One NUM member killed, four others injured
A National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) member was shot dead and four others injured at the Sibanye-Stillwater Beatrix mine in Welkom, Free State, on Wednesday night.
NUM claims their members were attacked “for no apparent reason” in a bus on their way to work by members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).
“Those attackers started by closing the security gates, throwing stones at the bus that was transporting workers to work,” NUM Beatrix branch secretary Xolisa Nqwiliso said.
“Unfortunately, one of our members was shot and killed and others sustained serious injuries.”
Nqwiliso condemned the attack by “hooligans masquerading as workers”.
Amcu general secretary Jeff Mphahlele said during a media briefing on Thursday afternoon in Rosebank, Johannesburg, they were still gathering information about the incident.
“As of now, we cannot confirm that there was a NUM member that was killed.”
Mphahlele confirmed the death but could not say if it was a NUM or Amcu member.
“There has been no clarity as of now.”
Mphahlele also claimed Beatrix Mine security had attacked their members and fired rubber bullets at them during their all-night picket.
“The police were called in to intervene to calm the situation but at their arrival, they could not help, instead they also, together with the mine security, shot at our members with rubber bullets and chased them until they ran to the open field for safety.”
Mphahlele said one of their members had been stabbed inside the Beatrix Mine hostel on Wednesday night.
“These reports of attack and intimidation towards our members are regarded as aimed at declaring our strike violent which subsequently would give Sibanye Stillwater an ammunition to run to labour court and interdict the strike,” Mphahlele said.
“We call on our members to remain calm and refuse to be drawn into violence. The course they have endured to take is more critical and necessary for their future and the future of their loved ones.”
Sibanye-Stillwater signed a three-year wage agreement with NUM, Solidarity and trade union UASA recently.
Amcu embarked on a strike demanding a minimum wage of R12,500 with an increase of R1,000 over three years.
Sibanye Stillwater spokesperson James Wellsted said the attacks were “very concerning”.
“There have been a number of violent incidents across our operations. We have quite a few injured people.”
He added: “There have been a lot of clashes across our operation and with our security staff. There have been high levels of intimidation.”
Wellsted said they were trying to get an interdict preventing the trade unions from engaging in any intimidation or violence.