Fears of more violence at Marikana

Police are hunting for the gunman who shot and killed an NUM shop steward on Monday.

Marikana miners. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Police are still hunting for those responsible for the latest murder at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

This amid growing fears of further violence in the week which marks the one year anniversary of the Marikana shooting.

A female shop steward affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers was gunned down on Monday.

It is still unclear who is responsible for the murder or how a firearm was brought onto the premises without being detected by security.

The so-called turf war between the NUM and rival union Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) still appears to be present a year later with members from each union being killed every few months since last August.

Lonmin's Sue Vey says they are calling for calm.

"As Lonmin we condemn the ongoing violence and call for peace and stability."

MURDER RELATED TO UNION RIVALRY

The NUM says it believes that a female shop steward was gunned down for recruiting members at the volatile Marikana platinum mine.

While police are still searching for those responsible, The NUM's Lesiba Seshoka said the woman was targeted in a union related incident.

"This woman was part of a NUM mobilisation team that went to Marikana seven weeks ago to mobilise workers back to the NUM. So clearly she's been targeted."

Speaking to Talk Radio 702's John Robbie on Tuesday morning, the NUM's General Secretary Frans Baleni said the union will wait for the outcome of the police investigation.

"It's difficult to exclude all possibilities at this stage so we will wait for the police investigation. What we know is that the lady was part of our recruitment team who were subjected to intimidation during the recruitment process."

Seshoka said police must act swiftly and find the woman's killer because in the past year, there haven't been any arrests for the sporadic murders in the area.

Baleni said the union is angry that no one has been arrested since the spate of murders began.

"We are extremely angry that no arrests have been made. Criminals are out there and continue to murder and kill innocent workers."

However, Baleni said the NUM has received an indication that the suspects are known.

"We are told the suspect in the latest murder is the same as in the other murders. The police, the justice system and the Marikana Commission have failed us."

Meanwhile, also speaking to John Robbie, rival union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu)'s President Joseph Mathunjwa said the murder was the work of criminals.

"I wouldn't say that this is tension between Amcu and the NUM. The emphasis should be on criminality. I think the police should step their game up. How can people be killed in cold blood without anyone being arrested?"

Mathunjwa said the murder is not acceptable and conveyed his condolences to the woman's friends, the community and the NUM.

"We condemn this in the strongest terms."

Both sides said they wouldn't promote violence.

The platinum belt has been marred by violence in recent months. There has been an intense rivalry between the NUM and Amcu since last year, chiefly over majority recognition at Lonmin mines.

The NUM used to be the majority union at Lonmin, but Amcu now represents about 70 percent of the employees.

The murder comes just days before the one year anniversary of the Marikana shooting is commemorated.

The mining company is holding a minute of silence each day this week to commemorate their colleagues who were killed during the violence.

ONE YEAR LATER

Marikana came into the spotlight last year after 34 miners were shot dead and 78 were wounded when police opened fire on striking miners.

The week before, during the build-up to the violence, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence.

Monday marked exactly one year since South Africans heard about two Lonmin security guards who had been killed and set alight by striking miners.