NW premier condemns petrol bombing incident in platinum belt

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo on Thursday called on communities in the platinum belt to exercise restraint after two houses were allegedly petrol bombed.

“Acts of violence and intimidation targeted at non-striking workers and destruction of private and public properties call for parties involved in the wage dispute to bring the protracted strike to an end,” he said in a statement. 

He condemned the incident. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said two houses belonging to their members were petrol bombed in Sefikile on Tuesday night. North West police spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday morning. 

Meanwhile, Mahumapelo welcomed the establishment of a mediation panel set up by Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi to bring an end to the four-month strike. The team, announced this week, is made up of officials from the departments of mineral resources, labour and the treasury, who would be supported by representatives from the mining companies and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu). 

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500. They rejected an offer by the companies that would bring their pay to R12 500 by 2017.

‘Members are being attacked’
“We are extremely worried because our members are being attacked and their houses petrol bombed. The police are not doing anything to protect our members who are going to work,” said Steve Modimokwane, NUM branch chairperson at the Union mine of Anglo American Platinum Amplats. 

He said the houses belongingd to NUM members were petrol bombed on Tuesday night. “We do not know whose house will be petrol bombed tonight.” Modimokwane said another union member was attacked on Tuesday morning and managed to escape with minor injuries. NUM’s national executive committee has called on all its members to exercise their right to go to work and most importantly to exercise their right to defend themselves against any form of violence or intimidation. 

“The NEC [national executive committee] calls on them to defend their families, their lives and property.”  – Sapa

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