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Work resumes at mine following union violence

Work is to resume at Goldfield’s Beatrix mine in the Free State on Thursday following clashes between workers that saw four people die.

”Employee groups have been in discussions all day and have reached agreement to return to work and deal with the issues they’ve had in an amicable manner,” said Goldfields spokesperson Willie Jacobsz.

Work would resume at the start of the 6pm shift.

Jacobsz said discussions had been ”constructive”, there was a new spirit of cooperation and employees were safe to go back to work.

Two people were clubbed to death and died at a meeting of about 750 National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members on Tuesday night.

Jacobsz said that a farmer later found two bodies in a veld near the mine, bringing the death toll to four. They are believed to have died as a result of Tuesday night’s fight, and not from a separate incident, he said. The fight was initially linked to an internal union dispute.

NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said the union will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the dispute. He was not willing to speculate on the cause.

Free State police spokesperson Puleng Mogsoeneng said one man was arrested at the mine for interfering with the police. He appeared in court on Thursday on a charge of obstruction of justice and was released on a warning. No arrests have been made in connection with the murders, which were all committed with knobkerries.

She said the motive appears to have been a dispute between two union groups over whether to keep their old executive committee or elect a new one. — Sapa

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