Violence re-erupts in South Africa

A LONMIN employee has been shot dead as violence flares up again in South Africa, while Anglo American boss Mark Cutifani has welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s support for the mining industry.

Kristie Batten

Platinum producer Lonmin was hit by more strike action last month as the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) sought 60% pay hikes from gold and coal companies.

At least 44 people died last year when its Marikana mine was hit by violent strikes.

Overnight, the London-based company confirmed there had been a shooting at NUM’s offices at Wonderkop community area, resulting in the death of one Lonmin worker.

Another employee is in a critical condition.

“Lonmin is appalled and horrified at this senseless violence and we call on all stakeholders – in particular our unions - to exercise the necessary leadership and to be unequivocal in condemning murder and the use of violence,” the company said.

“Lonmin has a zero tolerance policy towards carrying weapons on our property and we have increased the visibility of security throughout the operations.”

The violence comes as Glencore Xstrata’s chrome operations were hit by industrial action.

Reuters reported on Thursday that 1500 workers at the company’s Limpopo chrome operations were on strike, bringing three mines to a standstill.

The newswire reported yesterday that the company had sacked 1000 of the workers.

The developments come as Zuma addressed the media last week stressing the importance of the mining sector and announcing that he had asked Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to lead the interactions between labour and mining companies.

“A series of interactions have taken place during the past week and these have been fruitful. The parties have appreciated the intervention and assistance from government,” he said.

Cutifani, who is also the president of the South African Chamber of Mines, applauded the news.

“We all share a common goal of achieving a stable, viable and long-term future for the mining industry,” he said.

“The President's statement clearly recognises the imperative for growth of the mining industry and the country as a whole.

“It is critical that South Africa remains competitive globally, whilst safeguarding the long-term sustainability of our businesses for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

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