Lonmin NUM Union Member Killed, Another Wounded in Mine Shooting

A National Union of Mineworkers member was killed and a second wounded in a shooting near Lonmin Plc (LMI)’s Marikana mine in northwestern South Africa.

The shooting took place in an NUM office, Sue Vey, a Lonmin spokeswoman, said in a text message today. Officers are at the scene and no other details are immediately available, Sabata Mokgwabone, a police spokesman, said by phone. Lonmin fell 3.9 percent to 283.5 pence in London trading by 1:22 p.m., on course for its biggest drop in two weeks.

Lonmin’s operations have been a battleground between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and the NUM as the organizations compete for membership. The NUM, an ally of the ruling African National Congress, has been usurped as the majority union at Lonmin by AMCU, which now represents 70 percent of workers in lower-skilled jobs compared with its rival’s 20 percent.

The NUM has until July 16 to regain its majority or lose its office and associated privileges, a Johannesburg labor court has ruled, after Lonmin attempted to expedite the process “in the interests of peace and security on the ground,” the company said on May 29.

“One has been fatally wounded and one has been taken to hospital,” NUM Regional Secretary Sydwell Dokolwana said by mobile phone. “He was shot right inside the office,” he said, referring to one of his union’s members.

Tavern Shooting

The AMCU and Lonmin have failed to agree on how unions will be recognized in formal agreements between the company and labor organizations. South Africa’s Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration has scheduled a hearing on June 26 to rule in the dispute.

AMCU has also had members killed in recent shootings. Mawethu Khululekile Stevens, 46, a local organizer for the union, was shot dead May 11 at a tavern near the Marikana mine, about 70 miles (120 kilometers) from Johannesburg, the union said last month.

Violence at Lonmin’s Marikana mine in August that stemmed from a dispute over pay left at least 44 people dead, including 34 protesters shot by police in a single day.

AMCU treasurer Jimmy Gama said in a phone interview that he wasn’t aware of the shooting at Lonmin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.