Miner, defying strike, set alight

2014-02-20 19:10

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.

  • Selwyn Breytenbach - 2014-02-20 19:27

    Good God we live in a savage country!!!

      Aads - 2014-02-21 07:50


      Lorna Murdoch-Eaton - 2014-02-21 19:05

      Poor guy. I hope he will be ok. What horrible, bullying cowards those attackers are. South Africa is the land where intimidation rules!

  • Nalen Naidoo - 2014-02-20 19:27

    Police should shoot to kill these bastards

      Rodney Bevan - 2014-02-21 11:02

      And yet, we have the Farlam commission questioning police tactics over the Marikana strike. Life is cheap in Africa it seems.

  • Ann Ornelas - 2014-02-20 19:28

    I am speechless. This man wanted to work, obviously to support himself and his family, and was violently denied the right.

  • adrian.wendler - 2014-02-20 19:29

    Cry the beloved country.

  • George Van Der Walt837 - 2014-02-20 19:31

    I cannot understand how people who claim to be decent individuals struggling to make a living and just campaigning for better wages can behave like such savages. And they expect to be taken seriously at the negotiating table!?

  • Andrew Arde - 2014-02-20 19:31

    Eff'ing savages!

      Livvi Krige - 2014-02-20 20:40

      My sentiments exactly. The sooner this country rids itself of all these Eff'ing useless unions, the better. None of them have the worker's interests at heart otherwise they would not even suggest such ludicrous wage increases. The only one's who benefit in a strike are the greedy union bosses. The workers pay their dues each week/month, let the Unions pay them whilst they are on strike, see how quickly they will be encouraged to go back to work then.

  • Leshilo Kedibone - 2014-02-20 19:33

    If I was an attorney, I was gona represent this man free of charge and sue this AMCU

      Ann Ornelas - 2014-02-20 19:48

      A thousand thumbs up

  • Elliot Menziwa - 2014-02-20 19:33

    Guess who taught mineworkers to necklace ooponents?

      jason.hepple.5 - 2014-02-20 20:59

      They didn't need to be taught anything... Been doing it for years! Are you defending these animals!?

      David Khumalo - 2014-02-21 12:44

      please enlighten us ??????????????

  • Jacques Shepperson - 2014-02-20 19:35

    There you have it... this is not a democratic country!

  • Willem de Haan - 2014-02-20 19:37

    No comment. Africa for the Africans. Ubuntu and so forth. Great country.

  • adrian.wendler - 2014-02-20 19:39

    Bring in the illegal miners. Give them jobs. They want to work.

      Jonathan Woods - 2014-02-20 20:18

      Congrats Thapelo you just won the Pulitzer prize for da most cleba comment of the century!

  • Sibanyoni Elvis Tsala - 2014-02-20 19:43

    who saw it happen...... Brigadier Thulane Ngubane.........?

      Shero Nkateko Ramahlako - 2014-02-20 20:12

      The victim, remember he is not dead.

      EXPAT-SINCE 1973 - 2014-02-22 01:23

      YOu don't need a witness, the victim himself is testament to that!

  • Andrew Plint - 2014-02-20 19:49

    This is the intimidation that Anglo was referring to. It's only the tip of the iceberg. I have a friend that works for a private security company that's protecting the mines and he has told me some shocking stories. Joseph Mathunjwa is a psycopath. AMCU has members that go to work to spy on their colleagues. They write down the names of the people who show up for work. After work they have people "pay them a visit". This is not a fight for a living wage any more. It's a fight for people like Joseph Mathunjwa to get more money from the miners. And it's a political fight for the likes of the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP. Innocent people are being mislead. When these guys vote during their strike "meetings" they need to raise their hands or stand-up if they agree with something. Why the hell will you not raise your'e hand or stand up knowing you will be targeted like this poor man? I know a lot of people in the platinum belt suffer, but this is not the solution. What happens to the millions mining companies pay towards taxes? Why not ring fence this money and use it exclusively for the upliftment of the communities? It's a disgrace.

      Lorna Murdoch-Eaton - 2014-02-21 19:11

      Andrew you are so right. The trouble is this same type of mentality also carries over to ruling parties and government. Is a Zimbabwe style state our destiny, where anyone not supporting the ruling party is in danger of being murdered and gangsters rule? It IS a disgrace.

  • Llewellyn Constable - 2014-02-20 19:52

    I'm a cop and wanted to be a cop when I was a child. Nelson Mandela appointed George Fivas as his national commisioner of police because Nelson Mandela had have a motto: "Never mix politics with police". George Fivas was a white man, but Nelson appointed him to be boss of police!!!!. I'm crying at this moment because I'm saddened by this barbaric act although I don't know the victim. In this time we live in its "hard" to be a cop. Eventhough there was cops murdered prior to the Marikana masacre, its my first time to cry even though the victim is not a cop(I didn't cry when I heard about the murdered cops and securiy guards at Marikana)because I was attacked and when I opened a case against my attackers, I was told by the judge that in my line of work, I must expect this tipe of things. I am crying and I know there is a lot of fellow citizens out there that feel I'm no good. The bible talk this and its what is happening now( those that fight for goodwill, will be destroyed)That's why I don't blame my own people because this is all part of Gods will. I'm just glad that when God planned this, the Allmighty put me in the same situation as Jesus Christ. Hit me, spit on me, tell me I'm no good, hate me, have nothing good to say about me, make jokes with your friends about me etc!!!! When in trouble, you will call apon me. I'm not even the almighty but when danger is "really" near, you always ask" Oh God help us and your very next question is" where is the police".

      HeelBek StilBek - 2014-02-20 20:40

      Sir, you sound like one of the handful that still has pride in your duty and i thank you for your service.

      Jonathan Woods - 2014-02-20 20:41

      Hang in there Llewellyn, I knew lots of good cops. And I am thankful for what they did. If you are like they were I know you will do what you can.

      thuli.mbene - 2014-02-21 01:00

      You sir, should have cele's job. The pride you feel for the profession and the badge can only ever be taught from the top down. You make me proud to be South African :)

      Barbara Clemson - 2014-02-21 07:40

      God bless you llewellyn. it is people like you who deserve the good salaries. Remember God will reward you.

      Lorna Murdoch-Eaton - 2014-02-21 19:18

      I don't have any religious faith so I can't comment on that but you are an inspiration Llewellyn. Keep heart and know that all honest people of South Africa respect you. We need people of honour like you and I also hope that one day soon you are rewarded.

  • Chima Ernest - 2014-02-20 19:54

    what a wicked world are living in today and what are the government,law enforcement agencies doing to protect the lives of its citizens in moment such as this?The level of death,violent crime and immorality is increasing per a second of the day,which confirm the truth of God's word "we are heading to the end time"The question each of us must ask is: where will i spend eternity?God have mercy and help us to know we are all tenants in this world,a day will come when we shall give account to God for everything we have done on this earth.Whether we accept it or not.

  • Siyaxolisa Matomela - 2014-02-20 20:06

    They said marika police shot harmless ppl.. Shoot to kill police one less problem

  • Altus Kirsten - 2014-02-20 20:15

    Shoot them!

  • Mzwandile Jam-Jam - 2014-02-20 20:16

    I wonder whats wrong with our Ppl killing one onother.

  • Kenneth Maimane - 2014-02-20 20:20

    Where is the mine security to transport these people home?all the mine cares about is profit.

      John Lee - 2014-02-20 20:34

      Ohh I see.. Let's shift the focus to the mine. Why are these strikers killing innocent workers? All they care about is money.

  • Brad Smith - 2014-02-20 20:26

    to all the mineworkers those that want to work and those that are being led by the new primeevil, which is the amcu leadership turn your backs on those leadersand throw them not. not only will you save your jobs but you will be heroes to most south africans. throw them out now.they are evil and want you to suffer for their own selfish cause

  • Retha van der Merwe - 2014-02-20 20:40

    Kan iemand asb net die unies wakker klap?!? Maak oop julle oë, ons ekonomie verswak elke dag - werk is skaars, wees dankbaar dat jy werk het.

      Ian Trenor - 2014-02-20 20:41

      Retha that is the black man culture. You won't change it..

      Lewies Gardner - 2014-02-20 20:46

      The problem is that the unions consist of uneducated people with zero emotional intelligence. And that combination make for a stubborn fool that thinks he knows everything, when in fact he can't even manage his own affairs.

      Lewies Gardner - 2014-02-20 22:14

      Hey Thapelo, English buddy.

      thuli.mbene - 2014-02-21 01:05

      Retha, dit is ongelukkig nou maar net die natuur van my swart mense. Magie vol en ek slaap onder n boom. Möre se worries behoort aan möre. Hoekom dink mevrou kan ons nie plaas boere wees nie? As ek klaar gevreet het, is ek klaar gewerk. Volgende oes is nie nou se worries nie.

  • Lewies Gardner - 2014-02-20 20:43

    In the end we will have millions of rands worth of platinum under the ground, but it would just cost way too much to mine it, due to unrealistic wages.

  • Nicola Erasmus856 - 2014-02-20 21:00

    And then Joseph Mathunjwa had the audacity to call the strike PEACEFUL??!!

  • David van den Berg - 2014-02-20 21:21

    I suggest that they companies close down all the mines and fire the lot of them. Unfortuneatly the miners families will suffer but this does not seem to bother the mine workers or is this a case of the unions pushing them. I am sure the Union bosses are still racking in their money not really concerned about the families. How long can they survive without food before they expect a hand out???

  • Zahir - 2014-02-20 21:37

    This is the mob mentality the marikana cops had to handle they had no choice but to shoot and kill thugs like this

  • Matt Cumming - 2014-02-20 21:51


  • James Smythe - 2014-02-20 21:52

    When a union strikes there should be a law that if violence such as this ensues then the union leaders will be arrested for incitement to violence.

  • Hartmut Balzer - 2014-02-20 21:53

    Easy to handle. Close the mine. maybe the find a job for 2000R. maybe not but the will learn very quick.

  • Siza Siza - 2014-02-20 21:53

    Striking mine workers please return to your jobs to work for your families, most of you came here in the mines from far away with nothing but your id's, we seem to forget what we came here for, this AMCU is taking advantage of you, it does not exist without the mines, it cannot create jobs, there's lots of qualified people looking for employment and ready to settle for less than R5000 a month, and most of mine employees can't even write their names, please join forces and go back to work, the company will never pay R12500 that's a ridiculous demand even teachers are not getting close to that, you are being misled, please wake up

      thuli.mbene - 2014-02-21 01:15

      Thumbs up

  • Mpho Leopeng - 2014-02-20 21:55

    Right now I'm really beginning to side with the police.

  • Christiaan Jansen van Vuuren - 2014-02-20 22:26

    Then you wonder why you get mowed down in 36's... You deserve every ounce of misfortune you miserable murderers

  • Rohin - 2014-02-20 22:36

    With the high unemployment rates and the poverty in this country, here's someone who wants to work and he's attacked for exercising his right. Please Amplat, don't back down, sue the unions, this BS has to stop. Why don't they get it, higher wages are going to mean less profits, which means retrenchments, which means more crime, more poverty. FFS people , cry our beloved country

  • Luzuko Mtoyi - 2014-02-20 23:04

    The ANC government should be reading the mine bosses and the union bosses, the riot act. This cannot go on forever. The next thing is: We, as the Government condemns this barbaric act in the strongest terms. That's it. And the next incident happens....vicious circle. To those that say, shoot and kill, I would say, imagine if the Marikana cops had mowed down your brother, cousin etc? Would you be egging police to do so. Remember the guy in Diepsloot who was on patrol looking for skollies to "kill" and his own son was killed on the other side as he was alleged to be a skollie? He changed his tune! When it is closer to home, you start having reason....

      Erwee Coetzee - 2014-02-22 09:27

      This will never stop, way to many people are making a lot of money when people strike, in fact all but the workers. When people strike in a main production country, platinum becomes more scarce, meaning that the price of platinum rises, also the union bosses score big time... what happens to the workers - they get the raise, meaning that labour becomes to expensive - meaning that more people get retrenched. The cold war proved that a free market system works much better than communism, but for some strange reason in Africa we look for things that never worked before and then try them in Africa. Why not learn from others mistakes?

  • Anita Pretorius - 2014-02-20 23:45

    Disgusting the way these people go about (grow up man) sit down n talk bout the situation like decent pupils stop being silly I understand you fighting for rights But to do it this way is not going to get you no where Prayer let go n let God he is your answer to. God bless you all in Jesus Name 1John 4:16-17

  • Janine Filmer - 2014-02-21 00:14

    I heard a miner speaking on 702 a few days ago. He was saying that he really wanted to go to work because he needed the money but he was aware that he would be attacked and possibly murdered if he tried to. That's just plain scary.

  • George Gervais - 2014-02-21 03:18

    But oh no, don't shoot them, because Marikana has shown us that they are just being civilized law abiding citizens having a little bit of a strike. Ridiculous liberal thinking that's destroying this country even further. Protest and voice your dissatisfaction by all means. Just learn to do so in a proper and civilized bloody manner.

  • Silvana De Mattia - 2014-02-21 04:50

    The majority of people in this country haven't a clue about the meaning of democracy, freedom of association etc. If you don't fall in line with what they want.....KILL, KILL, KILL! And this extends into the business sector - NO COMPETITION ALLOWED! How did this happen? Perhaps the "mother" of the nation in '76?

  • Patrick Hankey - 2014-02-21 06:53


  • Barbara Clemson - 2014-02-21 07:43

    i honestly thought that all people had rights in this country. Obviously this man has not got the right to go to work and not take part in the strike. I am pleased that he is alive.

  • Johan Labuschagne - 2014-02-21 08:06

    And that is why they should be shot.....

  • mark.heath.3388 - 2014-02-21 08:16

    And there's an on going commission wasting tax payers money wanting to know why the police shot and killed some of these bastards, go figure.

  • Llewellyn Helberg - 2014-02-21 08:28

    They should fire all of them and the police need to remind them that you can't break the law and get away with it. Maybe Marikana wasn't such a bad thing. There's no fears of the police and the law any more and that's the problem... The police should be left to deal with these situations as they see fit and if that means shooting violent protesters that behave like animals and set people on fire then so be it.

  • Ken Amery - 2014-02-21 09:00


  • Jacques Taljaard - 2014-02-21 09:01

    I actually have family working in the platinum mines, and the stories I have heard of violence and intimidation is shocking, and as we see even murder are all ok to achieve what they want. Wonder where this example is being set for the people of this country...

  • Ian Van Zyl - 2014-02-21 09:19

    This is disgusting. If I had money, I would pay for this poor man's medical expenses.It breaks my heart to read stories like this.

  • Mfumbayelangabi Silwane - 2014-02-21 09:27

    Disappointed by my own people

  • Lisa Rhodes Adam - 2014-02-21 10:28

    I am starting to wonder how do human beings become to vicous and barbaric...I dont mean this in the wrong way but blacks seem to have a gene that is prone or enjoys violence...everyday I read it online, in the papers and on T.V....what is South Africa coming to

  • Papa O Sogcwayi - 2014-02-21 11:53

    It is sad when such things happen and our Government is oblivious to what is happeneing on the ground. Its true when intellectual people sit back they get led by fools...its time SA is led by educated people. Unionist and political looters need to move out of the way before this country crumbles!

  • Justin Moller - 2014-02-21 11:59

    The only way to curb such savage behaviour is by bringing back the Death Penalty, currently there is no repercussion for acting out in this manner, its become a normality in our country. By bringing back the Death Penalty will eradicate such inhumane behaviour and hopefully bring order to society!!!

  • June Francis - 2014-02-21 14:38

    Shame poor man- may his soul RIP