Senseless attack condemned
Mantashe calls for investigation into burning of bus carrying miners
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.