Johannesburg, South Africa --- 18 October 2013 - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says one of its shaft chairpersons at platinum producer Lonmin has been shot dead in the restive platinum belt town of Marikana "’ an incident sure to stoke labour tensions.
“He was killed last night. We don't know why at this stage, but there appears to be a resurgence of violence in the area,” said spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka, reports Fin24.
The NUM has had tens of thousands of members in the platinum shafts poached by rival union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), in a turf war that killed dozens of people in 2012. Sporadic killings have occurred this year.
Police spokesperson Thulani Ngubane confirmed that a man was gunned down last night, but did not release his name and said the reason for the shooting was unknown.
“He was on his way to the informal settlement that is next to Lonmin. As he was about to pick up his girlfriend, four men opened fire at his vehicle. He got out of the car and he was hit by seven bullets. He died on the scene,” said Ngubane.
Lonmin spokesperson Sue Vey said the victim was the NUM chairperson at the Roland shaft at the company's Western Platinum mine. “We cannot say if this is linked to the union rivalry or not,” she added.
Lonmin's Marikana operations were at the epicentre of the union conflict last year. Police shot dead 34 striking miners there in August 2012 in the bloodiest security incident in the country since the demise of apartheid.
Earlier this year, Lonmin recognised AMCU, known for its militancy, as the majority union at its operations and stripped bargaining rights and even office space from other unions, including key ANC ally the NUM.
Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.