Home News One dead in S.African labour unrest at Impala Platinum mine

One dead in S.African labour unrest at Impala Platinum mine

Published on 16/02/2012

One person has been killed in clashes at an Impala Platinum mine in South Africa which has been paralysed by an illegal strike that led to the sacking of 17,200 workers, police said Thursday.

“One person died last night in this situation,” after being severely beaten and stripped naked near the mine outside the northwestern town of Rustenburg, Brigadier Thulani Ngubane told the Sapa news agency.

Impala, the world’s number two platinum producer, agreed on Sunday to re-hire the 17,200 workers who had been sacked for staging a strike after a court declared the labour action illegal.

About 5,000 workers blocked the road leading to the mine, angry at the deal reached between the company and the National Union of Mineworkers.

The agreement failed to address the root cause of the strike — discontent that some categories of workers had been awarded bonuses while others were left out.

“The public order police and police chopper are monitoring the situation currently, which is very hostile, volatile and tense,” Ngubane said.

A small police station was torched, while eight people were arrested while attempting to loot nearby shops, police said in a statement.

The labour dispute has suffered lost production equivalent to 3,000 ounces of platinum a day or a total of 60,000 ounces, and lost earnings of 1.2 billion rand ($152 million, 120 million euros).

The company on Thursday reported revenue of 15.4 billion rand in the second half of 2011.