Two dead as South African mine union turf war rages

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Two dead as South African mine union turf war rages

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At least two people have been killed in the latest clash between rival mine workers unions in South Africa.

Up to eight others, including two policemen, are said to have died in fighting near the mine in North West province.

A battle for members is believed to be behind the violence which halted production at the world’s largest platinum mine for six weeks earlier this year.

The mine’s owner, Lonmin, has described the situation as “volatile”. Lonmin’s Vice President Barnard Mokwena said: “We don’t know who these people are, we don’t know their names, they have not presented themselves as representing groups of employees and as such we are so concerned because they seem to emanate from informal settlements.’‘

The latest flare-up began on Friday with an illegal strike by 3,000 rock drill operators at Lonmin’s Western Platinum operations northwest of Johannesburg.

The National Union of Mineworkers has distanced itself from the killings but the newly formed Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union has blamed its rival for the violence.