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Platinum belt incident free

No crimes were reported on the platinum belt overnight, a first since mine union rivalry.

A picture taken on 6 October 2012 shows workers standing outside the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine in Rustenburg. Picture: AFP

RUSTENBURG - Police say for the first time in months not a single criminal activity was reported on the platinum belt on Friday night, where tensions are high between rival unions at several mines.

More than 500 police officers carried out raids at the Lonmin, Amplats and Impala Platinum Mines in an attempt to rid the area of illegal weapons.

The police's Thulani Ngubane said they will continue carrying out raids with a large number of officers until stability returns.

"It was a successful operation because for the night, in the area that we've been operating in, there were no reports of any criminal activity. I can also confirm that for the first time we saw a very quiet and peaceful area."

It's understood many of the miners have gone to the Eastern Cape this weekend to attend a funeral.

A North West regional organiser of the break-away mining union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), was shot dead in Rustenburg on Saturday last week.

This was amid heightened tensions in the mining sector, with Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) planning to cut 6,000 jobs.

Police said four men approached the official at a tavern near Amplat's Khomanani shaft in Rustenburg.

It was understood he was shot four times.

The victim, who could not be named until his next-of-kin was notified, was expected to testify at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

The inquiry was established by President Jacob Zuma to investigate if police were justified in using live ammunition to disperse protesting Lonmin miners.

Thirty-four miners were shot dead and scores of others injured when police started shooting at them in August last year.

The miners were protesting for higher wages and improved working and living conditions.

Ngubane said, "We can confirm that we are investigating the murder.

"We are urging the community to come forward with any piece of information in identifying the culprits."

Earlier this year, a sangoma, who was also due to testify at the inquiry, was gunned down in his home in the Western Cape.

In April advocate Dali Mpofu was stabbed in an apparent mugging incident in East London.

Mpofu represents the miners at the commission.

The mining sector has been rocked with strike and protest action over the last year.