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Miners march against racism

Miners on the job –
but thousands held a
protest march at
the weekend
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 06 October 2008 – Thousands of South African mineworkers held a weekend march in protest against racism in the mining and construction sectors.

The country’s largest mineworkers’ union – the 320 000-strong National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) – said members marched to deliver a letter of complaint to the Chamber of Mines about racism and the low levels of affirmative action in South Africa.

“We are giving the industry at least one year to make sure that it adheres to our demands,” NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka told Reuters, “and at exactly the same time next year, if nothing has happened, we will go on strike action.”

NUM added that it was also protesting about discrimination against women in the industry.

Chamber of Mines spokesman Jabu Maphalala told Reuters the chamber was already working towards resolving the issues.

“We do agree about the need for the elimination of these things,” Seshoka said. “We agree that these are issues that we as the industry, together with the unions and the government, need to settle.”

NUM represents mainly black mineworkers in South Africa as well as some construction workers.

The union also delivered the memorandum of complaint to business representative body Business Unity South Africa (BUSA),  the Department of Minerals and Energy and the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA).