NUM: Violence in [South African] platinum belt continues unabated- by Greg Nicolson and Thapelo Lekgowa (Daily Maverick – July 30, 2013)

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary Frans Baleni expressed shock at the ongoing violence in the platinum belt and appealed to all signatories to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry to meet their commitments to ensure a stable mining industry. The union’s national executive committee (NEC) said violence and intimidation continues almost a month after mining stakeholders signed the agreement, making a “mockery” of the initiative.

“The NUM is of the view that the deputy president must urgently act in operationalising that framework as agreed by the parties,” said Baleni, speaking in the union’s offices. “We are making a call that this framework has not been operationalised. Besides that, being operationalised, crime continues to be committed in terms of intimidation [and] violence.” He said there are 14 murder cases where no suspect has been arrested and in cases where arrests have been made prosecutions are yet to begin. The NUM called on the justice department to shift cases from Rustenburg’s courts to other courts so mine-related cases can be fast-tracked.

Baleni refused to name those responsible, but the NEC statement clearly points to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). The NUM claims that of 42 suspects arrested for violence or intimidation, 78% of them are from Amcu.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa hit back, “The statement by the NUM does not need to be responded to as they are not statisticians of crime … We are not aware of any violence so if there is any it is since they know of it – they are the architects of the violence.”
He added: “[NUM] have a war room in their heads where they create all this violence they claim.” Amcu are not signatories to the mining framework as they are still consulting members.

The deputy president’s spokesperson Thabo Masebe said all stakeholders are responsible for implement the commitments outlined in the framework. “The framework can’t work on its own,” he told Daily Maverick. “The parties to the framework need to live up to the commitments they made.” Masebe urged any parties with knowledge of violence to inform the police and said anyone concerned about the progress of the framework can contact the deputy president’s office. None of the parties have tried to contact Motlanthe, as far as Masebe is aware.

SAPS North West spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane denied the police are failing to make arrests in the platinum belt and urged anyone with information on crimes to come forward rather than assign blame. “The situation is not so bad as we are in control, but the attacks are not easy to trace, like at a rally which NUM had in Wonderkop one person lost his life and yesterday a body of a man was found, allegedly an Amcu member.

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