Pretoria: North West Premier Thandi Modise has described the attack and torching of a worker at Amplats’ Swartklip Union Mine, allegedly by striking mineworkers at Sefikile, as a barbaric act.
The premier said intimidation of non-striking workers, violence associated with the current strike undermined the rule of law, peace and stability in the mining sector and should be stamped out before it leads to more violence and loss of lives.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the heinous deed and call on the community to assist police to bring the perpetrators to book,” Premier Modise said.
According to police, the 46-year-old man was attacked by four men at 04:30am on Thursday, while on his way to work.
Brigadier Thulane Ngubane said that two men initially stopped the worker and asked if he was going to work. Two men wearing balaclavas then arrived and pointed a firearm at him and took him to the nearby open veld and attacked him.
“They assaulted him with sticks and knobkerries. After he collapsed, assailants removed his socks and soaked them in petrol. They tied them on his belt before setting him alight,” Ngubane said.
“The man took off his burning clothes and ran naked towards the shaft. He was taken to the mine hospital and treated for second degree burns and head injuries,” Ngubane said.
The four men allegedly robbed the miner of his cell phone and left him for dead.
A case of attempted murder, pointing a firearm and robbery has been opened. No arrests had been made.
Striking platinum miners belonging to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) have been on a four-week-long wage-related strike.
Members of Amcu at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum went on strike on 23 January, demanding a R12 500 basic monthly salary for miners.
Last month, the platinum producers proposed a three-year agreement. The proposal was a 9% increase for A-level workers, 8.5% for B-level and 7.5% for C-level workers in the first year.