Guard hacked to death

2012-10-03 00:00

A SECURITY guard has been hacked to death at Somkhele Mine, near Mtubatuba, during an illegal strike over wages.

According to KwaMsane SAPS spokesperson Captain Jabulani Mdletshe, the incident took place just before 9 pm on Monday night, during a power outage lasting about 30 minutes.

Mdletshe said the guard, BP Nxumalo (48), was inside a hut at one of the mine’s gates, while a second guard was stationed outside, when the incident happened.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, the surviving guard, who asked not to be named, said while he was sitting outside he was accosted by five men carrying bush-knives, who asked why he was working during the strike.

“To protect myself, I took out a pocket knife and told the men that I would defend myself if they came any nearer. Nxumalo was carrying a pump action shotgun, but he was inside the hut. I then saw a gap and ran as fast as I could and hid in bushes not too far from the gate,” the man said.

“While I was hiding, I phoned my supervisor for help. That’s when I heard Nxumalo screaming and crying. The men had run into the guard hut and were attacking him. When my supervisors came to my rescue, the men were long gone and Nxumalo was lying on the floor with wounds to his face and near his heart, bleeding,” he said.

He said he and Nxumalo had spoken of their fears for their safety during the strike.

“We were scared,” he said. “But there was nothing we could do because we needed the money and the jobs,” he said.

“Nxumalo told me he was going to ask for leave on Tuesday morning (yesterday) but unfortunately he died before he could take that leave. He was humble and dedicated to his work. I will never forget him,” he said.

The police suspect the attackers took Nxumalo’s gun after killing him.

According to Mdletshe, police are investigating the matter and have made no arrests.

The strike at the mine started last week, and there were no signs of violence until Monday night.

The workers are predominantly employed by Sandton Plant Hire (SPH), and represented by the Association of Mining and Construction Union (AMCU) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

They are demanding increases that up their “take-home” pay to between R10 000 and R15 000 per month, depending on skill levels, and housing allowances of R900 instead of the R600 they say they are now getting.

The workers claim to currently earn between R4 000 and R6 000 per month.

In a statement mine management said it could “regrettably” confirm the death of “a security guard following an incident on mine property”.

The guard was employed by a security contractor at the mine.

“The next of kin have been informed and the management at Tendele Coal Mining has sent condolences to the family of the deceased.

Financial and moral support will be provided to the family. Management is assisting police with their investigations,” said the statement.

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