Marikana murder heightens tension

2013-06-03 14:45
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - A man believed to be a National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) member was killed, and another person was injured in a shooting at Lonmin's Wonderkop hostel on Monday, North West police said.

"One died at the scene and one has been taken to the hospital," police spokesperson Sabata Mokgwabone said.

According to the police's initial information the shots were fired between 11:00 and noon.

Police could not immediately confirm a report that one of the men shot at was a NUM shop steward. They had been told he was a member of the union.

According to AFP, the dead man was a local shaft leader who "was killed in front of the union offices," said (NUM) regional spokesperson Mxhasi Sithethi.

On Monday, two unknown men approached the NUM leader at around 10:00 and fired at him, said Sithethi.

"There was no confrontation. Nothing," he said.

"He ran back to the office. They followed him and killed him."

The victim, whose identity has not been released, suffered at least two gunshot wounds to the head.

The attackers then shot the union treasurer at least six times when he confronted them, said Sithethi.

The treasurer is in "critical condition" in hospital, according to NUM's secretary general Frans Baleni.

The shooting follows the assassination of a leader from NUM's rival union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), last month.

The area had been fraught with labour-related difficulty since last year.

In August, 34 people were killed in a clash with police during a strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

Since then, numerous people associated with labour issues, or with the inquiry into the shooting, have been killed.

On Monday, Business Day reported that Lonmin had agreed to grant union threshold rights to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), shutting rival NUM out of collective bargaining there.

The mine, near Rustenburg, was described as a "battleground" for union dominance.

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