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Cops hunt for Marikana gunmen, tensions rise

One man was killed and another wounded in a shooting on Monday.

FILE: Striking Lonmin workers discuss a wage increase offer in Marikana, North West, on 14 September 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Police are still hunting for the gunmen involved in a shooting at Lonmin's Marikana mine, near Rustenburg in the North West.

One person was killed and another critically wounded outside the National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) offices at the mine on Monday morning.

The NUM confirmed that both men were affiliated to the union, raising tension once again at the volatile mine. Just last month an Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) official was killed in the area.

The two unions are locked in a battle for recognition at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

The NUM'S Lesiba Seshoka said they're relying on police to find the culprits involved in the shooting.

"We are disturbed by the fact that workers continue to kill each other, particularly in Rustenburg. We hope there will be an investigation which reveals what really happened."

The NUM and Amcu have been locked in a battle for control at Lonmin and other mining houses since last year.

MINISTER CALLS FOR PEACE

Speaking to bosses from the two unions on Monday, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant urged the rival organisations to sort out their differences.

The meeting seems to have made little headway in calming tensions between the NUM and Amcu. The talks took a turn for the worse when news of the shooting filtered through.

Oliphant called on both organisations to be responsible and not resort to violence to express the differences.

The South African Communist Party (SACP) Secretary General, and Higher Education minister, Blade Nzimande on Sunday condemned violence in the troubled mining industry and called for peace.

The mining sector has been hit by wildcat strikes that have claimed the lives of many workers.

Nzimande has called on the government to be more proactive in dealing with the issue.

"The vigilante killing of mine workers including many NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) members and shop stewards continues.

"For example some senior members of our committee were not here today because they're burying some of the NUM workers," said Nzimande.

Tensions between the two groups rose to new heights during a deadly protest at Lonmin's Marikana mine last August.

At least 44 people, including police officers, were killed during the unrest.