20 February 2013
The South African government says it is saddened by the acts of violence that erupted at Anglo American Platinum’s Siphumelele mine in Rustenburg, North West province on Monday.
This comes after 13 people were injured in a conflict which is believed to have flared up because of rivalry between workers’ unions.
“Every South African has the right to freedom of association which, amongst other things, entitles workers to form and join unions and/or federations of their choice in order to promote common interests,” Government Communications (GCIS) said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Workers have common issues that require them to act in unison. Such acts of intolerance and violence can only serve to weaken them when taking up genuine issues against their employers.”
Acting GCIS CEO Phumla Williams said that while the government acknowledged individuals’ right of association, it would not tolerate violent disputes.
“We urge the union leadership to act decisively and play a proactive role in curbing acts of violence; importantly, in guiding their members towards the common goals that unite them.”
Williams stressed that the government wanted all parties involved to engage in discussions and resolve issues in a “peaceful and amicable” manner, and for all South Africans to promote a violence-free society.
Earlier on Tuesday, North West Premier Thandi Modise called for an urgent dispute resolution intervention to prevent further violence in the mining sector in the province.