Hundreds of the 12,000 miners sacked by the world’s largest platinum producer in South Africa gathered yesterday to protest their dismissal and mourn a colleague killed in clashes with police.
The workers meeting at a stadium in the northern town of Rustenburg would also debate how to respond to the mass dismissal by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).
Some said they would use violence to force mine management to rehire them.
“If they are not willing to talk to us many things will be burnt, starting from today,” said Hendrick Mpondo, 27.
“If they say they dismissed us we are going to fight against them,” he said. “Right now some of the workers were planning to go and burn the smelters.”
Meanwhile, in the nearby town of Marikana a National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch leader at a different mine was shot dead on Friday evening, in what the union has described as an assassination.
“The NUM is shocked at yet another assassination of one of its branch leaders in Marikana,” the union said in a statement.
“This comes after the death of the NUM branch chairperson last weekend and the attack on another branch leader who escaped while his wife was killed,” NUM said.