Marikana on tenterhooks, death toll rises

Tensions are high at Lonmin's Marikana mine, after a body was found in an open field on Tuesday.

A Marikana resident walks past a dead Lonmin worker on 14 August 2012. Around 3000 drill operators down tools.  Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

MARIKANA - Tensions are high at Lonmin's Marikana mine, after a dead body was found near a group of striking miners on Tuesday.

The unknown man was left in an open field a few metres away from where the crowd had regrouped after marching to the Lonmin Hospital.

He laid face down and had two deep cuts in the back of his head.

The miners distanced themselves from the body, not claiming responsibility and knowing him. Earlier in the day a group of protesting workers threatened and intimidated a number of non-striking employees, trying to coerce them into downing their tools.

It is unclear if the man was part of the thousands protesting or if he was a non-striking Lonmin employee who refused to join the labour action.

Police only arrived at the scene after journalists discovered the body. The officers spent the evening combing the area for clues as to what led to the man's death.

Violence has headlined the month-long strike in the North West, with the death toll now at 45.

The rock driller operators have vowed to continue their strike for a monthly salary of R12,500, vowing not to report for duty until their demands are met.

Miners in Gauteng this week joined the call for higher salaries, with about 15,000 miners from Gold Fields mine on the West Rand downing tools.