Thursday, 30 August 2012


Violence manifests at the South African operations of world Number 3 platinum producer Lonmin, based in London (51 degrees North, 0 degrees West), raising concerns of deadly unrest flaring again after 44 people were killed this month, many by  police.

Chronic unemployment and massive income disparities threaten social stability in South Africa.

The world's top platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, receives a demand for a pay increase from its South African workers, while further unrest is reported at Royal Bafokeng Platinum's Rasimone site. 

The strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine drives up platinum prices.

Miners say they will continue to strike until companies give them their pay increase, which mine managers say is impossible because the industry is struggling and cannot afford the 300 percent increase the strikers are demanding.

The protests may spread further if authorities do not deal with the massive and growing inequality gap that has many South Africans feeling they have not benefited in the 18 years since black majority rule replaced a racist white minority government.

Though South Africa is the richest nation in Africa, it still has 25 percent unemployment - nearly 50 per cent among young people.

(Is South Africa really Spain then?)

Protests against shortages of housing, electricity and running water and poor education and health services are an almost daily affair.

That poverty is contrasted by the ostentatious lifestyles of a minority, including a small elite of blacks, who have become multimillionaires, often through corruption related to government tenders.

South African President Zuma visits the troubled Lonmin mine after striking miners heckle a committee of government ministers sent to help the grieving community with identification of bodies of slain miners, burial arrangements and bereavement counselling.

Characterising the problems at the mines as a turf war between unions is an inadequate response to the grim conditions in this sector of the labour market in South Africa.

The price of platinum leaps to its highest level since May, driven by concern about the supply from South Africa, which holds 80% of the known reserves of the metal, used in jewellery and for catalytic converters in cars.

Can the ANC-led government deliver for miners whose labours underground make profits for wealthy global corporations ......

Platinum rose by as much as 1.5% to touch $1 524.29 an ounce.

........  so we can have fancy wedding rings.....

check out this ad

...... and cleaner emissions from our SUVs?

And the food, comrade. Even in business class.... You saw for yourself this morning. Fried tomatoes! Mushrooms! It's five years since we took over, and they still serve us white food.

And small change for miners.

The Irish Times: newspaper; Dublin; 27.8.2012
Green Man Flashing; stage-play; Mike van Graan; Junkets; South Africa; 2010

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