Guards kill strikers at KZN mine

2012-10-31 18:09
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Durban - Two workers were shot dead by security at a mine near Dannhauser in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday after trying to break into the mine's armoury, police said.

Colonel Jay Naicker said 100 striking workers gathered at the mine in the Ladybank area of Dannhauser on Wednesday morning.

"Around 10:30 some of the workers apparently attempted to break into an armoury on the mine and they were dispersed by mine security."

He said some security officers chased the dispersing miners into a nearby informal settlement where shots were fired, wounding two men.

Both were taken for medical treatment, but died later.

Naicker said two counts of murder were being investigated and that police were at the scene. Firearms were seized from the security personnel to determine who had fired the fatal shots.

Naicker said the names of those killed could not be released, because their next-of-kin had not been informed of their deaths.

National Union of Mineworkers KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Bongani Manyoni expressed shock at the deaths.

He said he could confirm that one of the men was a NUM member and identified him as Zanele Mthethwa. The other man was not known to him.

The miners have been on strike at the Magdalena coal mine since 17 October.

Manyoni said the miners had initially been demanding a minimum R3 000 increase for the lowest paid workers, but had through negotiations modified their demands to an increase of between R1 500 and R2 000 a month.

He said the owners of the mine, Forbes Coal, had been offering an 8.5% increase.

The lowest paid of the miners according to Manyoni were earning in the region of R3 800 a month, which meant the Forbes’ offer amounted to an increase of less than R400 a month.

Stephan Theron, the chief executive of Forbes Coal, said the company would comment later.

- SAPA

Read more on:    num  |  pietermaritzburg  |  labour  |  mining  |  mining unrest
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