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Modise calls for calm in mining sector

North West Premier Thandi Modise has called for stakeholders in the mining sector to denounce violence and intimidation after the killing of a NUM shop steward in Rustenburg. File photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

North West Premier Thandi Modise has called for stakeholders in the mining sector to denounce violence and intimidation after the killing of a NUM shop steward in Rustenburg. File photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Published Jun 4, 2013

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Johannesburg - North West Premier Thandi Modise called for peace after the killing of a National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) shop steward at Lonmin's Western Platinum mine on Monday.

“We condemn in the strongest terms possible the violence that has claimed the life of a NUM shop steward and left another injured after a shooting incident at Wonderkop hostel,” Modise said in a statement.

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“There is no place for strong-arm tactics and the use of violence in our labour relations regime that allows freedom of association.”

North West police spokesman Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said that a man was shot and later died, and another was wounded at the Wonderkop hostel on Monday morning.

Both were shop stewards, according to the NUM, which is an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Modise called on workers to remain calm and help police in their investigations into the recent spate of violence.

She also appealed to NUM and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) to denounce violence and commit themselves to peaceful co-existence at Lonmin and other mines around Rustenburg.

“Those stoking the violence have lost sight of the need for workers to act in unison to address the challenges facing the mining sector.

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“Acts of intolerance and violence can only serve to weaken them when taking up genuine issues against their employers,” Modise said.

Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said on Monday that at least 60 people had died in the course of disputes at Lonmin and Impala Platinum in the past year. Cosatu was concerned about lawlessness in the area.

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.

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.

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

Support for the NUM's rival, 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. - Sapa

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