Cops not present at Amplats 'shooting'

2012-10-30 19:50
Police (Picture: Sapa)

Police (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Police were not present when striking mineworkers and mine security clashed at a second Anglo Platinum (Amplats) mine in Rustenburg on Tuesday, North West police said.

Warrant Officer Sam Tselanyane said it was believed that the mineworkers stopped a truck, which was delivering sand to the mine, and off-loaded the sand into the middle of a road.

"Mine security arrived on the scene and allegedly a shooting followed, but we cannot confirm the shooting," he said.

He said police were not present at the time, and had been unable to ascertain whether live ammunition or rubber bullets were used.

The number of injured could also not be immediately confirmed.

Tselanyane said one person was admitted to hospital, but the nature and extent of his injuries was not known.

A case of attempted murder was being investigated.

Earlier, a mineworkers' lobby group claimed police and mine security were involved in the shooting.

"Workers were marching to [Bathopele] mine. They were met with police and mine guards, who fired with live ammunition. A number were shot," claimed Democratic Socialist Movement spokesman Mametlwe Sebei.

The protesters were part of a group of about 12 000 mineworkers the company had fired, but had said it would reinstate if they went back to work by the 07:00 shift on Tuesday.

Sebei said he was not present at the shooting, but arrived shortly afterwards. People had run away, leaving the wounded on the ground.

Members of the organisation were trying to establish how many people were wounded and the nature of their wounds.

Comment from Amplats was not immediately available.

Hardship allowance

Tselanyane said earlier a policeman was hit in the face by a stone during a march by around 300 people to Anglo Platinum's Khuseleka shaft.

"The marching protesters became violent and started throwing stones and [waving] all sorts of dangerous weapons at the police," he said.

Police use rubber bullets to disperse the mineworkers, who eventually ran back to the nearby informal settlement, he said.

Spokesperson Captain Dennis Adriao said earlier police and the fire brigade were called around 04:00 when a power sub-station at Amplats' Khuseleka shaft was set alight.

Police and strikers clashed, but by 09:00 police felt the situation was under control.

By late morning, police said about 3 000 striking mineworkers had gathered at the Khuseleka sports ground. Sebei said the numbers were higher.

No arrests had been made and police were monitoring the situation.

In a separate incident, police said they found a shotgun in a veld near Samancor's mine in Kroondal, Rustenburg. It had been taken forcibly from a police constable during a confrontation with striking mineworkers on 16 October.

Sebei said striking mineworkers had rejected the offer by Amplats to get everybody back to work on Tuesday.

This confirmed a warning on Tuesday by Gaddafi Ndoda, a spokesperson for the national strike committee, which represents some miners.

The company said at the weekend it would reinstate 12 000 workers it had fired for being on strike since mid-September.

Its offer included a once-off "hardship allowance" of R2 000, net of tax, to help employees affected by the no-work, no-pay principle. Employees who did not participate in the illegal strike would be paid a once-off "loyalty allowance" of R2 000, net of tax.

Employees could also apply for a payment advance of up to R2 500 each, deductible from their salaries over a six-month period starting January 2013.

Comment from the National Union of Mineworkers, Uasa and Solidarity, which Amplats said were party to the agreement, was not immediately available.

Sebei said workers were holding out for a monthly salary of R16 000.

The clashes took place as the Farlam Commission probes the shooting deaths of 34 miners and the wounding of 78 near Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine on 16 August.

- SAPA
Read more on:    police  |  amplats  |  mahikeng  |  labour  |  mining  |  mining unrest
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