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Home News Ex-union activist killed on restive S.African mining belt

Ex-union activist killed on restive S.African mining belt

Published on 06/11/2013

A former union activist at a Lonmin mine in Marikana has died of gunshot wounds in the latest violence to hit South Africa's volatile platinum belt, union officials said Wednesday.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said Percy Letanang, 45, “was shot seven times near his home on Sunday by unknown gunmen” and rushed to hospital. He died on Tuesday.

He is the fourth person linked to NUM to be killed in the area over the past three months, the union said.

No arrests have been made and the motive of the killing is unclear.

But the north-western platinum belt has been the scene of a deadly battle for supremacy between rival unions.

The ruling ANC-allied NUM was muscled out as the recognised union at platinum giant Lonmin in July by the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

After the union lost its seat at the table, Letanang and fellow activists took voluntary severance packages “fearing for their safety.”

The ruling ANC allied union federation COSATU — of which NUM is an affiliate — said it was “outraged by the continuation of what are clearly deliberate assassinations of NUM members in the area.”

A NUM branch chairman was last month gunned down with around eight bullets after his vehicle came under fire from four shooters.

It was also in Marikana that police opened fire on a crowd of striking miners on August 16 last year killing 34 people in what was seen as the worst case of police violence since the end of white minority apartheid rule in 1994.