S.African miner killed amid talks to end strike

May 22, 2014
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S.African miner killed amid talks to end strike/AFP
S.African miner killed amid talks to end strike/AFP

, JOHANNESBURG, May 22- A platinum miner in South Africa who shunned a strike over wages was found stabbed to death Thursday morning, his union said, amid mediation efforts to end four-month stoppages.

“We can confirm that our member who is from Mozambique was killed at Sondela Squatter Camp in Rustenburg when he was on his way to work,” said National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch chairman Steve Modimokwane.

The man worked an Anglo American Platinum mine, according to the union, which earlier denounced intimidation of non strikers during some of the longest stoppages in South African history.

“He is one of the NUM members who returned to work last week and he was threatened that he should stop going to work by the striking workers,” said Modimokwane in a statement.

Police spokesman Thulani Ngubane confirmed a killing in the area.

Thursday’s death brings to at least five the number of murder victims since around 80,000 mineworkers downed tools on the platinum belt northwest of Johannesburg on January 23.

It also suggests continuing rivalry between the NUM and its usurper the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which has spearheaded the industrial action to double basic wages.

Last week a NUM member was hacked to death, a second one was burnt to death in his house, while a third was found strangled to death along with his wife in their shack.

Six others survived stabbings while walking to work on Monday last week.

AMCU and top three global producers Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin were locked in court-mediated talks Thursday to solve the impasse over demands of 12,500 rand ($1,200, 875 euros) in basic wages.

The union has rejected an offer to increase the salary package — including allowances — to that figure by 2017.

The Labour Court stepped in after government and independent mediators failed to break the deadlock.

Ongoing violence in the region follows massive strikes in 2012, when AMCU replaced NUM as dominant union on the mines.

Police shot dead 34 strikers in one day at Lonmin’s Marikana mine on August 16 that year, and several members of both unions were assassinated before and after the incident.

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