AMCU PRESS STATEMENT THURSDAY 19 OCTOBER
2017; SUNNYSIDE PARK HOTEL PARKTOWN
AMCU UNDER SIEGE
1. Once again Marikana is becoming a killing field. AMCU is in mourning.
Our members are being killed in cold blood, assassinated by cowards hiding in the dark of the night. It is extremely painful and unnerving to be greeted almost weekly by the news of one of our comrades being killed.
2. Almost as painful has been a series of media reports that would have the world believe that this is a result of AMCU internal rivalries and even some reports that would suggest the leadership of AMCU has created an environment for these killings. To read such absolute rubbish is extremely painful for a union that, from the Marikana Massacre in 2012 has argued for restraint and has done all in its power to work for peace, as confirmed during the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.
3. For the record, we have called on the law enforcement agencies to act urgently to investigate without fear and favour to find the perpetrators and bring them to book. We have even offered a R100,000.00 reward for information that would lead to the successful conviction of those behind the killings. Moreover, we have appointed private investigators to try and identify those behind the killings.
4. We are dismayed but not surprised by the tardiness of the police in investigating the killings and arresting the situation. We have warned how a climate of fear is being created so as to destroy democratic trade unionism and those that might wish to expose corruption.
What is taking place on the Platinum Belt is no different to the impunity enjoyed by assassins at Glebelands Hostel in Durban, the killers of ANC councillors and other activists in KwaZulu-Natal and in Northern Pondoland.
In the first instance our concern is the killings of our comrades on the Platinum Belt. Nevertheless, we cannot shy away from making the point of the dangerous environment of impunity being created in our country, which acts as an encouragement for hitmen to undertake their immoral acts and for assassins to become a growing profession and an employment opportunity.
5. Late yesterday, just before our mass meeting at Marikana, SAPS arrested 3 suspects based on the strong evidence of their involvement in these killings.
We truly hope that this is a breakthrough that finally sheds light on the campaign of terror that is being waged against us.
We have requested an urgent meeting with the Minister of Police, Honourable Fikile Mbalula, to demand his immediate intervention to fast-track the prosecution of those responsible for all the murders since 2012.
AMCU leaders killed so far include, cde Steve Mawethu, cde Mehlwenkomo, cde Mzendana, cde Biyela, cde Bhele, cde Nonyana, cde Magwaca and cde Maseko.
AMCU has also enlisted the services of a reputable private investigator to support the investigative processes, in the name of Paul O'Sullivan, who has more than 37 years’ experience in law-enforcement and is considered one of the world's leading security experts.
Once again for the record we demand that anyone involved in these killings, regardless of their affiliation, must be prosecuted and sent to jail. As AMCU, we condemn violence and killings, whatever the motive may be.
6. And on the question of motive, unlike some unscrupulous journalists eager for sensationalism, we have restrained ourselves in speculating on what is behind these killings. We don’t know.
However, we have wondered and become increasingly convinced of a so-called third-force process being played out. The number of killings, the ruthlessness with which they have been carried out remind us of the days of third force violence meted out against the democratic forces by the Apartheid state.
AMCU has constantly been under attack. Evidence has come to light that the President of this country collaborated with the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) used slush funds to form a counter revolutionary yellow union called WAU as per the papers before the Court. Obviously, that failed and AMCU has become even stronger in the platinum sector than ever.
It is strange that mainstream media did not focus on the above facts when writing about these killings, being a symptom of the same disease.
Rather they resort to the lowest form of analysis by trying to find a tribal dimension to the killings. There are no tribal divisions in AMCU hence AMCU embraces diversity and is a home to all workers. AMCU does not recruit along tribal lines. In fact, in the face of extraordinary levels of unity achieved by mineworkers, where even workers from different countries have been integrated, these so-called tribal divisions are manufactured and seek to destroy the gains of our movement.
In fact, it is AMCU that had to pressurise the media to take the killings seriously and report on what is happening in Marikana because it was several months and weeks ignored by almost all media.
7. We wish to make it clear that AMCU as a democratic, independent and militant trade union. AMCU will do everything we possibly can to defend our members. We will not lie down and submit to this reign of terror.
No union in South Africa has made the progress which AMCU has made in securing a living wage and fostering better working conditions.
8. AMCU previously criticised mines for their apparent focus on profit over safety. The fact of the matter is that mining has become a very dangerous working environment in our country. If a mineworker is not one of the thousands affected by the current jobs blood bath due to mass retrenchments, he or she will be regarded as a disposable asset when it comes to health and safety at work. It seems that these mines have quite literally become a death trap for workers, who risk their lives on a daily basis for the profits of mining houses. To date 66 families have lost their breadwinners due to mine fatalities. The most recent victim at Anglo Gold Ashanti (Mponeng) was recovered this morning after being trapped since the early morning of Saturday, 14 October
2017 due to a seismic event.
9. It is not just the health and the safety of our members that we are confronted with. We are facing the decimation of thousands of jobs.
Sibanye Stillwater, Impala, Anglo Gold Ashanti have all announced plans to shed thousands of jobs.
We will fight tooth and nail against this attack on our members. We have summoned the DMR to NEDLAC to discuss job losses. If our discussion deadlock, we will embark on nationwide protest action in terms of section 77 of the Labour Relation Act.
In this struggle we will build a powerful alliance with formations of the unemployed, with the FEES MUST FALL movement and build unity in action for decent jobs, a living wage, social security for all and for free and decolonized education. It is the only way we can do justice to the sacrifices of our members and in honour of the memory of our fallen heroes.
Yours in Social Justice,
Mr Joseph Mathunjwa
Issued by AMCU, 19 October 2017