Cosatu condemns Lonmin violence

Police open fire at protesting workers at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, North West on 16 August, 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN
Police opened fire on protesting workers at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, in the North West. Taurai Maduna reports.

JOHANNESBURG  - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Thursday said they will call an urgent meeting to address the threat the breakaway unions pose to their own federation.

Over 30 protesters were shot and killed during a confrontation with police on Thursday afternoon.

Cosatu has accused the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) of instigating the violence at the Lonmin mine.

Spokesperson Patrick Craven said the violent strikes by Amcu members are an attack aimed at destabilising the industry.

“We called an urgent meeting to find ways to defend the trade union movement against what is clearly a coordinated attack which ultimately has the potential to weaken the trade union movement.

“Amcu and Natawu [National Transport Allied Workers Union] are being lead by former leaders of Cosatu unions, and both are using violence and intimidation. It appears to be a concerted political campaign to divide, weaken and ultimate destroy the trade union movement.”

Amcu has slammed the police’s hostility.

The unions' Jeffery Mphahlele said police should have only used rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.

“Our immediate reaction, we have received this with shock and dismay because it did not warrant the reaction on this side either.

“If you look at the footage on the video it was a total massacre of innocent lives.”

(Edited by Clare Matthes)