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Now, having been expelled from the party earlier this year, he goes around denouncing ANC and NUM leaders as “bloodsuckers”.As always, he spews racialist demagogy in order to divert workers from a class understanding of the neo-apartheid order.Government statistics tracking mine fatalities — on average one miner in South Africa dies every three days in underground accidents — deliberately understate the dangers by not including those miners who contract tuberculosis, silicosis and other work-related diseases.These victims of brutal exploitation are simply sent back to their homes in rural areas or in neighbouring countries to die.A third of the underground workers at Marikana are employed by labour brokers at lower wages than their co-workers and with no medical, pension or other benefits.
But we do not automatically condemn all splits within the trade union movement; these must be judged on a case by case basis. And we defend the right of workers to be represented by AMCU if they so wish.
In South Africa and internationally, anger over the Lonmin killings was redoubled when the courts invoked a law from the white-supremacist apartheid era to charge 270 arrested strikers with the murder of their comrades by the police. But miners continued to defy these misleaders and the capitalist government they are beholden to.
Feeling the heat, the government provisionally withdrew the murder charges. On 29 August, 12,000 workers at Gold Fields’ KDC mine downed tools and demanded the rescinding of deductions from their wages as well as the resignation of the local NUM leadership.
On 18 September, after over five weeks of bitter struggle, Lonmin strikers agreed to return to work having won a substantial 22 per cent pay increase.
Outrage over the massacre at Lonmin had sparked strikes in several other platinum mines — including the world’s top producer Anglo American Platinum and the fourth largest, Aquarius Platinum — as well as at one gold mine.