The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (Amcu) commitment to non-violence has come into question, following reports that it has had a hand in a number of murders.
According to an Eyewitness News report, a group of Amcu members are living in fear for their lives, saying that the union’s leadership has failed to protect them.
The miners, from Marikana mine, have reportedly gone into hiding.
Amcu is being accused of corruption and of a bitter behind-the-scenes battle to lead the organisation.
The group told EWN that they had to go into hiding after raising concerns about extra deductions being made from miners’ wages.
They say that Amcu branch leaders at Lonmin are working together with a funeral cover provider to illegally deduct one per cent from miners’ earnings, in addition to the one per cent the union is legally entitled to deduct.
They claim that this query put their lives in danger. They also believe that the spate of violence experienced within the union – several murders in the Marikana area since July – is linked to these concerns as well as the union’s failure to elect new leadership.
The union has denied the allegations. Amcu leader Joseph Mathunjwa in September alleged that the killings were carried out by rival unions and blamed the police for being slow to act.
Amcu has reportedly asked controversial private investigator Paul O’Sullivan to investigate the murders.