Thursday, November 22, 2018

One Dead as Gold Mine Strike in South Africa Turns Violent
22 NOV, 2018 - 15:11

Sibanye-Stillwater is South Africa's largest gold producer, operating three mines -- all of which were shuttered by the strike. - AFP

JOHANNESBURG. – South Africa’s largest gold producer, Sibanye-Stillwater, on Thursday said one of its employees was shot dead in a violent strike that shuttered all three of its mines.

Called by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the strike began late on Wednesday, shutting down all of Sibanye’s mines which employ some 32,000 people, in the latest test for the country’s struggling mining sector.

“There has been quite a lot of violence and intimidation. It is a charged environment and emotions are (running) high,” Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted told AFP.

“One of our employees was killed during the night. There have been a number of other injuries, including workers in hospital with gunshot wounds and stab wounds.”

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said the dead man, who was a union member, was attacked on a bus taking workers to the Beatrix mine in Welkom, Free State province.

“Attackers started by closing the security gates, throwing stones at the bus,” an NUM statement said.

“One of our members was shot and killed and others sustained serious injuries.”

South Africa has a history of mining strikes, with the 2014-15 labour dispute in the platinum sector causing severe damage to the industry.

“Our members are prepared to (strike) in order to achieve a living wage in this sector,” AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa told local media.

The South African Minerals Council, which represents mine owners, estimates profitable gold reserves could be exhausted as soon as 2033.


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