The unrest in South Africa’s
mining sector is spreading to diamonds. Petra Diamonds reported on
Tuesday that a “limited number” of workers at its Kimberley Underground
mine had gone on strike. The company said, however, that production had
not been affected that it is in talks with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
Media reports have warned that South Africa faces a “mining meltdown” as the miner unrest over working conditions and pay, which began with the platinum sector, has spread to the gold, diamond, coal and iron ore sectors as well.
initial flare up at the Lonmin platinum mine at Nkaneng had led to the
deaths of nine people including two police officers on August 13 and
subsequently the deaths of at least 34 at Marikana on August 16 when
police opened fire on protesters.
unrest appears to have been aggravated by the rivalry between the
dominance of the government-recognized NUM with a new union, the
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).
the issue is the bitter rivalry between Julius Malema, the former
leader of the African National Congress (ANC) youth wing and the
country’s President, Jacob Zuma. Malema has publicly issued an
anti-mining message, calling for all mines to be made unmanageable.