South African mining strike brings renewed violence
Renewed violence has erupted in the Rand region of South Africa days after a bitter mining strike was thought to have ended.
The strike, which has centred on the Kleinfontein Mine, has been accompanied by the proclamation of martial law and rioting in the streets of Johannesburg during which police fired on protestors, killing twelve and wounding one hundred. There has also been much destruction of public property, including the burning of a railway station and a newspaper office.
The cause of the recent industrial unrest was the decision of the mine company's management to change the working hours of underground mechanics. The miners are opposed to afternoon Saturday work and argue that working hours underground should be from 7am to 3.30pm on weekdays and from 7am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.
The Rand is where the majority of the world’s gold comes from and there have been fears that a continuation of the strike might lead to a rapid fall in prices. A breakthrough appeared to have been reached earlier this week when negotiations involving General Botha, General Smut, Sir George Farrar and the strike leaders seemed to have ended in agreement. It appears, however, that this was not the case.