South Africa steps up anti-violence measures
Johannesburg, 14 September (Argus) — The South African government will “not tolerate” the violence seen at the country's platinum and gold mines and will move to restore order, it said today.
“The government will not tolerate these acts any further. The government has put measures in place to ensure that the current situation is brought under control,” the government said.
Illegal gatherings, carrying dangerous weapons, incitement, as well as threats of violence against anyone in the affected areas would be “dealt with accordingly”, it said.
Law enforcement agencies “will not hesitate to arrest those who are found to have contravened legislations governing these acts”.
The increase in security follows continuing labour disputes at some of the country's platinum and gold mines in the wake of the death of 44 people at UK-listed Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in North West province last month.
“The government has noted and is concerned with the amount of violence, threats and intimidation that are currently taking place in our country, particularly in the mining sector. These acts of violence and intimidation clearly undermine government efforts of ensuring economic and security stability,” the government said.
The violence at the mines has potentially dented future foreign investment in the country. Coal and platinum are the country's main minerals exports. The shooting of 34 miners at Marikana by the South African police on 16 August was one of the worst incidents of violence since democracy in 1994 and the election of the ruling African National Congress party.
“The government recognises that if the current situation continues unabated it will make it even harder to overcome our challenges of slow economic growth, high unemployment, poverty and inequality
The government is making a clarion call to all South Africans to desist from these illegal acts and work with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that the situation is brought to normality.”
Leaders of some workers have backed a call for a national strike in the mining sector. Operations at the world's leading platinum producer Anglo Platinum have already been disrupted by labour problems, leading to a rise in global platinum prices.
South Africa exports around 65mn t/yr of coal, mainly to European and Indian power generators. Coal mining operations have not been impacted by the labour problems seen at the country's platinum and coal miners.
State-owned utility Eskom has had to stop construction at its new coal-fired Medupi power plant because of labour problems.
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