South Africa: Don’t hijack labour disputes – Zuma
President Jacob Zuma has called on “politicians” to resist the temptation to “hijack” labour disputes for their own purposes.
In a lecture delivered in Kimberley in the Northern Cape at the weekend, Zuma spoke about attempts to restore peace at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Rustenburg in the North West, where labour unrest has caused 44 deaths.
“We also urge politicians to resist the temptation to hijack the labour dispute for their own ends. We do not need incitement and inflammatory talk at this stage.
“It is not good for Marikana, and is not good for our country,” said Zuma.
Expelled African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema has addressed the miners at Lonmin since the unrest started about a month ago, and called for a revolution at mines countrywide.
Zuma called on “all stakeholders” to participate in peace talks, set to continue on Monday. The talks were intended to end the strike at Lonmin for higher wages and create stability in the area.
Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), a rival of the National Union of Mineworkers, are demanding salaries of R12 500 per month.
Amcu has been the only role player not to sign the Lonmin peace accord.
“We must also emphasise that labour relations must be undertaken peacefully and within the ambit of the law,” Zuma said.
“We cannot tolerate a situation where workers openly threaten people with murder if they exercise different choices from theirs, as it has reportedly happened in Marikana this week.
“We would like to see a resolution of the stalemate between the workers and their employer as soon as possible so that the situation can return to normalcy.”
Zuma welcomed the signing of the peace accord, saying those involved had committed themselves to dialogue to eliminate violence.
“That is the language and the culture that we know and understand best in our country. We are always able to find solutions even to the most difficult problems, through sitting around the table and talking.”