JOHANNESBURG: A man died when South African police and security guards fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters near an Anglo American Platinum mine Friday, a police spokesman said.
Officers came under attack when they went to investigate smoke coming from a settlement inhabited by miners in the northern province of Limpopo, according to police spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi.
“So the members did use rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the striking people,” he told AFP. “Unfortunately during the process it was realised one of the protesters was shot and he died on the scene.”
Police opened a murder docket, but it was not immediately clear whether police officers or the mine’s private security firm were responsible, said Mulaudzi.
As many as nine protesters are alleged to have been shot dead by police across the country in the last month.
Friday’s death appears to be the first linked to industrial action in the platinum sector — the others occurred during demonstrations over poor municipal services.
Around 80,000 mineworkers have been striking for higher wages at Implats and two other firms for the past two weeks.
The stoppages have been relatively peaceful in comparison to violent unrest in 2012, which left over 50 dead. Earlier this week, police said they dispersed around 3,000 “violent” striking miners who had been blocking roads and threatening non-strikers.
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