News24

Police watchdog probing mineworker's death

2012-10-05 14:23

Johannesburg - The police's watchdog is investigating the shooting death of an Amplats mineworker near Rustenburg, North West police said on Friday.

"The cause of the death and all its circumstances are currently under investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) as the incident appeared to have arisen from police action," Colonel Emelda Setlhako said.

She said about 300 Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mineworkers met on a hill at the Nkaneng informal settlement in Photsaneng, about 18km east of Rustenburg, on Thursday afternoon.

"The police instructed the mineworkers to disperse, but the instruction was ignored. The crowd began stoning the police who then had to use stun grenades, rubber bullets and teargas to disperse them."

Workers' spokesperson Gaddhafi Mdoda said the police ordered them to disperse and counted up to 10 before firing teargas and rubber bullets.

"They [workers] first gathered at the Bleskop hostel and were ordered to leave. They went to the informal settlement. They were also ordered to disperse [there] and they went to the hill to continue with their meeting."

Strikers barricaded roads linking Rustenburg to Marikana with rocks and burning tyres.

The workers went on an illegal strike on September 12, demanding a R16 000 monthly salary and allowances. Since then, shops and cars had been burnt. On Monday, six cars driving past the mine's shafts were burnt and two shops looted and burnt.

One of the shops belonged to a Pakistani man, and was situated next to the mine's Jabula hostel, in Sondela.

Despite facing dismissal if they did not return to their jobs, the workers remained defiant.