Marikana-link to killing of mine manager

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crime scene august 3 Independent Newspapers File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - Four men from Marikana allegedly travelled about 25km, to the neighbouring Kroondaal village, to kill a senior manager from one of the mines there.

They also allegedly shot his female companion. The 47-year-old man died at the scene and the 29-year-old woman is in hospital fighting for her life.

While union rivalry had been believed to be at the centre of the spate of attacks on the Platinum Belt since the August 2012 strike that saw 44 people die, it was not known what the motive for this attack was.

The deceased wasn’t believed to have any affiliation to a union because he was a senior manager. The deaths in the Marikana area were of people associated with platinum mines.

The victim worked for Samancor, a chrome-producing mine and was killed in Kroondaal, which was believed to be a relatively peaceful area. The mine’s workers were not part of the Marikana upheaval.

Spokeswoman for Samancor Sunel Pretorius confirmed the victim was a senior employee of the company.

“We have been informed of the incident involving our employee. It is under police investigation,” she said.

Police spokesman Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said the man was shot just as he returned from the shops at about 5pm. He had just entered a car when gunmen approached and started shooting him and his companion in the vehicle, he said.

This, he said, was done in full view of many people who were at the shops and also roaming around the vicinity. The men then got into their car and fled.

“We don’t know what the motive is, but the good thing is that we have arrested suspects and will find out,” Mokgwabone said.

Due to the violence in the area, the North West police had launched the Platinum Belt Operation on June 16 in a bid to stabilise the area.

As a result there were many officers in the area. Residents who witnessed the shooting immediately called the police, telling them about what happened and about the car in which the suspects fled.

“The police spotted the car, a Toyota Corolla, and the men were arrested near Thabisa mine on the road leading to Marikana a few minutes later. Four men were found inside and police confiscated two firearms.”

Mokgwabone said the men had told the police that they were from Marikana. He also said there was no reason to fear that the violence was spreading to other areas.

The latest killing comes shortly after the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s Western Platinum branch secretary, Bonginkosi Mehlonkomo, was shot dead, also in broad daylight on Tuesday, in Wonderkop, Marikana.

Mehlonkomo was returning from work at the Lonmin offices when he was allegedly shot by two men.

His killers did not take anything from him.

The assailants also allegedly fired four more shots in the area to ensure that no one came closer to where they had gunned down Mehlonkomo.

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The Star


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