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South Africa union official held for attempted murder

Published on 25/02/2014

South African police on Tuesday arrested two men, including one union official, in connection with a brutal attempted murder linked to the country's rolling platinum strike.

Police in the northwestern mining town of Rustenburg said the men were believed to be involved in the lynching of a non-striking mineworker who was attacked on February 3, on his way to work.

The militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union confirmed that one of the suspects was a shop steward for the union.

The 51-year-old victim was offered a lift by two men who later delivered him to a group of picketing workers near a dump site, where he was stripped naked and pelted with stones.

“It is alleged that the victim sustained serious injuries and even lost two right hand fingers due to the incident,” police said in a statement.

Police had been searching for the two occupants of the car involved in the accident.

They will appear in court on Wednesday on charges of attempted murder.

Workers belonging to the AMCU union have been on strike since January 23, demanding a minimum wage of around $1,125.

The strike has hit production at the world’s top three producers, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

Last week, Amplats sought a court order against the intimidation of non-striking workers, following cases of violence.

The firm also wanted the union bosses to be jailed for alleged breach of picketing rules.

Since the beginning of the strike, AMCU members have been picketing outside mine shafts in the Rustenburg mining belt, as producers and the union locked horns over a settlement.