Man burnt to death, another shot at Amplats
"About 400 mineworkers gathered at the informal settlement around 6am and a man was shot and wounded. He was airlifted to hospital," said Captain Dennis Adriao.
Another man was burnt to death at the informal settlement and a minibus taxi was torched.
"Forty people have been arrested for public violence," he said.
Adriao said it was difficult to say at this point who was involved but police believe it is related to the miners strike in the area.
Adriao said detectives were on the scene trying to establish what happened. "Our priority is identifying the person who was killed and the one that was injured," he said.
An initial investigation seems to indicate that the taxi was torched because it was transporting workers from hostels to the mine.
The SAPS has increased its presence in the area.
Another group of striking Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers gathered at the Bathopele Mine.
"The police and mine security dispersed that group," Adriao said.
North West Taxi Council spokesperson Bernard Afrika said taxi operations to Photsaneng, Bleskop and surrounding areas had been suspended for safety reasons.
"We have suspended operations until the police restore order and it is safe to operate. The primary task of a taxi is to transport people," he said.
Afrika said two minibus taxis were transporting people to work and other places when they were burnt.
"Not all the people in the taxis were going to the mines, some were children going to school and others were women going to clinics and other places. We cannot confirm whether they were going to the mine."
Passengers and drivers ran away when the taxis were stopped and later set alight.
"Striking mineworkers do not want people to go to work. They burnt taxis suspected of transporting people to work. This is the second incident, during the Marikana strike, [that] ... taxis were also set alight," he said.
Spokesperson for the sacked workers Gaddafhi Mdoda, condemned the violence.
"We do not know who is behind this. The violence is getting out of hand."
He said criminal elements within communities near the mines might have used the strike as a springboard to commit crime.
"We cannot afford to have more enemies, we already have enemies – the government, mine management, and the National Union of Mineworkers – we cannot afford to have our brothers and sisters as enemies," he said.
Workers went to Bathopele Mine to stop it from operating.
"We want to shut this mine down, it is the only mine operating," he said.
Bathopele was the only mine operating normally following the illegal strike on September 12. Other components of Amplats operating normally were the concentrators, smelters, and refineries.
Workers at Amplats went on an illegal strike on September 12, demanding a monthly salary of R16 000 and allowances.
The company fired 12 000 workers after they failed to appear in disciplinary hearings.
Despite the dismissal, workers have vowed not to appeal and still regard themselves as Amplats workers.
On Wednesday, they marched to the NUM offices in Rustenburg to de-register their membership with the union. – Sapa