Second man killed in Rustenburg during violent Amplats strike
Police say a second man has died during violent protests by striking miners at the Nkaneng informal settlement in Photsaneng near Rustenburg.
"He sustained two bullet wounds and succumbed to his injury in hospital," said Captain Dennis Adriao.
"About 400 mineworkers gathered at the informal settlement around 6am and the man was shot and wounded. He was airlifted to hospital."
Adriao said a group of striking Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers were apparently behind the shooting.
A man was burnt to death on Thursday morning at the informal settlement and a minibus taxi and a car were torched.
"Forty people have been arrested for public violence," he said.
A group of striking workers gathered at the Bathopele Mine. "The police and mine security dispersed that group," Adriao said.
North West police spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane advised motorists to avoid the Marikana road past Bleskop stadium in Nkaneng because it was barricaded with stones.
"The situation is still unstable," he said.
Taxi operations suspended
North West Taxi Council spokesperson Bernard Afrika said taxi operations in Photsaneng, Bleskop and the 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, [when] ... taxis were also set alight," he said.
'Violence getting out of hand'
The sacked workers' spokesperson, 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 be using the strike to commit crime.
"We cannot afford to have more enemies. We already have enemies – the government, mine management, and the National Union of Mineworkers [NUM] – we cannot afford to have our brothers and sisters as enemies," he said.
Workers went to the 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 as usual 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 dismissals, workers have vowed not to appeal and still regard themselves as Amplats workers.
On Wednesday, they marched to the NUM's offices in Rustenburg to de-register their membership with the union. – Sapa