Malema calls for nationwide mine strikes

Ex-ANCYL leader Julius Malema calls for all miners to strike for higher wages across South Africa.

Former ANC Youth League President Julius Malema in Carltonville at Gold Fields KDC west shaft to address striking miners on 11 September, 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema on Tuesday called for a nationwide strike at all mines until the leadership of National Union of Mineworkers (Num) steps down.

He addressed thousands of striking miners at Gold Fields' KDC mine in Carletonville, west of Johannesburg.

On Sunday, around 15,000 workers downed tools demanding their salaries be increased to R12,500.

The crowd cheered loudly as Malema told the workers he would not abandon them and their cause.

"The mine bosses must know that if they do not meet your demands, we are going to strike every month for five days to demand R12,500."

Malema urged miners to carry on with the struggle started by their counterparts at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

He said it was not true that mine bosses cannot afford to raise their salaries or that it would scare off investors.

Malema had harsh words for Num and its general secretary Frans Baleni.

"He [Baleni] has never addressed a single branch meeting of Num."

According to Malema, both Num and government do not care about the workers, as many officials have financial interests in mining companies.

The controversial politician also urged mineworkers to make South Africa's mines ungovernable, but denied that his call incited violence.

He said workers carrying knobkerries should not be seen as a threat because these were merely symbols of a fight for victory.

Malema said making the mines ungovernable was not about bloodshed.

Workers voiced their support for Malema, with one miner saying he is their "true leader".

Striking miners said they will gather again on Wednesday.