COSATU deplores Aurora mine shootings

Union federation appalled at reports of killing spree by security guards

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is appalled at a report in the Sowetan, 12 August 2010, that "security guards allegedly went on a killing spree at a mine owned by the nephew of President Jacob Zuma and grandson of Nelson Mandela".

The newspaper alleges that on Monday, 9 August 2010, guards gunned down at least 20 people at the Aurora Mine in Springs, Ekurhuleni, and left the bodies to rot underground. Reporters discovered four bodies with gunshot wounds. A survivor told the Sowetan he lost his two brothers in "the senseless killings".

The National Union of Mineworkers claims that workers appear to have been ‘executed' at the mine. COSATU backs the NUM's call for an urgent and independent investigation into these allegations and into whether or not these were  ‘illegal' miners, and insists that anyone guilty of unprovoked shooting should be charged, tried and punished.

COSATU does not condone illegal mining, but even if the people killed were involved in illegal mining that in no way justifies the brutal response allegedly meted out by the security guards. They have the same constitutional right as every other citizen to a fair trial and appropriate sentence.

Aurora is the same company where for over ten months, workers at have been paid piece-meal by the company led by Khulubuse Zuma and Zondwa Mandela, and left to fend for themselves in filthy hostels with no electricity and water and depended on upstream water contaminated with mine acid.

The federation backs the NUM's demand "for the reluctant state to take drastic measures against the owners of Aurora Empowerment Systems who in spite of their failure to properly manage Aurora are continuing to clinch business deals left, right and centre. Their mines are becoming hazardous day and night whilst they continue to move the goal posts in terms of paying their workforce."

Statement issued by Patrick Craven, COSATU national spokesperson, August 12 2010

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