South Africa: Malema calls for national strike
Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema called for a national strike at all mines on Tuesday until the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leadership steps down.
“There must be a national strike at all the mines until Frans Baleni and the NUM leadership step down with immediate effect,” Malema told a packed stadium at the Gold Fields KDC West gold mine near Carletonville, where 15,000 workers are on strike.
“The problem is not NUM. The problem is the leadership who take money from mlungu (whites).”
Malema said the R12,500 salary workers wanted “is a reality”.
Baleni, NUM’s general secretary, read about their demands in newspapers.
“Comrades, you don’t have leaders. You are leaderless. You are not alone. We are encouraged by what you are doing,” Malema said.
Making mines ungovernable did not mean violence, “it means downing tools”.
Malema said he and his companions had travelled to the mine to meet “the real revolutionaries”.
“This is a serious revolution. Don’t give up.”
The mine obtained an interdict on Monday for workers to return to their posts after they suddenly went on an unprotected strike on Sunday.
Malema said people had been stealing gold from the workers.
“Now you want a piece of gold. You want R12,500.”
He said workers should strike for five days a month “until they listen”.
Malema has been touring mines and addressing disgruntled mineworkers.
He had already spoken at Lonmin, where workers have been on strike for a month, with the rallying cry that their pay be raised to R12,500 a month.
Forty-four people have died in violence associated with that strike — 34 when police fired on protesters at Marikana last month.
Malema also spoke at Aurora’s Grootvlei mine, which is in the process of being liquidated.
The ANCYL and its parent body the ANC have been at loggerheads over the nationalisation of mines, which the league is lobbying for but the ANC has said is not feasible.
Last week trade union Solidarity laid a charge of incitement against Malema.Sowetan