Expatica news

Second death at strike-hit S.African platinum mine

A miner was killed in clashes with police at the strike-hit Impala Platinum mine in South Africa, the second death since violence broke out last week, police said on Monday.

“One miner was found dead with live ammunition in his body, and another was injured with live ammunition,” police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane told Sapa news agency.

Seven other people were injured in overnight violence at the world’s largest platinum mine, outside the northwestern town of Rustenburg, where violent protests broke out on Thursday, he said.

“Police fought them as they intended to burn the shaft down,” said Ngubane.

Production at Impala, the world’s number two platinum producer, has been hobbled since January 20, when some workers began a strike that was declared illegal by a court.

That allowed the company to sack workers who did not return to the job, with more than 17,000 people fired.

One week ago, Implats agreed to re-hire workers, but the deal failed to address the root cause of the strike — discontent that some categories of workers had been awarded bonuses while others were left out.

Workers are also angry at losing benefits during the firing and re-hiring process, which affected their seniority and other perks.

Last week a worker died after being severely beaten and stripped naked near the mine.

Impala, the world’s second-largest platinum producer, blames the unrest on feuding among rival unions.

The labour dispute has delayed production of 3,000 ounces of platinum a day. As of February 14, Impala said the strike had delayed a total of 60,000 ounces, with lost earnings at 1.2 billion rand ($152 million, 120 million euros).