Situation tense as Lonmin workers strike

2013-05-14 11:42

Mining operations at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Rustenburg, North West, were suspended today, the company said.

“We can confirm there is a stoppage. Workers arrived for work, but did not go underground. The reason for them not going underground is unclear,” said spokesperson Sue Vey.

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) regional coordinator Mxhasi Sithethi said the situation was tense at the mine.

“People are singing outside our office, demanding the closure of the NUM office ... It is tense.”

He said the protesters were members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

The NUM and Amcu have been fighting for control of the mines in the area since last year.

It was not clear whether the protest today was related to the death of an Amcu official at the weekend.

Amcu North West regional organiser Mawethu Steven was shot dead by four men at a tavern in Photsaneng, in the informal settlement of Nkaneng, on Saturday.

Yesterday, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa appealed for “calm” in the platinum belt following the shooting.

“We would like to call on all our members during this difficult and emotional time to remain calm and allow the law to take its course,” he said.

Twin brothers were also shot dead at Nkaneng, in Wonderkop, on Saturday.

Sithethi said one of them was an NUM shop steward.

North West police said the brothers were shot dead by a group of armed men draped in blankets and wearing balaclavas.

The group stormed into a shack on Saturday night and asked them the whereabouts of another, who was not identified.

The brothers were shot when they said they did not know the man.

“The one brother, who was shot two times, died on the scene, while the other brother died on arrival at the Andrew Saffy (Memorial) Hospital,” said Brigadier Thulani Ngubani at the time.

Two women, who were in the shack at the time, were wounded.

One was shot in the thigh, and the other was hacked with a panga. They were taken to hospital and were discharged on Sunday.

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