Rustenburg, October 12, 2012:
FROM: Rustenburg Joint Strike Coordinating Committee
TO: Shop stewards, trade unionists, fellow workers, comrades
RE: Appeal for support for striking South African mine workers
We write to appeal to you to support our strike for a decent living wage. The strike that started at Lonmin’s platinum mines in Marikana, where on 16 August, 34 workers were shot dead by police, is continuing across South Africa’s mines. We fight for at least R12 500 basic salary for all workers on the mines, equal pay for equal work – to end subcontracting, for a safe working environment, to have decent houses, with electricity and water, decent education for our children – a better life that will only be won through struggle.
We have been abandoned by our union, the National Union of Mine workers (NUM) which has been more interested in its investment company and its alliance with the ruling party (the African National Congress) which stands for the interests of the bosses as we can see when they send police and soldiers to shoot and arrest us.
Therefore we have formed strike committees in each mine, and also a Rustenburg-wide Joint Strike Coordinating Committee. We are leading the strike in the various platinum and chrome mines in Rustenburg, and are now trying to link up with other workers on strike by forming a national strike committee. There are now over 100 000 mine workers on strike. We believe that the only way our murdered comrades can get some form of justice is through us winning these battles. We are up against some of the most powerful corporations in the world, backed to the hilt by our government, and unfortunately also supported by our trade union leaders. We therefore believe that the only way our strikes can be successful is if we unite all workers, now largely striking in isolation form one another, into a coordinated struggle.
We are working hard on linking the various strikes, and will hold a first national strike committee meeting this weekend, which will amongst other things organise a joint march to the government buildings in Pretoria to protest against the shooting of workers, the effective state of emergency the government has imposed, and to demand a decent basic salary of R12 500 for all, as well as development for our scandalously poverty-stricken communities.
We appeal to workers across the world, to shop stewards, trade unions and any other working class organisation to support us.
Firstly, as we march on the SA government on November 3 (provisional date), we appeal for international solidarity protests, in the form of pickets or marches, protest statements and solidarity messages. The international solidarity we have already received has encouraged workers tremendously!
Secondly, we are in dire need of resources to finance our organising work. We are collecting contributions from the workers on strike, but this is yielding limited results, especially given that we have now been on strike for several weeks without pay. Any donations for the struggle are therefore welcome. Deposits can be made into the account we have set up:
Bank: Standard Bank, South Africa
Account Name: Workers Defence Fund
Account Number: 300495986
Branch: East Gate
Branch Code: 018 505
Swift Code: SBZAZAJJ
Yours in struggle,
Gadaffi Mdoda, for the Rustenburg Joint Strike Coordinating Committee
Tel: +27 71 204 3482