Govt: Peacekeeping needed in Marikana

The latest tragedy brings the number of deaths in the Rustenburg mining district to 60 since August.

FILE: Miners on their way to the scene of the Lonmin shootings on 18 August 2012. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Government has called for a peacekeeping force to be deployed in the North West mining district after another miner was shot dead, sparking fears that violence could flare in Marikana again.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) shop steward was gunned down and another member was critically wounded outside the union's office at Lonmin on Monday.

The latest incident took place just a month after an official from rival union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was assassinated.

It brings to 60 the number of deaths in the Rustenburg district since August last year, including the 34 miners gunned down by police in Marikana.

Looming strikes, job cuts and negotiations for wage increases are major challenges facing the mining sector this month and government is desperately trying to ease tensions and stabilise the industry.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant urged the unions to sort out their differences at a meeting held in Johannesburg on Monday.

At the same time, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has warned that the unrest in the mining sector will have a negative impact on jobs and the economy.

Several mines have been battling unprotected strikes as workers demand better salaries.

The mining sector has been hard hit by falling output as a result of the ongoing strikes.