JOHANNESBURG ( – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Wednesday reported that two of its members’ houses, in the Sefekile village, next to platinum miner Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats’) Union mine in the North West, were petrol bombed on Tuesday evening by individuals exploiting the platinum-belt strike situation.

The union said it “strongly condemned” the escalation of systematic attacks on its members by “hooligans camouflaged as striking unionists”.

“We are extremely worried because our members are being attacked and their houses petrol bombed. The police are not doing anything to protect our members who are going to work. We do not know whose house will be petrol bombed tonight,” NUM mine branch chairperson Steve Modimokwane commented.

He added that another NUM member had been attacked on Tuesday morning.

The NUM national executive committee (NEC) also, on Wednesday, called on its members to exercise their right to go to work and to defend themselves against any form of violence or intimidation.

“The NEC calls on them to defend their families, their lives and property,” NUM added.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) had started its strike at Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin’s operations for an entry-level basic wage of R12 500 over a four-year period on January 23. The platinum producers’ latest offer would see workers earn a minimum cash remuneration – comprising basic wages and holiday, living-out and other allowances – of R12 500 a month by 2017.

News agency Reuters on Wednesday reported that according to new South African Mining Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi the latest talks, mediated by a Labour Court judge, between platinum mining companies and AMCU had broken down and, therefore, the strike continued.