'Amcu not a prominent Lonmin stakeholder'

The Labour Minister will meet with upstart union Amcu to discuss its role at the Lonmin Marikana mine.

Protesters await instruction from their leaders, at Lonmin's Marikana mine. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

PARKTOWN - Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant on Saturday said she would meet with upstart union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) to discuss its role at the Lonmin Marikana mine, where 44 people have been killed since employees downed tools last week Friday.

Oliphant formed part of a meeting called by Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu on Saturday, to discuss events leading to the tragedy at the North West province mine.

The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) formed part of the meeting along with the Chamber of Mines South Africa and Lonmin management.

The Minster of Labour said Amcu was not recognised at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

"Amcu does not qualify to be part and parcel of chamber at Lonmin, precisely because they don't have enough membership."

Oliphant said the union was not excluded from Saturday's meeting out of malice.

Meanwhile, Shabangu echoed her colleague's statement, saying her department needed to talk to long-serving stakeholders first.

She said the Department of Minerals and Resources had never engaged with the upstart union.

Both ministers welcomed President Jacob Zuma's announcement that an inquiry will be set up to investigate events leading to the tragedy on Thursday.

Police and thousands of striking mineworkers clashed on the outskirts of the Marikana township on Thursday, killing 34 people and injuring at least 78 others.

Both have blamed each other for firing shots first.

Zuma visited the mining town on Friday, cutting short his trip to a Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit in Mozambique.

The Sunday Times newspaper revealed this week that the inquiry would be a judicial one, meaning the board of inquiry will have authority to subpoena witnesses and evidence related to the matter.

A judicial inquiry will mean the board's findings can be used for prosecution.

Mineworkers have vowed to stay away from work until their monthly salaries are increased to R12, 500.

Expelled ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema encouraged them to continue striking until their demands were met when he visited the area on Saturday afternoon.

He was joined by the league's former secretary general Sindiso Magaqa and former spokesperson Floyd Shivambu.

He also called for Zuma to step down, saying he had failed to act as a leader and was protecting senior ANC member Cyril Ramaphosa, who owns shares in the Western Platinum mine.