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Striking South Africa miners vow to ‘deal with’ non-strikers

Published on 27/08/2012

Striking workers at platinum giant Lonmin's Marikana mine threatened Monday to "deal with" colleagues who return to work, amid a violent strike that has claimed 44 lives.

“These people live among us, we know them, so why do we allow them to go against us? I say let us deal with them when they come back from work,” Sandiso Mpumlwana, a member of a committee organising the strike, told a crowd of 1,000 miners.

“Police can’t protect them forever, they don’t sleep with them in their shacks. If you go to work you must know that there will be consequences,” said Mpumlwana to applause.

Only 13 percent of Marikana employees showed up for work on Monday amid intimidation from other workers, the world number three platinum company said.

Earlier in the day around 2,000 miners gathered a few metres (yards) from a hill where police gunned down 34 workers 11 days ago in the country’s bloodiest day since the end of apartheid.

Before that crackdown, workers had hacked and beat to death 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards.

The violence has been blamed on rivalries between the powerful National Union of Mineworkers and the upstart Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

Police on Monday kept a close watch on the crowd, which thinned as the day wore on. But officers moved their vehicles back when workers’ representatives told them to leave.