The Struggle of South African Miners

Job cuts and threats of defaults as commodity prices fall

By a reporter, 30 January 2016

The South African mines minister has warned that 32,000 jobs could be lost in the industry as a result of the fall in commodity prices.

South Africa: Commission whitewashes ANC role in Marikana massacre

By G. T. Maqhubela, 29 June 2015

For three months, President Jacob Zuma delayed releasing the Farlam Commission’s report into the murders of dozens of striking mineworkers in August 2012.

The phony internationalism of the United Steelworkers

A warning to US oil workers on South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 10 March 2015

Last month’s tour of Houston picket lines by officials from South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers underscored the anti-working class character of the United Steelworkers.

South African finance minister raises income tax, fuel and electricity levies

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 3 March 2015

South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) announced the measures in his first full budget speech since taking office last year.

South African MP warned against investigating Russia-South Africa spy satellite

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 2 March 2015

The Spy Cables describe Johannesburg as the “El Dorado of espionage.”

Cronyism paralyses South African state-owned enterprises

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 6 November 2014

An acrimonious strike has crippled the South African Post Office for 12 weeks.

South Africa metalworkers union announces formation of new party

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 30 October 2014

Militant strikes by workers have earned South Africa the pejorative title of “protest capital of the world.”

Miners Shot Down: Documentary about the 2012 Marikana massacre

By Derek Bell and Martin Kreickenbaum, 1 October 2014

The film deals with the atrocity against mine workers carried out by the ANC government in South Africa, in cooperation with trade unions and company management.

South African trade union federation promotes illusions in Castroism

Part Two

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 12 September 2014

This is the conclusion of a two-part article on the promotion of Castroism by South Africa’s trade unions.

South African trade union federation promotes illusions in Castroism

Part one

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 11 September 2014

This is the first of a two-part article on the promotion of Castroism by the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

Two years on, Marikana massacre continues to radicalise South African workers

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 19 August 2014

Workers’ resolve is hardening, even as the unions manoeuvre for paltry wage increases.

South African platinum miners return to work

By Chris Marsden and Barry Mason, 27 June 2014

The five-month strike of 70,000 South African platinum miners is over following the acceptance of a deal by the Association of Miners and Construction Union.

South African mineral resources minister seeks end to 18-week platinum miners strike

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 31 May 2014

Ngoako Ramatlhodi has set up a team composed of personnel from his department, the Department of Labour and the Treasury in an attempt to ease the concerns of global investors.

South African miners speak: “We are striking so our children don’t also end up with nothing”

By our reporters, 29 May 2014

The World Socialist Web Site conducted an interview with two South African miners.

South Africa: Lonmin fails to break 16-week platinum strike

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 17 May 2014

The African National Congress government will now come under increasing pressure from international and domestic capital to find other means of breaking the strike.

Workers reject employers’ offer in South African platinum mining strike

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 7 May 2014

The longest labour dispute since the end of apartheid is set to overshadow the May 7 general election touted as a celebration of 20 years of majority rule.

Looming job cuts in South African platinum strike

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 16 April 2014

South Africa’s ruling elite hope to utilise the long-running strike in the platinum mines to push through a sweeping “restructuring” of the industry.

South Africa’s platinum strike in its 10th week

By Thabo Seseane Jr, 10 April 2014

Some 70,000 members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union have been on strike at the three largest platinum producers since January 23.

South African police evidence in tatters as Marikana Commission enters phase two

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 4 April 2014

At the Farlam Inquiry into the police murder of 34 striking miners in Marikana, evidence was heard that the victims were surrendering when they were killed.

National Union of Mineworkers presses for end of 10-week platinum strike in South Africa

By Thabo Seseane Jr, 3 April 2014

Mine owners are holding the threat of mechanisation and mass layoffs over the heads of the strikers.

The “left” posturing of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 20 March 2014

The aptitude for horse-trading that Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters displays, the willingness to sit around a table and cut deals, is the hallmark of a self-seeking member of the elite.

North West police commissioner appears before inquiry into Marikana massacre

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 27 February 2014

Evidence belies the testimony of Police Commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo that the massacre at the Lonmin mine in 2012 was not a premeditated bloodbath.

Freed “illegal” miners face imprisonment and deportation in South Africa

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 24 February 2014

Abandoned mines around Johannesburg, often improperly secured by mining companies, are a magnet for laid-off workers, and the sites of numerous fatalities.

South African unions vie for control of militant workers

Part two

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 21 February 2014

This is the conclusion of a two-part comment on the manoeuvres of South Africa’s trade unions to contain growing militancy in the working class. Part one was posted February 20.

South African unions vie for control of militant workers

Part one

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 20 February 2014

This is first in a two-part comment on the manoeuvres of South Africa’s trade unions to contain the growth of militancy in the working class.

Factional warfare grips Congress of South African Trade Unions

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 30 December 2013

The showdown between different elements in COSATU is bound up with factionalism among the elite.

Mandela and the South African Communist Party

By Bill Van Auken, 12 December 2013

The revelation that Nelson Mandela was a member of the South African Communist Party’s central committee has been passed over in near universal silence by the corporate media.

Why imperialism mourns Mandela

By Bill Van Auken, 7 December 2013

Governments that once denounced Nelson Mandela as a “terrorist” and supported the Apartheid regime that sentenced him to life imprisonment now hail him as a global icon of peace and reconciliation.

South Africa’s police concealed evidence, lied to cover up Marikana massacre

By Chris Marsden, 28 September 2013

South African police face accusations this week at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry that they doctored and concealed evidence in order to whitewash their August 2012 massacre of striking miners.

Union shuts down South African gold miners’ strike after less than 3 days

By Thomas Gaist, 7 September 2013

The National Union of Mineworkers accepted a small wage increase offered by the bosses, sending miners back to work.

30,000 South African autoworkers strike over wages and benefits

By Andrea Peters, 22 August 2013

Entering the fourth day of their nationwide strike, South African autoworkers are demanding a 14 percent wage increase.

South African platinum miners launch wildcat strikes at Amplats sites

By Thomas Gaist, 9 July 2013

Thousands of miners went on strike Sunday evening in a continuation of months of workers’ struggles against multinational corporations and the ANC government.

South African miners battle with police as unions negotiate with mine bosses

By Thomas Gaist, 18 June 2013

Fierce clashes broke out between police forces and platinum miners at an Amplats site in Rustenburg.

ANC, South African mining companies seek to crush new round of strikes

By Thomas Gaist, 7 June 2013

With militancy on the rise among miners, South Africa’s unions and ruling elite are preparing renewed mass repression against the working class.

New strike wave spreads across South Africa’s mines

By Thomas Gaist, 1 June 2013

Three wildcat strikes broke this week in South African mines, as a new wave of militant action spreads across the country.

Security forces fire rubber bullets at striking South African miners

By Thomas Gaist, 24 May 2013

Police fired volleys of rubber bullets at striking South African miners at a mine owned by Lanxess Chrome Mining Ltd on Tuesday, near the city of Rustenburg.

South African miners mount new wave of wildcat strikes

By Thomas Gaist, 17 May 2013

In the second wildcat strike to break this week, miners at Amplat refused to go underground Thursday evening.

WSWS launches new Afrikaans language section

14 March 2013

Afrikaans is the third most common home language in South Africa and is widely spoken and understood as a second or third language.

Police murder in South Africa

By Chris Marsden, 9 March 2013

Nine South African police officers have been charged with the murder of taxi driver Mido Macia.

South African police murder Mozambican taxi driver

By Mike Jones, 5 March 2013

Opposition grows to the killing of 27-year-old taxi driver, Mido Macia, by South African police on February 27.

Unrest breaks out again in South Africa’s mining sector

By Chris Marsden, 23 February 2013

The 18 February events could easily have escalated into a second Marikana massacre, when police killed 34 striking miners in August of 2012.

COSATU calls off farm workers strike in South Africa

By Joshua Lumet, 30 January 2013

The strike, which has led to the death of at least three workers, was ended last week pending a government announcement on a new minimum wage.

African National Congress anoints the butchers of Marikana

By Chris Marsden, 24 December 2012

The election of Zuma and Ramaphosa is an endorsement of the massacre at Marikana and the ensuing brutal assault on striking miners.

Trade unions shut down South African farm workers strike

By Iqra Qalam and Jashua Lumet, 8 December 2012

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has called off a strike in the Western Cape Province in a bid to contain growing anger and resistance among farm workers.

South African farm workers’ strike spreads

By Joshua Lumet and Iqra Qalam, 21 November 2012

The three-week-long strike by farm workers in the fertile farmlands of the Boland in South Africa has now spread to 24 different areas and has led to further violent clashes with police.

South African farm workers’ strikes inspired by events at Marikana

By Joshua Lumet and Iqra Qalam, 16 November 2012

Militant struggles among South Africa’s impoverished workers have spread to the Western Cape province’s farms, following on months of upheavals in the mining industry.

Charges of evidence tampering at South African mine massacre inquiry

By Julie Hyland, 12 November 2012

The inquiry into the South African police massacre of striking miners at Marikana heard evidence that police tampered with the scene to justify the killings.

Unions collude in repression as South Africa’s strike wave ebbs

By Chris Marsden, 5 November 2012

The South African Police Service is waging a brutal campaign of intimidation facilitated by the suffocation of strikes in the mining sector by the COSATU.

Striking South African miners oppose rally called by official unions

By Julie Hyland, 29 October 2012

Saturday’s rally by South Africa’s COSATU union federation and the National Union of Mineworkers only exposed the hostility of broad masses of workers toward the official unions.

South Africa's unions use mass sackings and murder to suppress miners

By Chris Marsden, 26 October 2012

Mass sackings, police intimidation and brutality are being employed in an effort to bring the wave of strikes in South Africa’s mines to a close.

Strike leaders arrested following testimony before Marikana massacre inquiry

By Chris Marsden, 26 October 2012

Four miners who testified Tuesday before the Farlam Commission into the Marikana massacre were immediately arrested by police. They are to be charged with murder.

South African miners defy repression

By Chris Marsden, 20 October 2012

Tens of thousands of South African workers remain in struggle and a new strike by platinum miners at Lonmin’s operation in Marikana delivered a blow to efforts to stem the working class upsurge.

President Zuma calls on trade unions, state forces to end South Africa’s strike wave

By Chris Marsden, 20 October 2012

The main instruments of Zuma and the African National Congress for suppressing the mass strike movement are the Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers.

Strikes continue in South Africa amid deepening repression

By Robert Stevens, 15 October 2012

Tens of thousands of South Africa miners remain on strike in wildcat action, following a breakdown in talks between trade unions and management.

Strikes spread across South Africa despite mass sackings

By Robert Stevens, 11 October 2012

In the face of a growing wave of walkouts by workers across South Africa, mining companies are announcing mass layoffs of striking employees.

Silicosis rampant in South Africa’s mines

By Eric Graham, 9 October 2012

South Africa’s miners are among the workers worst affected by silicosis in the world.

12,000 miners fired as South African strike wave grows

By Bill Van Auken, 6 October 2012

Anglo American Platinum fired 12,000 striking South African miners Friday as the transnational corporations, the ANC government and the COSATU union federation sought to quell a growing wave of wildcat strikes.

COSATU federation leader expresses fear of social explosion in South Africa

By Eric Graham, 2 October 2012

In the midst of an escalating wave of wildcat strike action by miners, South Africa’s biggest trade union federation, COSATU, convened its 11th national congress.

South Africa’s strike wave hits whole mining sector, spreads to transport

By Chris Marsden, 28 September 2012

The strike wave that began at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine is now engulfing South Africa’s platinum, gold and coal mining industries and has spread to transport and other sectors.

ANC President Zuma authorises use of South African army against miners

By Julie Hyland, 22 September 2012

As miners at the Lonmin platinum producer in Marikana returned to work Thursday, President Jacob Zuma authorised the domestic deployment of the military to deal with continued unrest in the mining sector.

Marikana massacre: France’s NPA sows illusions in South African government, unions

By Anthony Torres and Alex Lantier, 21 September 2012

It took three weeks for France’s New Anti-capitalist Party to write on the massacre of 34 South African miners on August 16 at the Marikana mine.

Political and historical issues in the South African miners’ revolt

By Julie Hyland, 20 September 2012

The massacre of striking South African platinum miners and the spreading confrontation between miners and the ANC regime have exposed the reactionary character of racial and nationalist politics.

State of alert declared as unrest spreads in South Africa

By Chris Marsden, 13 September 2012

The South African army has been put on a state of high alert, amidst an escalating strike-wave involving platinum and gold miners.

More ANC leading figures embroiled in gold mines asset stripping scandal

By Eric Graham, 12 September 2012

The liquidation of the South African company Pamodzi Gold Limited led to the awarding of rights to the Orkney and Grootvlei gold mines to Aurora Empowerment Systems (AES) in 2009.

Strikes spread in South African mines

By Kate Randall, 11 September 2012

Gold Fields Ltd.’s KDC gold mine has been hit by strike of 15,000 workers, the second wildcat action at the company in less than a week.

South African miners speak on Marikana massacre

By Iqra Qalam, 11 September 2012

More than three weeks after the Marikana massacre, families are still searching for their missing siblings and husbands in hospitals and jails.

South Africa: Corruption exposed at Orkney and Grootvlei mines

By Eric Graham, 10 September 2012

Investigations into the Aurora Empowerment Systems, which has not paid workers at the Orkney and Grootvlei mines for years, have revealed a tangled and dirty web of criminality.

South Africa’s day of mourning fails to stem anger over Marikana massacre

By Julie Hyland, 25 August 2012

Anger continues to mount over the August 16 massacre of 34 striking miners at South Africa’s Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana despite official efforts to lower tensions.

A letter on the South African NUM

25 August 2012

A South African reader responds to the August 24 perspective, “The unions, the pseudo-left and the South Africa massacre.”

South African miners defiant in face of government, company threats

By Bill Van Auken, 21 August 2012

Four days after 34 of their comrades were massacred by heavily armed police, striking South African platinum miners defied a company ultimatum to return to work or be fired.