Nine dead in clashes between black unions at Lonmin mine

The situation at the Lonmin’s Marikana mine in the North West was stable on Tuesday morning following the deaths of nine people, police said.

Captain Dennis Adriao said police had been monitoring the situation at the mine where violence had erupted from Friday.

“At this stage no other incidents were reported throughout Monday night.”

Nine people — two police officers, two security guards, three protesters and two other men — had been killed by 8.30pm on Monday.

The deaths were linked to violence apparently triggered by union rivalry.

Adriao said the two police officers were killed on Monday afternoon and three protesters were shot dead.

One other police officer was critically injured, he said.

About 3000 Lonmin rock drill operators started an illegal work stoppage and protest march on Friday.

Earlier, officials from the platinum mine announced that the body of a man was found on the premises. He had been shot dead.

Adriao said the man’s death was believed to be linked to the violence.

Another man died in hospital on Sunday after being hacked with a panga as he left the mine after the evening shift.

On Saturday, two security guards were killed when the car they were travelling in was set alight.

Scores of other people have been injured in the violent unrest in the last four days. Police also reported that eight vehicles were torched on the mine property on Sunday.

Violence at the Lonmin Marikana mine has been linked to clashes between members of the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which are reportedly fighting for control of local mines.

Lonmin has called for an end to the violence.

“Whilst our first thoughts must be with the families of those killed and injured in these criminal clashes, our operational priority is to see the violence stop,” says Lonmin CEO, Ian Farmer.

Num has condemned the violence and has called for immediate action from the police.

“[We are] alarmed at that the escalating violence has been allowed to continue unabated by the law enforcement agencies in that area in North West Province,” said Num general secretary Frans Baleni.

“We call for the deployment of a special task force or the SANDF to deal decisively with the criminal elements in Rustenburg and its surrounding mine.”

Baleni dismissed statements that it was a rivalry attack and said the Num was a victim of Amcu. By Monday afternoon, police had made no arrests.

In February, the two unions also clashed over membership at Impala Platinum’s mines in Rustenburg. – Sapa