Miner, defying strike, set alight

Johannesburg - A worker at Amplats's Swartklip Union Mine was attacked and set on fire in the early hours of Thursday, allegedly by striking mineworkers at Sefikile, North West police said.

The 46-year-old man was attacked by four men at 04:30 while on his way to work, Brigadier Thulane Ngubane said.

Two men initially stopped him and asked if he was going to work.

Two men wearing balaclavas then arrived and pointed a firearm at him.

"They took him to the nearby open veld and attacked him," Ngubane said.

"They assaulted him with sticks and knobkerries. After he collapsed, assailants removed his socks and soaked them in petrol. They tied them on his belt before setting him alight."

The four men robbed the miner of his cellphone and left him for dead. Ngubane said the man took off his burning clothes and ran naked towards the shaft. He was taken to the mine hospital and treated for second degree burns and head injuries.

Police opened a case of attempted murder, pointing a firearm, and robbery. No arrests had been made.

Striking platinum miners belonging to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union have been on a four-week-long wage-related strike.

Members of Amcu at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum went on strike on 23 January, demanding a R12 500 basic monthly salary for miners.

The platinum producers proposed a three-year agreement last month. The proposal was a 9% increase for A-level workers, 8.5% for B-level and 7.5% for C-level workers in the first year.

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