Marikana - The Marikana community in North West is living in fear after two leaders linked to alleged union corruption were assassinated.
Zingisa Mzendana, 30, who was among 28 people that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) recently fired, was gunned down on Thursday morning at a car-wash, a day after the Marikana Massacre commemoration at Wonderkop Koppie.
Mzendana was Amcu’s 4 Shaft branch secretary and Lonmin’s engineering assistant before the union expelled him and 27 others last month, for bringing the union into disrepute. This was after they exposed alleged corruption committed by Amcu’s shop steward Malibongwe Mdazo, who was killed in Mooinooi two weeks ago.
Mzendana had uncovered the alleged corruption by illegally gaining access to Mdazo’s work e-mails at Lonmin, where they were employed. The company fired him in June and he allegedly rejoined NUM (National Union of Mineworkers).
North West police have made no breakthrough in Mzendana’s murder probe. “The victim was allegedly shot by a male whose identity is still unknown. At this stage, no one has been arrested,” police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said yesterday.
He did not have the details of Mdazo’s slaying.
The expulsions and the killings have created uneasiness, fear and divisions among Amcu members in Marikana, with many refusing to speak out, fearing victimisation.
There were even fears before the commemorations that the expelled group would disrupt the events.
The day before, Amcu’s Rustenburg region co-ordinator Patrick Moepadira, warned organisers not to be influenced by outsiders.
Amcu has been the majority union in Marikana since 2012, when it took over from the NUM days before the deadly Platinum belt wage strike. It gained prominence after its president Joseph Mathunjwa entered the negotiations.
People who spoke to The Star anonymously said the tensions were tearing Amcu apart, leaving an opening for Numsa (National Union of Metalworkers of SA), whose pamphlets were circulated in the community recently.
One of the expelled members, who did not want to be named, said he decided to resign from his job at Lonmin and all union activities out of fear for his life and that of his family.
“Amcu is now divided between people opposing corruption, who were also behind Mzendana and those at head office who supported Mdazo.
“This has created a splinter group. Amcu’s leadership is aware of this, but they seem to have chosen Mdazo’s side in the matter. Mathunjwa is only good at mobilising and not at problem-solving.“The situation is getting volatile in Marikana and politics here comes with the spilling of blood. Most of us resigned from our jobs, because we don’t feel safe.”
Another mineworker and Amcu member said the union needed a leadership change, for unity to prevail. “We’ve lost the unity we once had. We are not free to talk about these things and our national leadership does not want to listen to us.
“It’s been five years, the leadership has not changed and we don’t know why,” said the member.
Amcu’s Rustenburg region chairperson Jack Khoba dismissed any allegations of unhappiness among Amcu members in Marikana.