NUM lying about Lonmin - Amcu

Johannesburg - The NUM is lying about the situation at Lonmin's Marikana mine, in Rustenburg, where 34 people were shot dead by police, a rival union said on Friday.

“ The National Union of Mineworkers) NUM is blaming everyone but themselves,” said Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa.

File photo: Mineworkers at Lonmin's Marikana mine. Credit: Reuters

The shooting happened on Thursday afternoon at the height of a labour dispute at the listed platinum company's mine in North West.

Mathunjwa said Amcu was a recognised trade union at Lonmin with 7 000 members. It had about 30 000 members nationally, most of them at Lonmin's Karee mine.

He said there was no union rivalry, but that the NUM had “internal issues” which had nothing to do with Amcu.

“It's not a rival issue with NUM and Amcu. It's a domestic issue (within) NUM,” he said.

Amcu had no affiliations with political organisations inside or outside South Africa.

It was also not supported or funded by expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, as was rumoured.

“The allegations are baseless and unfounded. We have no political relationship with any political movement inside this country or outside,” said Mathunjwa.

He said had been told that a worker had been shot in the foot inside a hostel on Friday morning because he had an assegai.

He said workers went to a hilltop near the mine during the week “for their safety”. It was there that they were shot.

“We are committed to any process that will stabilise the area and bring peace and calm to the area,” said Mathunjwa.

Earlier, he tearfully described the events of Thursday which began shortly after he had pleaded with workers to leave the hilltop.

Workers at Lonmin are represented by Amcu, the NUM and Solidarity. - Sapa