Marikana: death and fear still stalk platinum belt – by Theto Mahlakoana (Business Day – September 27, 2017)

The eyes of SA and the world have turned away from the platinum belt, returning there only when the Marikana massacre is commemorated every August. Yet mine workers there are being continually snuffed out.

Union leaders, fathers, sons and brothers are being gunned down by unknown assailants for reasons that may never surface. Law enforcement authorities have not paid special attention to the region to solve the crimes, despite several pleas by civil society and political formations.

In the past two weeks, the bodies of four regional leaders of the Association of Construction and Mineworkers Union (Amcu) were found riddled with bullets at the Lonmin and Impala mines.

In the most recent attack, Lonmin health and safety officer Mvelisi Biyela was gunned down outside his home in front of his wife and six-year-old daughter. People are dying and no one seems to care, say Amcu and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leaders.

Amcu unseated NUM as the majority union in the platinum belt just before the 2012 unprotected strike, which secured workers a R12,500 minimum wage but cost the lives of 44 people who were shot down by police officers.

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