Gold Mine Massacre

Posted: August 17, 2010 in Uncategorized
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By now, hopefully everyone has heard about the incident that took place last week at Aurora Empowerment System’s Grootvlei mine, where security forces gunned down four unarmed men.

It’s been a week since the incident first took place but concrete details regarding the incident have yet to emerge. In fact, the mysterious nature of the incident has led to some to question just what really happened.

The Times recently published an article that raised concerns about why police left the four bodies of those gunned down underground for three days before removing them.

The shootings at the Grootvlei mine took place last Monday, but the bodies were only removed last Thursday.

Gauteng police spokesman Colonel Noxolo Kweza said police had been unaware of the shooting at that stage [Monday], but added that police had gone to the scene on Tuesday once an incident report had been received. No bodies were found.

Kweza refused to comment on claims by attorney Piet du Plessis, acting on behalf of several security guards and mine captains, that the shooting had been reported to the police on Monday.

According to the Business Report, five security personnel were involved in the shooting in which four illegal miners were killed in West Pit 3, the abandoned open pit mine that belongs to Aurora Empowerment Systems.

One of the survivors, Sam Sithole from Mozambique, said three white men entered the mining area and shouted “voetsek, voetsek” and started shooting. He immediately switched off his torch and pretended to be dead until the area went quiet when he slipped out of the tunnel.

His brothers, Marthinus and Kenny Sithole, died in the shootings.

There has been speculation about whether the men were thieves or unpaid miners (for a bit more background about the unpaid miners, see our post about Did SA Gov See Acid Water Crisis Coming).

Meanwhile, five suspected illegal miners were arrested on Monday, although the charges against them have been dropped pending further investigation.

Thulani Ngubane, a Aurora director, has defended the killing of illegal miners with the following statement: “It is simple… if you go out there and steal gold, should I just go down on my knees and pray? It doesn’t work like that. We have to protect our assets.”

Whoever the men who were gunned down underground were, it’s clear that there is more to the story then meets the eye…Why were they so violently gunned down? What will happen to the security forces involved in the incident? And why did it take police so long to remove the bodies from the mine?

Aurora is owned by relatives of both Jacob Zuma and Nelson Mandela, which leads one to wonder if any political strings were pulled with regards to how this case has been handled.


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