Two die in South Africa strike violence
on 20/09/2012 08:30:25
African National Congress councillor Paulina Masuhlo was shopping on Saturday in the Wonderkop shantytown, where many miners live, when police firing from an armoured car hit several women.
Ms Masuhlo was hit in the abdomen and leg and rushed to hospital, where she died yesterday, the Cosatu union said.
Police said they raided the township to disarm striking workers from the Lonmin platinum mine after the government ordered a crackdown.
Also yesterday, police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades to break up a march by thousands of strikers at the Amplats mines near Rustenburg, belonging to Anglo American Platinum, the world's largest platinum producer.
Amplats strike leader Evans Ramokga said a miner was run over by a police armoured car and dragged several yards before it stopped. He said the man died overnight in hospital.
Cosatu has condemned the brutality of police over the violence, which flared up after the August 16 shootings of 112 striking miners that left 34 dead.
The latest deaths, both north west of Johannesburg, bring the death toll to 47.
Lonmin on Tuesday resolved its five-week strike by agreeing to pay raises of up to 22%.
Union leaders said that sets a precedent for other miners to join demands for better wages. The strike has spread to several gold, platinum and chrome mines, damaging investor confidence in the country that produces 75% of world platinum needs, and is the fourth biggest chrome producer and in the top 10 of gold producers.
A police official said he was investigating the report of the councillor's death.
Dennis Adriao said officers had reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate that several people were hit by rubber bullets.
The directorate has already opened 34 murder and 78 attempted murder charges against police over the August 16 shootings, but no action has yet been taken against any of the officers involved.
The government has said it is awaiting the outcome of a judicial commission of inquiry which is supposed to report to the president in January.
Cosatu called for "the immediate identification and suspension of the police officers involved" in Ms Masuhlo's murder.
"We are also extremely unhappy that, to date, none of the police officers involved in the massacre on 16 August 2012 has been identified or suspended - this is totally unacceptable and unlawful," said the unions body, which is part of a governing tripartite alliance with the African National Congress party and the South African Communist Party.