Socialist Worker

‘Mines should be run democratically in the interest of all’ says union shop steward in South Africa

by Charlie Kimber, in South Africa
Issue No. 2402

Amcu union steward Tshepang Moloi

Amcu union steward Tshepang Moloi (Pic: Charlie Kimber)


Around 80,000 platinum miners have been on strike since January. The 15-week strike is one the biggest in South Africa’s history. 

Tshepang Moloi, an Amcu miners’ union steward near Rustenburg, spoke to Socialist Worker about the strike. 

“We want a basic wage of 12,500 rand a month (£704). 

“We do not want trickery about bonuses and single payments. We want a wage that we can live on with dignity.

“That is not too much to ask from these companies that have taken so much and make such huge profits. And I think that the mines must be run in the interest of all—nationalised and run democratically.

“Miners have been on strike for nearly four months, and it is tough. Strikers and their families are hungry.”

The miners face repression by the ANC-directed police and are denounced by some of the 

ANC-aligned union leaders. 

Tshepang said, “The mining companies are spending millions of rands in an effort to break the strike. They are producing leaflets telling people to go back to work. They contact individual workers trying to persuade them back.

“There are police stationed at the mines to intimidate pickets and to frighten us. 

“There is talk that after the election the mine bosses will bus in scabs—perhaps supported by the NUM union that has betrayed us. That will mean war.

“But we are very strong. A series of mass meetings of thousands of miners rejected the latest offer from the bosses.

“If we win it will be an inspiration to all. It is humbling to hear that farm workers in the Western Cape, some of the worst paid workers with the fewest rights, have collected money for us.

“We appeal to friends and comrades everywhere to support our strike.”

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