‘Murders undermine peace accord’


Rustenburg - The peace accord signed to bring stability to the mines has been completely disregarded in Marikana, North West premier Thandi Modise said on Wednesday.

“It is clear that our repeated pleas for people involved to resort to peaceful means to deal with their problems have fallen on deaf ears.”

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Miners return to work at the Lonmin Platinum mine after Lonmin resolved a five-week strike by agreeing to pay raises of up to 22 percent, in Marikana, Rustenburg, South Africa, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)Thandi Modise. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng.

She was reacting to the death of a former National Union of Mineworkers shop steward in Marikana.

Percy Letanang, 45, died in hospital on Tuesday night after being shot seven times on Sunday.

“The heartless instigators of these barbaric and senseless killings who have no regard for human lives are hell bent on unleashing a campaign of terror in our mining communities and need to be unmasked to face the wrath of the law,” said Modise.

North West police said Letanang was shot when he opened a gate at his home in Segwaelane on Sunday at 9pm.

“The victim was shot seven times in his shoulder, right upper arm, ribs and in his stomach. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he died on Tuesday,” said Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.

No arrests have been made.

NUM Rustenburg regional co-ordinator Mxhasi Sithethi said Letanang had been employed at Lonmin's Eastern Platinum mine, and took a voluntary severance package after Lonmin de-recognised NUM when its membership numbers fell below the required threshold.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has since become the majority union at Lonmin.

Several killings of union members are believed to be due to rivalry between the two unions.

“After Lonmin decided to de-recognise us, most comrades took their voluntary severance packages, fearing for their safety at the mine, and comrade Letanang was one of them,” said Sithethi.

NUM was worried about the increasing number of murders of its shop stewards in Marikana and in the greater Rustenburg area.

“In less than three months, four of our members have been killed... How long is blood going to have to flow in Marikana?” he asked.

“It is impossible not to feel heavy hearted when our shop stewards are brutally killed,” he said.

Modise said she would ask the police to brief her on their investigation into the ongoing violence.

“As we convey our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, we also want to assure them that we will not rest until the culprits are arrested and brought to book.”

Modise said the provincial government had intensified efforts to engage all sectors of society including community leaders, inter-faith denominations, and traditional authorities - to build social cohesion and curb the scourge of violence and other social ills in the province.


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