Crime Busters of SA: farm murders 2001-2003
Solidarity trade union: - list of farm murders
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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
".. South Africa was the most dangerous country in the world to work in -- ahead of Iraq and Afghanistan.." Securicor CEO Nick Buckles, quoted by Reuters, May 24 2009
May 24 2009 - Group 4 Securicor, the world's biggest security firm, will not work at next summer's FIFA football World Cup 2010 tournament in South Africa due to concerns over the tournament's organisation, the group's chief executive told Reuters news agency.
Picture G4S operates like a private army worldwide – it has nearly 600,000 staff in over 100 countries. It contracts out its services for instance to protect military and government facilities, such as the EU and NATO buildings, the German parliament and a great many United States military installations.
Its most vulnerable business in South Africa is the protection and transportation of cash. see
Norway Telenor Football Arena protected by Securicor:
Securicor is also well-experienced in providing security at football matches worldwide, providing rigorous crowd control and stewarding services, the company states on its website. “G4S Norway has already demonstrated that its state of the art security solutions in the new Telenor Arena will enable security officers to patrol and monitor the stadium with greater ease. Since February this year, the Telenor Arena, built on the site of the old Oslo airport, has became the home ground of Norwegian Premier League football team Stabæk IF. The indoor stadium has the capacity to seat 15,600 soccer fans and a concert audience of 23,000. G4S Norway will expand the scope of its event security capabilities in this multipurpose arena by providing stewarding at exhibitions, fairs and other sporting activities.”
Protects Manchester United football star Dimitar Berbatov:
G4S has also been providing Manchester United soccer star Dimitar Berbatov, pictured left, with personal and event security for over two years at his own request, in his home country of Bulgaria. A G4S Bulgaria security team was recently required to take control of the crowd when 2,000 people arrived at the Military Club in Sofia to catch a glimpse of the famous striker who has been voted Bulgarian Footballer of the Year five times. “Securing the event was a tough task, particularly as the venue was overcrowded with kids, parents and fans, as well as the media,” comments Krasimir Bojinovski, G4S Bulgaria’s operations manager. “Dimitar Berbatov showed his appreciation by thanking our team for doing such a sterling job in difficult conditions. Under the watchful eye of our trained and professional security officers, everything went smoothly.”
Two staff fatalities a month in South Africa
So when the chief executive of this well-experienced security company says that South Africa is the most dangerous place in the world, they do know what they are talking about. "We are not going to be involved (in the WC2010 sports event) because we don't think the security is going to be that good -- they are not that well organised yet," Nick Buckles was quoted as saying in an interview with Reuters..
- He was quoted as saying that …….‘ for G4S, South Africa was the most dangerous country in the world to work in -- ahead of Iraq and Afghanistan -- with around two staff fatalities every month.”
‘Our crews get attacked by 16 - 17 people at a time…’
"South Africa ... is a tough, tough place to do business. The whole society is different from anywhere else in the world. We do what we can in terms of protecting the crew, but they get attacked by 16, 17 people at a time sometimes," he was quoted as saying to Reuters.
- He said the situation was compounded by customers looking for the cheapest option for security, rather than the best service, but he did expect things to improve. "People don't really think security is that key and it should be. It will get better ... It's about us educating the market," he said.
90 violent deaths a day in South Africa:
South Africa suffers from one of the world's highest crime rates, with around 50 people murdered and 40 people killed in culpible homicides every day.
- link to Reuters story: Giant security group says South Africa too dangerous
Industry not recovered from 2008’s ‘disastrous’ electricity blackouts
May 25 2009 – Journalist Allan Seccombe reports from Johannesburg that despite the price of gold-bullion soaring ever closer to the coveted $1,000 per ounce mark, South Africa’s gold production has dropped to a new low level of 49,713 kg of mined gold -- ten percent down quarter-on-quarter and nearly five percent lower year-on-year.
- Of course the net profits of the companies are not affected because the gold-prices are so much higher this year than they were last year. On May 24, the London gold-bullion price was fixed at $959 per ounce.
This year, it's being blamed partly on 'the year-end holiday period and the amount of time it takes mines to restart (after they were forced to shut down enmasse due to the electricity blackouts)," Seccombe writes.
‘First quarter 2008 a disaster for SA mining industry’:
He quotes from today’s statement from the SA Chamber of Mines which says that 'the decline in production on a year-on-year basis… must be considered from the point of view that the first quarter of 2008 was a disaster for the South African mining industry due to the electricity crisis."
During 2007 and 2008, all of South Africa’s cities experienced major power blackouts which were imposed by the growing maintenance problems of the state-owned electricity utility, Eskom’s aging grid. The entire problem already started in 2007 when one of the power generating units at Koeberg nuclear power station next to Cape Town tripped off, forcing the electricity utility to start countrywide waves of load-shedding. The Koeberg nuclear power station, on the outskirts of Cape Town, is South Africa's only commercial nuclear power station producing 12.7 billion kWh or about 6% of South Africa's total electricity consumption. And with these rolling blackouts, came some alarming new problems: frequent failures, fires and explosions at scores of aging substations which were not ever designed to be constantly turned off and on.
In January 2008, leading South African gold and platinum mines stopped because of a lack of power and the government declared a state of emergency, with outages causing chaos and misery and threatening economic growth
- Neighbours like Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, which rely heavily on South African energy exports, also were badly hit by the disruptions. And the tourism industry was hard-hit too, with hotels running without electricity and ncidents such as the stranding of hundreds of people on tourism icon Table Mountain because of power cuts gaining international media attention.
Mines forced to cut electricity use by 60% per month…
The crisis reached a peak when mining companies including AngloGold, Harmony and Goldfields suspended virtually all operations for fear power cuts would trap workers underground – and which had already happened several times. Goldfields mining - whose South African operations produced 7,000 ounces per day - said Eskom, the state power utility, had said the disruption could last up to four weeks after Eskom asked mines to cut electricity consumption by 60 per cent per month.What most angers business and consumers alike is that the rolling blackouts come without warning and so were particularly crippling. see
So what’s wrong this year then?
- Seccombe points out however that 'this year the mines don’t have the excuse of a power shortage that shut down South Africa’s mining industry for a week in January 2008, wreaking havoc with gross domestic product."
The drop in this year's gold-production also is particularly odd from a financial viewpoint because the soaring gold price should encourage much more production of the precious metal – not less. The Rand-Gold price is nearing record highs: on May 24, the gold bullion price was set in London at $959.00 US per troy ounce.
The Chamber of Mines sayd that many of the mines just weren’t able to get back to full underground production ( since the disastrous electricity blackouts of the previous two years) -- and also, to compensate for their lower underground production over the holiday season into 2009, the gold mines have turned to reprocessing many their old slag-heaps aboveground to find gold residues:
- “There was an increase in the use of low-grade surface materials being processed through the mills in the first quarter of 2009, as the mines attempted to try compensate for lower underground production cause by the holiday period extending into the early part of 2009.” see
Ten die on SA mines in past week
Ten mine fatalities in one week is a shocking testimony to the ever threatening dangers in the gold mining industry, the trade union Solidarity said. This follows the death of another miner at AngloGold Ashanti’s Tau Lekoa mine outside Klerksdorp when two hoppers caused the death of a miner. Another three miners were killed in two separate accidents earlier this week. Both accidents were caused by earth tremors. Two employees of Gold Fields’ Kloof mine in the West Rand yesterday died in a fall of ground accident while another employee died in the same mine on Tuesday. The Gold Fields accidents come after the company notched up a record of 85 days without any fatal accidents, Kleynhans today said. “These accidents once again highlight the high safety standards that have to be maintained in South African gold mines,” said Kleynhans. Meanwhile wage negotiations in the Gold Chamber at the Chamber of Mines started today. The miners want a 15% wage increase, the mines offer nly 5%. http://www.miningmx.com/news/gold_and_silver/Ten-mining-deaths-in-past-week.htm
Solidarity trade union says that the South African gold producers are in a sound financial position to award a decent wage increase. The producers who are represented include Anglo Gold Ashanti, GoldFields and Harmony. “Gold has performed very well over the past year. From March 2008 to March 2009, it rose by 51% in rand-per-ounce terms. It rose from R6 210,21 per ounce to R9 380,23 per ounce.”
- Employers in this sector are now offering a wage increase of 5%, but Solidarity maintains that the offer is still below the current consumer price inflation. “Solidarity indicated in its motivation to the Chamber that there is an underrepresentation of foodstuff in the inflation basket, which means that workers’ cost of living is underplayed. Further, the consumer price inflation (CPI) is higher than economists expected initially. Health and education inflation is more than 10% and the CPI is not representative of workers’ households,” Jaco Kleynhans, Solidarity spokesperson, said.
“Moreover, gold producers are benefited by the PPI inflation which dropped to 5,8% for March, resulting in lower input costs. This is supported by the gold price that is trading at strong levels, making a significant wage increase possible,” Kleynhans stressed.
Solidarity’s demands include a wage increase of 15%, the re-introduction of a service increment for officials and an improvement in the standby allowance of 8% of the basic salary. In addition, Solidarity demands that a standby allowance be introduced for officials. In respect of shift allowances, the trade union demands that wages be improved to 6% of the basic salary for afternoon shifts, to 10% of the basic salary for night shifts and to 8% of the basic salary for split shifts.
- Payment for home ownership must be improved to market-related bond payment rates and the living-out allowance must be improved to market-related rental rates. In respect of medical aid schemes, the trade union asks for freedom of choice and that the processes by centralised at the Chamber. Furthermore, the trade union demands that contractors and labour hire companies be regulated by the codes determined by the Chamber. Negotiations in this sector will continue on 3 June.
Solidarity requests insolvency investigation into Pamodzi Gold
Solidarity trade union says the four largest South African banks promised their support to the employees of the bankrupt gold company Pamodzi Gold. This support follows after Solidarity made an urgent appeal to Standard Bank, Nedbank, FNB and Absa to consider the crisis at the mining group and not fine employees for late payment of debit orders.
The banks meanwhile undertook to, among other things, approach Pamodzi employees on an individual basis to handle the matter. Solidarity lauded the banks for their support and empathy with the employees’ situation. “The support of the banks could eventually bring relief to thousands of Pamodzi’s employees,” explains Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans. “Employees are currently without hope, but the knowledge that concern for fines on debit orders and the eventual effect thereof on their credit records could be solved, lifts an incredible burden from their shoulders.” The trade union has also launched a food-aid programme for the mineworkers and their families through its charity Helping Hand.
- Meanwhile Solidarity also made an official request to the provisional liquidators of Pamodzi Gold to launch an insolvency investigation at the mining group. Solidarity is of the opinion that the investigation should be carried out to determine whether there have been any financial irregularities at the Pamodzi Gold group. The trade union also requested the provisional liquidators to pay the still outstanding salaries to employees with funding generated from investors and gold sales. http://www.solidaritysa.co.za/Home/home.php
Record demand for SA gold coins