Tuesday 3 April 2018

Mineworkers killed in arson attack in Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Six mineworkers have died and another 44 have been injured in an attack on a bus near Burgersfort in Limpopo Province, South Africa, on Tuesday 3 April 2018. The workers were on their way to the Modikwa Platinum Mine, a joint operation of African Rainbow Minerals and Anglo American Platinum, when the bus was hit by a petrol bomb thrown by an unknown assailant. The  South African Police Service believe that the incident is related to an ongoing dispute between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which is recognised at the mine, and the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), a dispute that has resulted in a number of violent incidents over the past few years. 

The bodies of six mineworkers killed in an arson attack near Burgersford in Limpopo Province, South Africa on 3 April 2018. South African Police Service.

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 organised a string of strikes across the sector, bringing a number of mining companies to the negotiating table, but also resulting in some violent clashes with the police and members of other political organisations. In August 2012 police opened fire on AMCU workers at a rally at the Marikana Platinum Mine in North West Province, killing at least 34 people, the worst single outbreak of violence in South Africa since the end of the Apartheid system.

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