26 February 2014
On Wednesday morning, I was informed that my close friend and fellow comrade, Makhanya Siphamandla, the most astute, serene and effective young mineworker leader around, was arrested with Jacob Khoza his second in command on trumped charges of attempted murder and public violence. They were the 72nd and 73rd people to be arrested in the Rustenburg area on public violence charges over the past three months. The others were all community activists battling it out with their tribal authorities and not much older than 30 years of age – a clear sign that our youth have awakened.
As the chair of all AMCU branches at Amplats, the world’s biggest platinum producer, Makhanya Siphamandla represents 40,000 workers and remains an inspiration to me. He is gentle, strong, intelligent, and a moral giant. He is steadfast in his principles, but has the agility of mind to think dialectically. He is indeed the most influential worker leader in the present wage negotiation that involves 100, 000 strikers in the platinum sector and is now entering its fifth week. This is why he was arrested. That is why Amplats has personally served him with a R591 million damages claim against his union. It’s David versus Goliath.
Return to Miners Shot Down website.