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Marikana Inquiry Witness’s Death Prompts Calls for Peace

May 13 (Bloomberg) -- The death of a South African union official due to testify at the inquiry into the killings last year at Lonmin Plc’s Marikana platinum mine has prompted his organization to appeal for peace while police investigate.

Mawethu Khululekile Stevens, 46, a local organizer for the union, was shot dead May 11 at a tavern near the mine in the North West province’s Rustenburg region, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union said today. He was among three people killed in the Nkaneng informal settlement at the weekend, the South African Press Association reported.

Police shot dead 34 protesters at the mine on Aug. 16 during a strike over wages. President Jacob Zuma appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate events between Aug. 11 and Aug. 16 that left 44 people dead, 70 injured and led to about 250 arrests. AMCU is competing for members with the National Union of Mineworkers, the labor group that is allied to the ruling African National Congress.

“Stevens was meant to appear before the Marikana Inquiry as he was involved in the mining protests that took place ahead of the Marikana tragedy last year,” Jeff Mphahlele, AMCU general secretary, said by phone. “We are still investigating whether the other people killed are members of AMCU.”

The weekend shootings have been reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, SAPA reported.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amogelang Mbatha in Johannesburg at ambatha@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gordon Bell at gbell16@bloomberg.net

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