Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Two die in S Africa strike violence

Striking miners have accepted a pay rise offer near Rustenburg, South Africa (AP)

Two people have died after clashes between police and striking miners in South Africa, including a local councillor who was apparently an innocent bystander.

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 on Wednesday, 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 on Wednesday, 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.

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