Business Maverick

Business Maverick Newsflash

NUM member shot dead in Marikana as Platinum Belt tensions heat up

Mine workers strike on 14 May 2013. (PHOTO: EPA/STR)

Kaizer Lungisa Madiba, a member of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Sibanye-Stillwater employee, was shot and killed on Friday morning in Marikana, by unknown assailants, NUM has confirmed. This suggests tensions are rising again on the Platinum Belt.

This story has been updated to add more detail.

Madiba and a colleague had called Business Maverick correspondents last week raising concerns about the situation around Marikana. According to NUM and colleagues of his who spoke to Business Maverick, the Rowland Shaft employee was shot dead just before 6am while on his way to work.

NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu told Business Maverick that the union was “shocked but not surprised” at the killing as it was planning to hold a national rally in Marikana on 17 November. Sibanye confirmed that one of its employees had been murdered.

The killing is sure to raise speculation that it is the latest violent incident in the on-going platinum belt turf war between Amcu and NUM which erupted in 2012.

In a statement issued at noon, NUM said the 17 November rally “is jointly organised by Cosatu and NUM. The aim of organising the rally in Marikana is to try and resuscitate the NUM in the platinum belt. Since the start of the rampant killings of our members there in 2012, we have never held a national rally in the area. Our members have long been calling for such a rally but due to logistics, we have been unable to hold it. Cosatu affiliates from the surrounding areas will be in full attendance. We are expecting between 15,000 and 20,000 members to attend”.

Cosatu, NUM’s umbrella union body, is of course allied with the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Amcu president and founder Joseph Mathunjwa launched the union over two decades ago after a fallout with then NUM boss Gwede Mantashe, who is now the minister in charge of mines and energy. Amcu regards the ANC and its allies as sell-outs to capital.

All of this is unfolding as platinum wage talks rumble on and is a gauntlet that NUM is throwing down in a region that has been dominated by Amcu since its explosive rise in the platinum shafts in 2012. Amcu regards Marikana as sacred ground as it was its members who were gunned down by police there in August 2012 during a violent wildcat strike. Both unions over the years have had members in the area murdered.

Tensions look set to rise before they settle down again. BM

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