MAC/20: Mines and Communities

South Africa - the shooting of two AMCU workers

Published by MAC on 2017-09-20
Source: AMCU, Reuters, Masa Kekana,

Lonmin may have mining licence withdrawn due to failures on social planning


More than five years after the police massacre of miners at Marikana in South Africa, an AMCU worker at the Implats mine has been shot dead, and a shop steward at Lonmin has been severely injured.

In a passionate statement, the AMCU president declares:

"Those that think AMCU can be defeated by these cowardly acts must think again...An injury to one is an injury to all"

See also: South Africa Peoples mining charter

Meanwhile, Lonmin has reportedly breached its undertakings to introduce a social plan for workers, and the government may withdraw its mining licence  should the UK company not comply with the ruling (see third article below).

Outrage and grief at the killing of Mohahu Daniel Maseko

Statement by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union

19 September 2017

It is with absolute outrage and grief that we mark the killing of one of
our members from Impala Platinum and the shooting of another AMCU
shop-steward at Lonmin. Today, comrade, Mohahu Daniel Maseko was shot
dead, riddled with 5 bullets and comrade Kwenene was attacked by two (2)
assassins, one with a shot gun and another with a pistol; he has been
rushed to hospital. Our prayers are with him as he battles for his life.
Our grief is with the family and loved ones of comrade Maseko. We send
our heartfelt condolences.

The painful journey begins to go to the mortuary identify our dead
comrade, inform family and loved ones, prepare for the funeral. These
acts of violence have to be condemned by all, not just the union
leadership of which they belong.

The workers movement must unite against this campaign of violence which
will eventually see the death of the entire labour movement. We must
fight for peace amongst workers, regardless of language, colour,
political or union affiliation. As AMCU we will not rest until this
campaign of violence is defeated.

We again do not wish to speculate on the motive for the attempted murder
of our comrade. The SAPS [police] must investigate and bring the perpetrators to
book. However, the world must know things are getting out of control. It
seems to us that something more sinister is afoot.

This looks very much like the third force violence the Apartheid state
unleashed on the democratic and workers movement during the negotiations
for a political settlement.

We know through the testimony and settlement by the state with Thebe
Maswabi, of the security forces involvement in destabilizing AMCU.
Having failed to set up a rival union, having failed at reviving NUM and
restoring their majority status - is targeting and killing our members
their next move?

Is the aim to turn workers on workers - a new form of black-on-black
violence to break the militancy of AMCU. We shall not be intimidated. We
will unite mineworkers and mobilize in mass action to stop the killings
and the violence.

Those that think AMCU can be defeated by these cowardly acts must think
again. If it takes another five months strike, if it takes the bringing
of the country to its knees to get the authorities to arrest the
situation and for mine management to take the safety of the workers
seriously - so be it. Those behind these acts are playing with fire. Be
assured AMCU will not fold its arms in the face of this systematic
onslaught against us.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

Yours in Social Justice

JV Mathunjwa
AMCU President

Amcu treasurer shot dead near Implats mine in Rustenburg

He was 'gunned down in cold blood' as he left the mine to get food, Amcu organisation said in a statement.

Reuters & Masa Kekana

13 September 2017

JOHANNESBURG - A senior union official was shot dead outside an Impala Platinum (Implats) mine on Tuesday in South Africa’s Rustenburg area, the focus of a surge of violence that has unnerved investors.

The branch treasurer with the powerful Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was “gunned down in cold blood” as he left the mine, 100 km west of Johannesburg, to get food, his organisation said in a statement.

It did not give details on any motives for the attack, which was confirmed by Implats. Police were not immediately available for comment.

Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa said: “He parked his car and went to get food around the area and was approached by a man, described by security as wearing a work jacket, and subsequent nine cartridges were stamped in his body. And he died.”

Labour and social strife in South Africa’s platinum belt, the source of more than 70% of known reserves of the precious metal, has piled pressure on an industry already hit by depressed prices.

Rustenburg has seen periodic spasms of labour violence including shootings since Amcu dislodged the once dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as the main union in the sector five years ago.

Mathunjwa told Reuters there had been other attacks in the Rustenburg area.

“A month ago, a branch leader at Lonmin had an attempt on his life as well,” Mathunjwa said. Another Amcu member at Lonmin, who had been dismissed but was appealing the decision, was shot dead shortly after, he added.

Mathunjwa said he would not speculate on the motives behind the incidents.

Lonmin spokeswoman Wendy Tlou confirmed that an Amcu member at the mine had recently been shot and was now recovering out of hospital while another who was no longer an employee had been shot and killed.

 Lonmin is said to breach social plan needed for mining license

18 September 2017

Lonmin has been given a deadline by South African authorities to fix non-compliant parts of its social labour plan (SLP) or risk having its mining right suspended, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) issued a so-called Section 93 notice to the platinum miner relating to shortcomings in Lonmin’s commitment to local development programs, community education and procurement, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the notice hasn’t been made public.

“We have received correspondence from the DMR that highlights areas that have been identified as non compliant and/or are behind schedule of implementation in our current SLP,” Lonmin said in a statement. The company will provide evidence of compliance in some areas and is requesting time extensions in other areas, it said.

“We are further engaging the DMR to ensure that community intervention programs proposed are sustainable and in line with the municipal and provincial priorities for economic development.”

The suspension or revoking of mining licenses under Section 93 of South Africa’s mining law, while possible, is a “worst-case scenario,” according to law firm Hogan Lovells. As in the case of Lonmin, companies found to be in breach are first given time to comply.

Social labor plans are required by the government to make sure host communities benefit from mining beyond employment and taxes. But they frequently have little input from community members and are rarely enforced, according to a report in March by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies.

“SLPs are not assisting in overcoming systemic inequality,” it said. “A fundamentally changed system is therefore required,” including a greater say for communities, a right for them to reject mining on their land and better communication with local authorities.



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