MARIKANA, South Africa—South African police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse striking miners yesterday after seizing machetes and other weapons in an early-morning raid likely to aggravate tension from five weeks of labour unrest.
Report by Reuters
The police took action a day after South Africa promised to crack down on “illegal gatherings” and the carrying of weapons by strikers, toughening its stance on strikes that have choked off platinum output in the world’s top producer of the metal.
About 500 police officers raided hostels at Lonmin’s Karee platinum mine near Marikana — where police killed 34 miners last month — and seized spears, machetes and other weapons, police spokesman Thulani Ngubane said.
The wildcat strike at Lonmin, prompted by demands for higher pay, has spread to other mining companies, raising questions about the ruling ANC’s slow response and damaged South Africa’s reputation among foreign investors.
Strikers on Friday rejected a pay offer from Lonmin, although a union spokesman said a new offer had since been put on the table.