Tuesday 13 August 2013

Union official assassinated at Lonmin's Marikana Platinum Mine.

A fifty-three year old woman, identified as a shop steward from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), was shot outside her home, close to the Lonmin operated Marikana Platinum Mine, at around 10.30 am local time (around 8.30 am GMT) on Monday 12 August 2013. The identity of the Assassins is unknown, but it is thought likely that the shooting is connected to an ongoing rivalry between the NUM and rival union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which has resulted in a number of such incidents.

South African Police at the scene of Monday's shooting. AFP/Getty Images.

The NUM is closely associated with the ruling ANC, and was heavily involved in the struggle against apartheid. However since the ANC came to power it has been accused of becoming to close to the mining companies, who the ANC need to remain on good terms with. The newer AMCU claim that workers in the mining industry are receiving considerably lower wages than they ought to be able to expect, and have organized a string of strikes across the sector, brining a number of mining companies to the negotiating table, but also resulting in some violent clashes with the police and members of other political organizations. In August 2012 police opened fire on AMCU workers at a rally at the Marikana Mine, killing at least 34 people, the worst single outbreak of violence in South Africa since the end of the Apartheid system.

The approximate location of the Marikana Platinum Mine. Google Maps.

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