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Cosatu condemns Lonmin shooting

Picture: Boxer Ngwenya.

Picture: Boxer Ngwenya.

Published Jun 3, 2013


Johannesburg - Cosatu condemned the killing of a National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) shop steward at Lonmin's Western Platinum mine on Monday.

“Cosatu sends its deepest condolences to his family, friends and fellow workers, and demands that those responsible be arrested and brought to justice without delay,” Congress of SA Trade Unions spokesman Patrick Craven said.

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North West police spokesman Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said a man was shot and later died, and another was wounded at the Wonderkop hostel on Monday morning. Both were shop stewards, said the NUM, which is a Cosatu affiliate.

Cosatu said at least 60 people had died in the course of disputes at Lonmin and Impala Platinum in the past year, and it was concerned about the lawlessness in the area.

“No one is being arrested, and not a single person has been convicted for any of these murders,” said Craven.

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Cosatu called on workers and local residents to remain calm and prevent a new cycle of violence and death.

“We condemn violence, warlordism and intimidation from any quarter, and strongly support the principle of freedom of association, especially for the working class. Membership of any union or any party should never cost a life.”

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said: “These people were just attacked and killed at the NUM office at Western Platinum. We don't know what is the motive, but we can easily suspect.”

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He said there was recently a strike at the mine to demand that the offices the NUM occupied be closed.

The NUM took the matter to the labour court and was told it could remain in the offices until July 16.

“And now this is what is happening,” he said.

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The union had sent a team to investigate, but would leave the police to do its work.

To his knowledge there was no work stoppage “so far”.

Seshoka did not want to release the names of the two victims.

Lonmin called for calm after the shooting.

“Lonmin is appalled and horrified at this senseless violence, and we call on all stakeholders, in particular our unions, to exercise the necessary leadership and to be unequivocal in condemning murder and the use of violence,” it said in a statement.

Lonmin said it put the safety of its employees and their families first, and it would not tolerate the carrying of weapons on its property. It had increased security at its operations.

“We want to remind all our stakeholders that we have all made a commitment through the signing of the framework for peace and stability to find a solution in a peaceful manner for the sake of all.”

It called on employees and residents to report intimidation or violence.

Support for the NUM's rival, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), has reached 70 percent of Lonmin's workforce.

The majority union had the right to have offices at the mine. Lonmin said it had intended closing some NUM offices, but in terms of the labour court order, the union had until July 16 to regain support, become the majority union, and retain the offices.

On May 11, Amcu North West regional organiser Mawethu Steven was shot dead at a tavern in Photsaneng, in the informal settlement of Nkaneng.

In August 34 people died in a clash with police at Marikana during a strike.

In the preceding days, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed. - Sapa

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