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Num's Baleni cautions striking miners

Num's Frans Baleni said striking miners might lose employment if they continue to make unrealistic demands.

National Union of Mineworkers Secretary General Frans Baleni. Picture: Eyewitness News.

RUSTENBURG - Num General Secretary Frans Baleni said striking miners were at the risk of causing the closure of their companies if they continue to demand unrealistic wage hikes.

Speaking after Cosatu's workers rally in Rustenburg on Saturday, Baleni said the workers' demands of high salary increase percentages were not viable for some of the mines.

He said the strike might seem successful if the workers demands were met, but ultimately everyone could lose their jobs.

"It is important that we avoid a situation where the short term gain and we end up with a permanent defeat. Today you can say that I got 20 percent or 50 percent [in salary increases] but tomorrow that company might shut down."

The Cosatu rally was organised to march against the dismissal of 12,000 workers at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) earlier in October.

The workers are demanding salaries of R16,000, but a wage deal was reached between employers and unions this week.

NUM SUPPORT DWINDLES

Miners at Amplats said they were determined to continue with their protest against Num because they did not want to be represented by the union.

Police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of miners and a group that was wearing t-shirts branded "Marikana support group" at the rally on Saturday.

The group refused to leave the Olympia stadium, where they had gathered, to allow Cosatu to hold its rally.

The protesters grouped together and started singing anti-Num songs as soon as the police moved in to disperse them.

As soon as the shots were fired, the group fled and was chased down by police nyalas.

Some protesters said all they wanted was to listen to Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzma Vavi's address.

The group said Num was not welcomed in the area and pledged to continue organising counter strikes at Cosatu's rallies.