Lonmin strike to go ahead despite miners' empty pockets

Lonmin workers have had to borrow money from cash loan outlets as their protest over wages continues.

Protesters from Lonmin's Marikana Mine in the North West sit on a nearby hill, awaiting instruction from their leaders. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

MARIKANA - It has emerged striking Lonmin workers have been forced to borrow money from cash loan outlets as their protest over wages continues.

Almost 3,000 miners downed tools at the beginning of August, demanding a salary of R12,500.

The strike has been dogged by violent attacks and has sparked much debate on who is responsible for the violence. Two police officers, two security guards and 40 miners were killed over the course of a week last month.

Many of the striking workers did not receive a salary last month and have been seeking loans from Marikana cash outlets.

The miners are, however, standing their ground, despite fears the Lonmin mine may have to shut down operations.

Lonmin management has warned that the longer the strike continues, the more the rock-drillers' jobs are at risk. But miners are adamant they will stay away from work until their salary increase demands are met.

They believe Lonmin management is taking their grievances lightly and therefore plan to hold a demonstration at the mine's Eastern Platinum plantation on Wednesday.

The thousands of rock drill operators have refused to engage in peace talks with Lonmin stakeholders, set to resume on Wednesday, saying they will only attend once the topics of wage and employment conditions are on the table.

Many residents have not been seen since a bloody shootout in Marikana's Wonderkop township on 16 August in which 34 of the 44 dead were killed.

Around 270 people were arrested and charged with a range of crimes, including 44 counts of murder and public violence.

The murder charges were provisionally withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority on Monday.

The almost 200 workers released from police custody this week were warned to not participate in any illegal gatherings or be in possession of illegal, dangerous weapons, pending the outcome of investigations into violence at the mining town.