Amcu disappointed at NUM boycott

NUM says the explosive tension with Amcu is why its members will not attend the memorial.

Amcu members march during one year anniversary at Lonmin's Marikana mine where 34 striking platinum workers were shot dead by police on 16 August 2012. Picture: Gia Nocolaides/EWN

MARIKANA - Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) President Joseph Mathunjwa says it's disappointing that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will not be attending today's proceedings in Marikana.

The NUM boycotted the commemoration event saying it was organised deliberately to marginalise them.

Mathunjwa invited the NUM to join him on stage to spread a message of peace, but said he was disappointed they were not coming.

"What disappoints me is that they [the NUM] are the very people who signed the framework. This was an opportunity to demonstrate that peace."

The NUM's Frans Baleni said the simmering tension is why they have decided to boycott today's memorial.

"We have so far lost 21 people. So, one of our main concerns was safety. Amcu members are openly singing songs in which they ask, "How can we kill the NUM? How can we kill their leaders?". In such an environment, it will be an ambush where we will be killed."

It appears tensions between the rival unions is still rife and may create more conflict in the area, which is already volatile.

It has been exactly one year since 34 mineworkers were killed at Lonmin's Platinum Mine in Marikana at the hands of police during a violent unprotected strike.

Ten people, including police officers, were killed in unrest leading up to the shootings.

Thousands have gathered to pay tribute at the commemoration ceremony to mark the anniversary of the deaths.

Before the shooting last year, Mathunjwa had pleaded with miners to hand over their weapons and disperse.


The NUM and Amcu say many of its members have been intimidated and killed in the troubled platinum belt.

Police in the North West have been carrying out several raids in townships surrounding the mines since last year's shooting.

Dozens of people have since been arrested.

The police's Thulani Ngubane says they are only investigating 15 cases, not all of which are related to mining.

"These are some of those sporadic cases. Some are related to issues between mineworkers, but some are criminal cases."

But both unions are disputing the figure saying the number of people killed was much higher.

Click here for a visual journey of the Marikana story.