JOHANNESBURG (TIP): Striking miners killed one man by setting him on fire on Thursday while another was shot and seriously wounded in rekindled labor unrest in South Africa that saw police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.
The violence near an Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine has escalated since the company dismissed 12,000 striking miners on Friday. North West police spokesman Brig Thulani Ngubane said at least one person “is fighting for his life” in the hospital after being shot.
It was unclear if the victim was a miner or whether the bullet had been fired by police. Another person died of his wounds after being set alight by striking workers, Ngubane said.
“The situation remains tense,” Ngubane said. Gaddafi Mdoda, one of the leaders of the striking Amplats mineworkers, described the confrontation on Thursday morning between police and some of the fired miners as brief. The mineworkers have vowed to make the mines ungovernable and to make it impossible for the world’s top platinum producer to hire new workers if their wage demands are not met.Evans Ramokga, another strike leader, said last week that the company would hire new workers only “over our dead bodies.” Police apparently were responding to the miners’ attempt to stop operations at Amplats’ Bathopele mine according to the South African Press Association, which reported that two taxis were set on fire.