Miner shot dead at Wonderkop

mynerA woman miner was shot dead at a residential area in Wonderkop, near Lonmin’s Marikana mine outside Rustenburg, on Monday, North West police said.

The 44-year-old was shot in the head while returning from a shop at Wonderkop around 12.30pm, Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said.

“This is a mine residential area that is not far from Rowland Shaft and in close proximity to the National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM) and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s offices at Lonmin.”

The woman, who worked at Four Belt Shaft, was off duty at the time.

The gunman fled the scene, shooting randomly. Six 9mm cartridges were found nearby.

A case of murder was opened. The motive was not immediately known.

Ngubane could not confirm NUM’s earlier assertion that the murdered woman was a NUM shop steward.

“That is up to the union to say.”

North West police commissioner Lt-Gen Zukiswa Mbombo appealed to local residents not to speculate on the motive for the killing.

“Let us wait and we will get information from those who are investigating the case, and we will pronounce unambiguously on the motive as soon as information is available,” she said.

Earlier, NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement that the woman was a union shop steward.

” We are disappointed that amid the increasing assassinations in Marikana and the broader Rustenburg area, there has not been any progress with regard to the arrest and prosecutions of the suspects,” he said.

“While many of the suspects are known to the police, none has been arrested or prosecuted.”

Seshoka said Lonmin had instructed shop stewards to return to work even though the NUM had cautioned that it was not safe.

“The union is concerned that the company’s pre-occupation with profits and the police incompetence may lead to a serious bloodbath in Rustenburg,” Seshoka said.

Comment from Lonmin was not immediately available.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions said it was tragic that the murder happened days before the August 16 Marikana shooting anniversary.

“We see yet more evidence that violence remains endemic in the Rustenburg area,” spokeperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.

“This latest atrocity demonstrates that the framework agreement for a sustainable mining industry, signed by organised labour… organised business, and government on 3 July 2013 is simply not being effectively implemented.”

On August 16 last year, 34 miners were shot dead and 78 wounded when police fired on them while trying to disperse a group gathered on a hill near Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence.

The framework agreement was aimed at resolving issues like strikes and violence bedevilling the mining industry, especially in the Rustenburg platinum belt.