NUM accuses Amcu of petrol bombings

The union called on its members to defend themselves as police are failing to provide protection.

National Union of Mineworkers General Secretary Frans Baleni. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Wednesday accused rival union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) of targetting its members who report for work.

The claim follows two petrol bomb attacks on homes belonging to NUM members in the Sefikile village on Tuesday night.

About 70,000 Amcu members have been on strike on the North West platinum belt for over four months in the longest and costliest mining strike South Africa has ever seen.

Striking miners gather in Marikana, 14 May 2014. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

Several deaths and claims of intimidation have tainted the strike in recent weeks.

NUM members are not participating in the strike, though many have stayed home for safety reasons.

But some of those who continue to report for work say they fear for their lives.

NUM general secretary Frans Baleni says the latest incidents can only be blamed on Amcu's leadership.

"These elements will send some people on strike on particular days to check at a certain workplace and identify which people are on duty."

Earlier on Wednesday, the NUM released a statement which called on members to defend themselves, their families and their properties as police are doing too little to protect them.

Baleni reiterated the call, saying members simply have to look out for themselves now.

"Enough is enough. Nobody must take away our members' lives. They must decide how to defend themselves, depending on what danger is confronting them."

There is still no end in sight to the strike, with workers sticking to their basic wage demand of R12,500 a month.

The latest talks between union leaders and mining bosses stalled once again, with Amcu rejecting an offer that would bring salaries in line with demands by July 2017.

However, newly-installed Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi promised to resolve the strike by setting up an intergovernmental technical team.

"The strike has been going on for far too long. There are no winners in this game now," spokesperson Mahlodi Muofhe said.

"Workers have lost, investors have lost and vulnerable children are losing out as well."