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Mine violence plan unconstitutional - Amcu

Amcu’s Joseph Mathunjwa says the police's new directive is unconstitutional.

A heavy police presence was in place in the area surrounding the Lonmin Marikana Mine after violent protests. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG -Officers will intensify operations at Lonmin's Marikana Mine in the North West, police spokesperson Dennis Adriao confirmed on Saturday.

He said police will now focus on preventing any further violence and intimidation at the mine by confiscating weapons.

"We cannot allow the threats and intimidation to continue, so we've put measures in place to bring the situation under control," said Adriao.

The move comes after eight cabinet ministers on Friday called for a crackdown on illegal strikes at Marikana.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said police would focus on disarming miners and prevent mass gatherings.

Miners reportedly responded by taunting police to "bring it on".

At least 12 people were arrested on Saturday morning following an illegal gathering at the Wonderkop township in Marikana.

Police used rubber bullets, water cannons and teargas on demonstrators before disarming them.

Meanwhile, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said the police's new directive was unconstitutional.

The trade union said it understands that police will have to confiscate firearms.

But it said arresting people simply for gathering and holding traditional weapons was an infringement of their rights.

Amcu's Joseph Mathunjwa said if workers were arrested, South Africa would be move back to the time of apartheid.

He said the union does not condone violence.

Reports suggest that striking miners at Amplats in Rustenburg are planning to join striking workers at Lonmin's Marikana Mine.

But Amplats mine management said workers are still gathering at the mine, with no incidents of violence reported.