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Marikana miners on illegal strike

13 shafts have been shutdown at Lonmin's Marikana mine following a wildcat strike.

Lonmin miners take part in an illegal strike on 14 May 2013. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Lonmin's Marikana mine on Tuesday said workers at 13 of its shafts in the North West embarked on an unprotected and illegal strike.

Employees arrived at work earlier, but refused to go underground.

It is understood they are angry over the murder of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) regional chairperson Mawethu Stevens who was gunned down on Saturday at a local tavern.

Just hours later, a gang shot dead twin brothers Andile and Ayanda Shezi at their home after they refused to divulge the whereabouts of Stevens.

Lonmin spokesperson Sue Vey said, "Lonmin operations at Marikana were suspended this morning due to illegal work stoppage. A total of 13 shafts are not operating. Employees arrived at work but did not go underground."

The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said Amcu called the strike.

"There was a decision taken by Amcu over the weekend that because one of their leaders has died and decided to go on strike and prevent anybody from going to work."

But Amcu denied calling on their members to embark on the strike.

Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa said representatives were meeting with management.

"As far as I'm concerned there's no strike that has been called by Amcu."

WITNESSES MURDERED

Stevens was due to testify at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry which is investigating the August shooting at Lonmin's Marikana mine in which 34 protesters were killed.

In 2012, a Num official was killed before he could testify at the inquiry.

In March, a sangoma who reportedly supplied the miners with muti during the strike was gunned down outside his home in the Eastern Cape.

In April, advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing the miners at the commission was stabbed in East London.

He was discharged from hospital after receiving further treatment for stab wounds to his chest.

Mpofu maintains the attack had nothing to do with his work at the commission.

The inquiry was set up by President Jacob Zuma after 34 miners were killed during illegal protests at the mine.