Business interests blamed after six miners die in petrol-bomb attack
African Rainbow Minerals and Anglo Platinum bosses held urgent talks with unions and concerned stakeholders on Tuesday in an attempt to establish the motive behind the killing of six Modikwa platinum mine workers in Driekop near Burgersfort, Limpopo.
Business Day understands the meeting, which was chaired by the CEOs of the companies that co-own the mine, also resolved to assist with experts to fast-track the process of identifying two victims who were burnt beyond recognition during the attack that left 44 other mine workers injured.
The bus, which was ferrying workers home, was petrol-bombed on Monday night on the R37 near Ga-Maroga village.
The road links the small mining town of Burgersfort and dozens of mining houses operating from the Tubatse area.
It has been the scene of violent community protests over the years, with trucks and buses set alight regularly. However, until now no lives had been lost.
There are business people using community members to stop the mines from operating and block the road so that they can gain access to contractsPhillip Mankge
National Union of Mineworkers
Community leaders and local business people told Business Day that while the attack was initially thought to have been linked to protests over the non-implementation of social and labour plans by the mine, it was now believed there was a more complex conflict among local business people.
A Mooihoek community leader, Thembisa Mphogo, said while the unrest had laid fertile ground for the attack, the killings were senseless.
"I don’t think it’s about jobs because business people here have several ways they use to get what they want. This is senseless. It was out of the blue and it bothers us," he said.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) local leader, Phillip Mankge, called on the police to investigate the attack. However, he was doubtful the culprits would be caught as similar cases of violent attacks had gone unsolved for years.
"There are business people using community members to stop the mines from operating and block the road so that they can gain access to contracts," Mankge said.
"Those are the suspicions that we are for now linking the killings with."
Businessman Chicco Kgoete urged mining houses to revisit how they "deliberate" with communities and reflect on whether they were empowering communities as they ought to.