Police apparently had ample warning of the petrol bomb attack on a bus which led to the death of several mine workers in Limpopo this week, as several trucks have suffered similar attacks in recent months.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) yesterday called for the police to take action against the violent attacks in Burgersfort, Limpopo, which resulted in the death of six mineworkers, who succumbed to the blaze.
The incident took place on Monday evening, when two men jumped on the bus as it stopped at a pickup point for Modikwa Platinum Mine workers, and threw what is suspected to have been a petrol bomb.
“The bus was carrying about 50 mineworkers. Of this number, 28 suffered burn wounds,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo.
“On arrival, the bus had already burned to ashes with six victims inside. Others escaped through windows with burn wounds and were taken to hospital.
“The motive is not known at this stage but investigators are already making some follow-ups to try and crack this case as speedily as possible,” he said.
NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said the incident was shocking and urged the police to intervene.
“Burgersfort is a very dangerous area. We want mineworkers travelling in these buses to be escorted by the police and security guards,” said Mammburu.
Mammburu said multiple trucks, carrying mining equipment, have been set alight recently.
“The police are not arresting these people. Until the police arrest these suspects, this will happen again,” he said.
The bodies of the victims of Monday night’s attack. Photo: Limpopo Police
Mojapelo also said the hospitalised mineworkers have been transferred to Polokwane Medi-clinic for further observation.
“This case is still in its early stages so we haven’t yet identified the deceased mineworkers. Once they are identified, we will be in contact with the families,” he added.
Anglo American and Rainbow Minerals (ARM), who are joint partners in Modikwa Mine, have expressed their condolences to the families and friends of the deceased workers.
“We are deeply saddened by this incident. We are providing the employees and families impacted by this incident with support to get through this difficult time. We wish the injured a full recovery,” said Anglo American and ARM in a statement.
Limpopo provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba has gathered the Provincial Organised Crime Unit, the Hawks, and the Provincial Crime Unit to track down the suspects.
The police are offering a R500 000 reward for anyone with information that will lead to the arrest of the suspects.
“We will not sleep until the people responsible for this gruesome incident are apprehended,” said Ledwaba.