Hundreds of community members in Tshamahansi village, outside Mokopane in Limpopo have threatened to shut-down Ivanplats mine if the mine management fails to meet their demands.
Community spokesperson Kedibone Sibila says they should benefit from the mine, as the company operations are on their land.
“We are very serious about the issue of empowerment, and we are very serious about the issue of employment… that we are not discussing, that must be a must for the community. The pipe they are talking about is going to affect everybody, the whole thing… affects us as community. So this people need to employ and nothing else,” says Sibila.
Meanwhile, the mine has been operating with skeletal staff since Friday last week due to the strike. The workers affiliated to National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) are demanding a 10% wage increase.
NUM local secretary Johannes Nkhoma says they will continue with the strike until the management considers their demands.
“We have decided to embark on strike as community, because the employer is not ready to listen to the worker’s because basically our initial demand was that the employer should offer us 10% of the basic salary and 7% of all other allowances – but the employer decided to offer 5% on the allowances,” says Nkhoma.
Ivanplats responded to the SABC News enquiry in a statement released on December 05, 2018 – noting the memorandum submitted by the Tshamahansi Development Committee, and undertook to respond within the seven days stipulated by the protesters.
Ivanplats spokesperson Jeremy Michaels also pointed out that the company estimated that no more than 200 workers took part in the protest and that work at the mine was not brought to a standstill. He said that only 53 of the workforce of close to 900 workers were on strike.
Read the statement below:
Note: this report was updated on 13 December with the Ivanplats response to the original report.