COSATU welcomes the harsh sentences meted out to the criminals responsible for the killing of six Modikwa Platinum Mine employees in Burgersfort in 2018

The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomes the harsh sentences meted out to the criminals responsible for the heinous crime that saw six mineworkers horribly burned to death after their bus was petrol bombed in 2018.

The Modikwa Platinum Mine employees were on their way to work when their bus was attacked and burned outside Burgersfort. About six workers lost their lives and forty-seven survived with injuries.

The three perpetrators were all sentenced to six life sentences each for murder and handed over four hundred years each for attempted murder, and malicious damage to property by the Limpopo Division of the High Court in Polokwane.

The introduction of assassination squads and warlordism in the mining sector has greatly undermined the workers right to the Freedom of Association. Membership of any union or any party should never cost a life.

There is no justifiable reason for the use of unnecessary force in labour disputes. The members of our affiliated union the NUM have been the biggest casualties of these violent attacks in the mining sector.

The violence in the mining sector has left many families without breadwinners and some workers with permanent scars and disabilities. These sentences will send a clear and unambiguous message to all those who have been fomenting and committing violence that there is huge price to be paid for their criminal conduct.

The mining industry continues to be characterised by not only violence but by the ongoing fatalities, rapidly growing occupational diseases, unchecked environmental degradation, and squalid living conditions for many mine workers.

To change the mining industry, we need maximum unity of workers. The divisions amongst workers only serve to weaken their voice and play int the hands of employers. We commit ourselves to continue to work with our unions to encourage workers unity and stop the fragmentation of worker power. We pledge that we will continue to strive to unite all workers in the struggle against poverty and exploitation, and for safe working conditions.

Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Cell: 060 975 6794