Sense­less attack con­demned

Man­tashe calls for in­ves­ti­ga­tion into burn­ing of bus car­ry­ing min­ers

African Times - - News - BUKUTA NKUNA

THE hor­ror attack on bus trans­port­ing 50 minework­ers in Burg­ers­fort, Lim­popo, a week ago may have been mo­ti­vated by grow­ing un­em­ploy­ment and greed af­ter the clo­sure of five mines in the area.

Whilst the na­tion re­mained baf­fled by the sense­less attack, Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Gwede Man­tashe hinted that the attack may have been planned by ag­grieved face­less peo­ple. Dur­ing his visit to the fam­i­lies of the six killed and hos­pi­talised work­ers in Polok­wane, Man­tashe called on po­lice to get to the bot­tom of the mat­ter.

“We call on the po­lice to dig deeper in this case. We want to know who the brain be­hind the attack and that per­son must be ar­rested,” he said.

The bus was fer­ry­ing 50 work­ers from the Modikwa Plat­inum Mine. Af­ter stop­ping at Driekop, two men got onto the bus and set it alight us­ing highly flammable fluid. Six peo­ple were burnt be­yond recog­ni­tion and 28 were in­jure – some crit­i­cally.

Five peo­ple have been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the attack. They have since ap­peared in court amidst protests by mem­bers of the community and the Na­tional Union of Minework­ers (NUM).

But NUM re­gional spokesper­son Phillip Mankge said: “We are not aware of the mo­tive be­hind the torch­ing. We went there (to court) as NUM to op­pose the bail ap­pli­ca­tion.”

Mankge said that there was no labour dis­pute prior to the in­ci­dent and that the mo­tive be­hind the attack was much more sin­is­ter. “We sus­pect that th­ese peo­ple were just peo­ple who were look­ing for busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in that par­tic­u­lar mine. Be­cause they are not mine work­ers, in fact I am wor­ried that the very same peo­ple would leak in­for­ma­tion to say that it is il­le­gal min­ers in or­der to start con­flict,”he said.

The South African Cham­ber of Mines has ex­pressed shock fol­low­ing the torch­ing. In a state­ment the Cham­ber said: “The level of bru­tal­ity of this attack is in­con­ceiv­able and the im­pact of this act of vi­o­lence will be felt for many years to come, not only by those who sur­vived the in­ci­dent, but also by those left be­hind.”

Po­lice spokesper­son Bri­gadier Mot­lafela Mo­japelo said that the ac­cused are fac­ing charges of six counts of mur­der, at­tempted mur­der and ma­li­cious dam­age to prop­erty.

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