Body found at Marikana

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IOL pic sep5 lonmin worker Associated Press (File image) The Lonmin mine near Rustenburg, South Africa.

Rustenburg - A man was apparently hacked to death on Tuesday near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West.

A Sapa reporter saw a picture of his body, taken by a news cameraman.

The man was found near the site where striking mineworkers gathered earlier in the day before embarking on a protest march to a local hospital.

The photograph showed deep cuts behind his neck.

As journalists raced towards the spot where the body was found, the leaders of the protesters intervened, telling everyone to move back, away from the scene.

Tuesday afternoon saw a standoff between policemen and the protesters at the Andrew Saffy Memorial Hospital in Marikana.

A throng of protesters marched to the hospital in the afternoon, from an open space near the hill where 34 people were killed following the violence on August 16.

As the protesters approached, police barricaded the hospital's entrance with four Nyala vehicles. A police helicopter hovered overhead. A private security reaction vehicle was also near the scene.

The protesters were carrying pangas, knobkerries, golf clubs, arrows and spears.

One of their leaders, Loyiso Mtsheketshe, said they wanted to instruct the hospital to stop discharging injured miners into police custody.

A protester said they also wanted to convey their concerns to the hospital about its role in the ongoing strike.

The protesters claimed the police instructed hospitals to tell them when the wounded mineworkers were being discharged, and arrested them then -some even before they left the hospital premises.

The group of protesters marched around the hospital and departed in different groups. They headed back to the open space near the hill Äwhere they congregate every evening.

The Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration met employee representatives in Rustenburg on Tuesday, as a strike at Lonmin entered its second month.

“A meeting was held with the employee delegation (accompanied by the clergy) at the CCMA offices in Rustenburg. At this stage we cannot confirm the contents of the meeting,” said CCMA spokesman Nersan Govender.

This followed an aborted attempt at wage negotiations on Monday, when just under seven percent of workers reported for work.

Under a peace accord signed by three unions representing some of the 28 000 employees at the platinum mine last week, it was agreed that wage negotiations would be re-opened, but only if workers returned to work.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) did not sign the accord, but did arrive for wage talks on Monday.

Its representatives waited in vain, with the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity, UASA, and Lonmin representatives for representatives of a splinter group of workers to arrive. - Sapa



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