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Sun May 24 23:23:30 SAST 2015

Miners injured in shooting

TJ STRYDOM | 19 February, 2013 00:14
Protesters at Anglo Platinum's Jabulani Mine in Rustenburg,
Image by: DANIEL BORN

With trade unions still waiting for the outcome of a membership verification process, violence flared up at one of Anglo Platinum's mines, near Rustenburg, yesterday.

Twelve people were injured at Siphumelele mine as rival groups of workers clashed with each other and with security personnel, the company reported.

"Nine employees were injured when rubber bullets were fired by Anglo American Platinum security personnel as they were attempting to evacuate National Union of Mineworkers shop stewards who were trapped in their offices. Three security personnel sustained minor injuries during this incident," the company said.

"All 12 injured employees received medical attention for non-life-threatening injuries," Amplats said.

Rivalry between NUM and the more radical Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union has plagued the platinum industry for about a year. There have been violent clashes between members of the rival unions at Impala Platinum, Amplats and Lonmin in recent months.

Amplats did not name Amcu, referring instead to "members of the workers' committee".

The NUM had been the dominant union but has lost some support to Amcu.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa claimed last month that his was the majority union at Amplats, with as many as 26000 members.

Police spokesman Thulani Ngubane said that the violence at Siphumelele was thought to be between the NUM and Amcu members.

"They are fighting for occupancy of the union offices," Ngubane said.

Amplats announced restructuring plans last month that could affect up to 14000 employees.

Within a day of the announcement, workers had downed tools at the group's Khomanani mine. Union leaders and Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu have criticised the restructuring plan.

Amplats has since had discussions with the Department of Mineral Resources and trade unions. CEO Chris Griffith said on Friday, at parent company Anglo American's results presentation, that the talks were going well.

Siphumelele mine would not be affected by the proposed restructuring.

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