South Africa - Police Fire Rubber Bullets At Striking Miners

South African police fired rubber bullets and teargas on Tuesday at striking Amplats miners who were protesting against a union-brokered deal to end a six-week wildcat walkout at the top platinum producer.
As they moved into a shanty town near the mines, police also deployed water cannons and stun grenades against groups of protesters armed with wooden sticks and stones. Women and children fled as they fanned out through the maze of tin huts.

One protester was dragged away bleeding heavily and unable to walk, and was treated by paramedics, a witness said.

The strikers at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mines near Rustenburg, 120 km (70 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, had been due to return to work following a company offer to reinstate 12,000 men sacked for downing tools six weeks ago.

"We are not giving up, we will soldier on," said striker John Tonsi, who had been shot in the leg by a rubber bullet. "We will fight for our cause until management comes to its senses."

Months of labour unrest in the mines have hit platinum and gold output, threatened growth in Africa's biggest economy and drawn criticism of President Jacob Zuma for his handling of the most damaging strikes since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Amplats said at the weekend it had reached a deal with several unions and would be offering sweeteners, such as a one-off hardship payment of 2,000 rand, to end a strike that has crippled production.

A return to work on Tuesday was one of the conditions attached to the deal.

However, at Amplats' Thembelani mine, hundreds of miners barricaded a road with burning tyres, and police said an electricity sub-station at another mine was set alight.

Amplats said it was still working out attendance numbers at its four strike-hit Rustenburg mines. For the past few weeks, fewer than 20 percent of staff have been turning up.

News Source: Reuters
South Africa 5637641606805172846

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