000 of its workers have been on a strike since Wednesday demanding higher salaries and better living conditions. The protest confirms the growing tension in South Africa, where there is a wide division between the rich and poor, fuelled by the killing of 34 miners by police while protesting outside a platinum mine.
The August 16 massacre at the Marikana mine remains on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers. The negotiations between the government, unions and Lonmin mining company were adjourned until Monday, because the funerals of the workers will be held over the weekend.
The debate and polemics spiraled especially after South Africa’s National Prosecuting authority (NPA) announced that the 270 miners involved in the clashes with police in Marikana were charged with murder. The decision was criticized by Justice minister Jeffe Radebe and is drawing criticism in the media and internet. “There could be no possible valid reason for the NPA to have charged the miners with the murder of their comrades killed by the police. Not in terms of the incitement laws, nor in terms of the common purpose doctrine”, the Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos wrote on his blog.