Cosatu anticipated to discuss Marikana murders

Cosatu in the Western Cape will hold its annual congress on Sunday in Bellville, Cape Town.

Protesters from Lonmin's Marikana Mine carried traditional weapons as they demonstrated, demanding better wages. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The 44 deaths at Marikana in the North West are expected to dominate discussions at the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu's) Western Cape congress on Sunday.

Violence in the mining town flared up when almost 3, 000 rock drillers from Lonmin's Marikana mine embarked on an illegal strike two weeks ago.

The lives claimed include the 34 people killed during clashes between police and protesters last week Thursday.

The bloody affair left 78 others injured and saw more than 250 mineworkers arrested on charges of, among others, murder and public violence.

Miners have demanded a monthly salary of R12, 500.

Cosatu in the Western Cape says it is important for unions to continue fighting for the rights of workers.

About 1, 000 shop stewards from various unions affiliated to the trade union federation will meet in Bellville, Cape Town, to elect a new Western Cape leadership.

Cosatu's Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said they would also define socio-economic, political and organisational policies that will help the federation be more effective in its union work and within the political environment in that province.

Meanwhile, cabinet ministers this weekend met with the Chamber of Mines of South Africa (CMSA) to discuss what changes were needed for mining companies and trade unions to negotiate better, following the Marikana mass killing.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant form part of an inter-ministerial committee appointed by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the shooting at the mining district.

Spokesperson for the chamber, Vusi Mabena, said the ministers invited the CMSA to give it an update on their progress from meetings they held with unions.

Mabena said ways for mining industry stakeholders to engage better were also explored at length.