JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), the biggest union in the platinum belt, said yesterday (Thursday) that Marikana had once again become a "killing field" after yet another member was gunned down this week.
The bloodshed continues and the body count keeps is climbing.
“Amcu is in mourning. Our members are being killed in cold blood, assassinated by cowards hiding in the dark of the night. It is extremely painful and unnerving to be greeted almost weekly by the news of one of our comrades being killed,” Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said yesterday.
Eight Amcu leaders had been gunned down since more than 40 people died August 2012 in the platinum belt amid a wage strike at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, Mathunjwa said.
Amcu had asked for an urgent meeting with Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, to demand his immediate intervention to fast-track the prosecution of those responsible for all the murders since 2012.
“Amcu has also enlisted the services of a reputable private investigator to support the investigative processes, in the name of Paul O'Sullivan, who has more than 37 years’ experience in law-enforcement and is considered one of the world's leading security experts,” he said.
On Wednesday, Lonmin, the world’s third-biggest platinum producer raised the red flag on the increasing killings in an unusual move to restore peace after an employee was gunned down.
Tholakele Dlunga, 39, an Amcu member and health and safety chairperson at Lonmin’s Rowland shaft was killed outside his home in Wonderkop on Tuesday.
Amcu said the killings on the platinum belt were similar to killings in the hostels in KwaZulu Natal. “What is taking place on the Platinum Belt is no different to the impunity enjoyed by assassins at Glebelands Hostel in Durban, the killers of ANC councillors and other activists in KwaZulu-Natal and in Northern Pondoland. In the first instance our concern is the killings of our comrades on the Platinum Belt. Nevertheless, we cannot shy away from making the point of the dangerous environment of impunity being created in our country, which acts as an encouragement for hitmen to undertake their immoral acts and for assassins to become a growing profession and an employment opportunity,” Mathunjwa said.
"Once again for the record we demand that anyone involved in these killings, regardless of their affiliation, must be prosecuted and sent to jail," adding that the union had restrained itself in speculating on what is behind these killings.
" We don’t know," he said. However, Amcu had wondered and become increasingly convinced of a so-called third-force process being played out.
"The number of killings, the ruthlessness with which they have been carried out remind us of the days of third force violence meted out against the democratic forces by the Apartheid state," he said.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in September distanced itself from the killing of mineworkers “It does not matter to what union or association they belong. What matters most is that these killings are leaving families without a source of income. We call on law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute these killers and, in fact, the masterminds behind these killings," the union president Piet Matosa said at the time.
- BUSINESS REPORT