Violence spreads to Lonmin’s eastern operations

VIOLENCE has spread to the eastern operations of the world’s third-biggest platinum producer, Lonmin, the company said on Monday, raising concern about deadly unrest flaring again after 44 people were killed this month in labour strife.

“There have been incidents of intimidation towards bus drivers overnight as well as intimidation of Eastern’s workers this morning, preventing them from coming to work,” the company said.

Lonmin, where most operations have been suspended for two weeks due to a wage strike by about 3,000 of its workers, also said only about 13% of its 28,000-strong workforce had shown up on Monday morning. This is far short of the numbers needed to start pulling ore from the earth again.

Police in armoured trucks kept a close watch over the crowd.

Earlier, dozens of other workers reported for duty more than two weeks into a wildcat strike that has claimed a total of 44 lives.

“Preliminary figures are 13% average attendance across all shafts this morning,” Lonmin said in a statement.

Alfonso Mofokeng, a miner from Lesotho, said: “We are aware that some people have gone back to work, we have noted that behaviour, and we need to come up with a plan to deal with them.

“By going to work they are say the murder that happened here was in vain, and they are fine with it,” he said.

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