Lonmin strike mediator warns police action will spark revolt
The mediator in South Africa's Lonmin mine strike warned Saturday that a police crackdown on workers could worsen the crisis and ignite revolt at other platinum mines.
“I am particularly concerned that government’s present action will in fact lead to the worsening of the situation and eventually to a complete revolt across the platinum belt,” Anglican Bishop Jo Seoka said in a statement.
Seoka, who is also the president of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), said six women bystanders had been shot with rubber bullets when police swooped on Marikana mine where workers have been on a wage strike for a month.
One of those shot has been hospitalised, he said.
He accused both government and Lonmin of misreading the situation, adding, “now what seemed resolvable might become an untenable situation.”
He vowed to hold the government and the mine accountable.
Seoka helped broker the negotiations underway between the workers and Lonmin.
“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,” he continued.
The government could ill afford to be seen as the enemy of the people who had put them in power, he added.
Police last month killed 34 strike protesters in bloodshed that shocked the world with its echoes of apartheid-era brutality.