Protesting miners stop speech by South Africa's president

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa abandoned his Workers’ Day speech in the northwestern city of Rustenburg after striking mineworkers stormed the stage

Via AP news wire
Sunday 01 May 2022 18:52

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa abandoned his Workers’ Day speech in the northwestern city of Rustenburg on Sunday when striking mineworkers stormed the stage.

The workers employed by Sibanye-Stillwater mine are demanding a wage increase of 1,000 rand ($63) per month instead of the 850 rand ($54) being offered by the mine.

Ramaphosa had decided to mark the Workers Day, a public holiday in South Africa to mark May 1, by giving a speech to union members in Rustenburg, a mining center.

Ramaphosa was booed as he started his address with a call for the striking workers and other members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions to calm down and listen to what he had to say.

“We have heard that you want your 1,000 rand. We will deal with that matter,” Ramaphosa told the protesting workers.

Shortly after that Ramaphosa was forced to give up his speech altogether when angry miners stormed the field and overwhelmed police surrounding the stage at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium. Ramaphosa's security guards whisked him away from the venue.

The striking workers have become even angrier in recent days over reports that Sibanye-Stillwater’s CEO, Neal Froneman, earned more than 300 million rand ($19 million) in 2021 in salary payments and company share schemes.

Rustenburg in North West Province is a tumultuous area for Ramaphosa and South Africa's ruling African National Congress party. Many union members continue to blame them for the Marikana massacre, where 34 miners were shot dead by police during a strike at the Lonmin mine in 2012, when Ramaphosa was a non-executive director of Lonmin.

The tumultuous scene Sunday indicates the challenges that Ramaphosa faces later this year in his effort to be reelected head of the ANC as the unions are a key constituency of the party.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in