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Minister wants probe into Northam Platinum murders expedited

Mosebenzi Zwane visited the mine yesterday amid rising tensions between the NUM and Amcu.

FILE: Northam Platinum's Zondereinde Mine. Picture: Northam Platinum.

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has called on investigations into the murder of two mineworkers at Northam Platinum earlier this week to be expedited.

Yesterday, Zwane met with the mine management and majority union at the operation, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Clashes broke out between members of the NUM and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Monday, during which an Amcu miner was stabbed to death.

It's believed this was triggered by the murder of an NUM member just the day before.

Zwane says he will be back at Northam Platinum next week, to check on progress.

In the meantime, operations will continue to be closed at the mine.

The minister says the priority now is to ensure the safety of workers.

Zwane says he has encouraged the mine and organised labour to continue engaging on the matter.

Meanwhile, despite the minister's assurance that the situation at Northam Platinum will be back to normal soon, some miners say they still fear for their lives.

Several mineworkers have told Eyewitness News union rivalry at the mine has made working dangerous and they hope the minister's intervention will bring about peace.

Police spokesperson Ronell Otto says they will maintain a strong presence in the area.

BOILING TENSIONS

At the same time, Amcu insists the NUM is responsible for the deadly violence at the Limpopo mine.

As Zwane tries to broker peace at Northam Platinum, Amcu says the NUM, mine management and the police are all colluding against it.

But NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu has dismissed this claim.

"We are not friends with management and we will never be friends with management; as the stakeholder, as a recognised and majority union here we will always respect management."