Strike turns to riot

LEPHALALE — What was supposed to be a legal and peaceful strike, degenerated into violent actions and arson by Exxaro workers and members of the National Union of Mine Workers (NUM).
The strike started around 06:00 on Thursday 14 September and shortly thereafter, the road to Marapong and Exxaro was barricaded by riotous strikers who threw stones at passing vehicles and burned tyres and vehicles. By Thursday night it was confirmed that a truck, two busses and an ambulance were burnt down.
In a statement, the Provincial Commissioner Lt Genl Nneke Ledwaba, on behalf of the South African Police Service in Limpopo, said they condemn the acts of violence in the strongest possible terms. “This condemnation emanates from the violent protest which occurred in Lephalale CBD and Marapong by some members of NUM working at Exxaro Grootegeluk Coal Mine.”
By enquiry, the Manager of Corporate Communication at Exxaro Head Office, Mooketsi Mocumie, said in a media release that NUM was in possession of a legal strike certificate and they gave notice of their intention to “embark on strike action from 06:00 on Thursday 14 September.” Exxaro later on received a revised set of demands from NUM. “We are working closely with all other stakeholders to minimise any potential impact on coal supply and we remain committed to resolving the dispute with the NUM”.
Mogol Post enquired about the real reason for the strike and whether it’s true that the workers were promised a 6% salary increase and not receiving it, but at the time of going to print, has not yet received confirmation from Mocumie.
Workers of Exxaro Grootegeluk and Medupi Power Plant were instructed not to go to work on Friday, because their safety was in jeopardy.
“Cases of malicious damage to property and public violence were opened and arrests are eminent as the tracing of those involved is still unfolding” the Police said.
Investigations are still continuing.

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